A Critical Analysis to the Place of Female Characters in Persuasion 论《劝导》中女性角色的地位文献综述
Described as ”literary giant sitting as equals at the same table of Shakespeare” and ”the most perfect artist among females” (Nicholas, 1988), Jane Austen stands in the literary arena as an unyielding pine and wins the appreciation both at home and abroad. However, this dazzling honor lies in the publication of Persuasion to a great extent, which has been interpreted by critics from different angles since its publication.
Among all these articles, quite a few scholars show great interest in the marriage attitude. For example, Wang Bo (2008) made contrast analyses from this point according to the time order. At first, he observed the transition of Austen#8217;s attitude to marriage: she stressed that sensibility must surmount sense, while romance will triumph over reality. There are two relating factors to support her view. On the one hand, the experience of her individual life is responsibility for it. The condition of the family declined which originally enjoyed pronouncedly cultural atmosphere and relatively economic property. On the other hand, the overall evolution of the society also gives impetus to her change, which evolved from rationalism to romanticism. He chose three novels to demonstrate the transition in marriage attitude: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion. In Sense and Sensibility, Austen focused her writing on the love experience of two sisters: Elinor and Edward Ferrars; Mary and Willoughby. The former is dominated by sense, while the latter sensibility. Although they both suffer the torture of separate at the beginning, Elinor finally harvested re-union with Edward, while Mary realized the importance and necessity of sense and chose to marry a lieutenant with abundant economic income who loved her sincerely and tolerated her every shortcomings. From the ending, they get the natural conclusion that on the matter of love and marriage, people should be timid and overcautious instead of giving oneself over to blind emotion. Only in this way can they acquire a piece of happy marriage at least successful. Otherwise, they are bound to suffer endless pain and regret. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth is the character which Austen devoted much attention to, who also behave rationally in choosing her mate and observing daily matters. Eventually, the prejudice between her and Darcy melted and both of them expressed their strong passionate for each other. When it comes to Persuasion, Austen suddenly changed her attitude. She pointed out that ration and caution will distort human nature, while the pure and passionate love can bring genuine happiness to people. Annie#8217;s transition is the best demonstration. When she met Wentworth again, she no longer concealed her feeling and their reconciled as ever.
Some scholars center on the women acting as supporting roles in Austen#8217;s novels. The definition of their role is called action element, which promoted the development of the plots. Their roles can be divided into three kinds: ignorant and shallow sisters; less charming, relatively poor family financial situation, simple-minded friends; arrogant, domineering and uncultured ladies. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane, the eldest girl in the family, is kind-hearted but coward, who only waits for love without any action. Mary, lacking pleasant appearance, has devoted herself to studying. As a result, she is always showing off her literary talents and self-important sentiments are filled in her daily behavior. The little sister, Lydia, is totally spoiled by her mother and even runs away with the officer, Willom. It is the comparison of these characters that makes Elizabeth#8217;s ration and wisdom more distinguished. In Persuasion, Mrs. Smith is the bosom friend of Annie, the heroine. She always gives support to Annie even after the decline of her own family. Owing to the candid suggestion of her, Annie succeeded in making choice and determining her love for Wentworth. In Sense and Sensibility, Hill La S is the mother of Edward, who deprived the right of heredity of him when he was engaged in Lucy. However, the decision drove Lucy to leave Edward and marry his brother. Then Elinor and Edward were able to get reunion after an enforced separation and rupture.
When it comes to feminism, Miss Yao Lihua (2004) expressed her view in her essay. Taking a panoramic review of Austen#8217;s six novels, it is easy to find that she creates no heroes but heroines, such as Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, Elinor in Sense and Sensibility, and Annie in Persuasion. They are all the combination of charming appearance, good-cultivation and courage in choosing their mate instead of following parents#8217; arrangements. In particular, she gives importance to the portrait of Annie, who is equipped with a warm-heart, accurate judgment and outstanding ability of meeting the danger calmly. She is brave to break up her father#8217;s authority and consist on her decision, which is an astonishing circumstance in the society worshiping patriarchy. Although the focus of this paper is the place of female characters, the writer will pour into the current streams, to inquire into its function and combine it to discuss the contemporary matters such as the contradictions of family. The settlement of these contradictions is expected and worthy of attention.A great many scholars have investigated the feminism traits of Annie, yet few of them explore the practical value of it. Even some have mentioned it in real life, but they fail to touch the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.