Sei sulla pagina 1di 17
® International B a c c a l a u r e a t e




Extended essay cover

Candidates must complete this page and then give this cover and their final version of
Candidates must complete this page and then give this cover and their final version of the extended essay to their supervisor.
Candidate session number
Candidate name
School number
School name
Examination session (May or November)
ci\JJ- ,1.-l A: ~ ~ ---~~--- -11 1 ···11 -A , , ~ 1 ',-'!J




~ ~ ---~~--- -11

1 ···11 -A , , ~ 1 ',-'!J I J-\ ' 1 ~A<. <.J/1 \""
',-'!J I
J-\ '
1 ~A<.
\"" ~
l ,,
~ o,-:L

Diploma Programme subject in which this extended essay is registered:

(For an extended essay in the area of languages, state the language and whether it is group 1 or group 2.)

Title~~ee~endedessay:~''_•'~~-\- ~~ 4 -~~· -~+) '~-·~~---~-'~~-· -~ -~-~_v_r_~~~·~-~~~- ~-~~ ·-' -'-'-'- '_ 1 _~'-'~-) ~0~,,

-'-'-'- '_ 1 _~'-'~-) ~0~,, Candidate's declaration This declaration must be signed
-'-'-'- '_ 1 _~'-'~-) ~0~,, Candidate's declaration This declaration must be signed

Candidate's declaration

This declaration must be signed by the candidate; otherwise a grade may not be issued.

The extended essay I am submitting is my own work (apart from guidance allowed by the International Baccalaureate).

I have acknowledged each use of the words, graphics or ideas of another person. whether written, oral or visual.

I am aware that the word limit for all extended essays is 4000 words and that examiners are not required to read beyond this limit.

This is the final version of my extended essay.

Candidate's signature:I

~~~- ln teroallona l Ba c calau r eate . P-eterson House.~~~--~---'--~~~----

Supervisor's report and declaration

The supervisor must complete this report, sign the declaration and then give the final version of the extended essay, with this cover attached, to the Diploma Programme coordinator.

Name of supervisor (CAPITAL letters)

Programme coordinator. Name of supervisor (CAPITAL letters) Please comment, as appropriate, on the candidate's

Please comment, as appropriate, on the candidate's performance, the context in which the candidate undertook the research for the extended essay, any difficulties encountered and how these were overcome (see page 13 of the extended essay guide) . The concluding interview (viva voce) may provide useful information. These comments can help the examiner award a level for criterion K (holistic judgment). Do not comment on any adverse personal circumstances that may have affected the candidate. If the amount of time spent with the candidate was zero, you must explain this, in particular how it was then possible to authenticate the essay as the candidate's own work. You may attach an additional sheet if there is insufficient space here.


[!Jt TfA T1 Vt


C HOo~ I NCr TO ({)Mr AR.E

fiA/~ ~Uc 1-t c ~ALLG;UC,W4

A~D ( otJ TR As TINCt VI LTORIA}J lt.JOlJtl_~. H~ vw~ ~TUJ)j(!J 7 f-)£




err fYV ar<1~/11/AL

AND sHA~fL~ FOCUJGJJ {_)IIJt oF (JJBUI(~ wHt04 -Sflt wAJ

ABLE ro t;xfc6ft

ruu~ wJrH


or ;4

w1DE r<_AAJ4r:

0 F

CAR t FULL V - ~ tU f


A !IJ[)

R. tLt f/ AVr

c~ 1 Tt LA L


(_ 0 rJ TtXTU (\ L.

f\{1 Tt f< 1AL-.




5U[Cft0tf) (/IJ f(( 00() LI}JCr

A /-(( ~~(L1




DEf/\OrJJTI\A TtNtr Ctr<tAT

/;1/Sr4!-IT AMJ

0cf TH

0 r U}J {J t f(S TA ftJ{) !JJ4 1

0 f

l)I(TDfrAftl FU.JfO)J

A-s /+- wHOL£.

13 o fr,J

7li est

TW0 NO t1 tU A~O

THt; [Jt.)/f)/0/rTtJ AAJAL~j}J }J JUfJtR6

AIJO RcfLtGT~ f-lcR


ro~ Tlit

SUf3Jc C.T AN~ 1-JtR {;fJOtPEA.!OcAJCt


This declaration must be signed by the supervisor; otherwise a grade may not be issued.

AfPfo/1(Jt ·

I have read the final version of the extended essay that will be submitted to the examiner.

To the best of my knowledge, the extended essay is the authentic work of the candidate

I spent


hours with the candidate discussing the progress of the extended essay.

the candidate discussing the progress of the extended essay. Supervisor's signature: _ D a t e
the candidate discussing the progress of the extended essay. Supervisor's signature: _ D a t e
the candidate discussing the progress of the extended essay. Supervisor's signature: _ D a t e
the candidate discussing the progress of the extended essay. Supervisor's signature: _ D a t e

Supervisor's signature: _

Date: 06/0iv/~0{2

Assessment form {for examiner use only)

Assessment form {for examiner use only) Candidate session number I Criteria A research question B introdu

Candidate session number I


A research question

B introduction

c investigation

D knowledge and understanding

E reasoned argument

F analysis and evaluation

G use of subject language

H conclusion

forma l presentation

J abstract

K holistic judgment

Total out of 36 ~

Examiner 1



[] I









Achievement level













Examiner 2





ITJr- 4


















I \

Exam iner 3












I \ E x a m i n e r 3 D D D D D


of examiner 1: ---:


Exam1ner number:

>ITAL letters)


of examiner 2· >!TAL letters)



Examiner number:



of examiner


Examiner number:

>!TAL letters)

IB Cardiff use only:


IB Cardiff use only:


e of examiner 3: Examiner number: >!TAL letters) IB Cardiff use only: B: IB Cardiff use
e of examiner 3: Examiner number: >!TAL letters) IB Cardiff use only: B: IB Cardiff use

In what ways are the authors successful in challenging Victorian perceptions of women in 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' and 'The Woman in White'?






Th e question I hav e c hosen to in vest igate, ' Tn w hat ways ar e the auth o rs successful in challeng in g

Victorian pe rceptions of wo men

stud y in Wi lkie Collins ' and An n e Bronte's prese ntation of f e males in soc iety. Thoug h neither author

necessa rily inte nded the ir wr iting to be spec ifically feminist , both book s a re rega rded as p io neering - a nd , to a deg ree, pre-emptive - works of Victorian femini st fi ction . 1 co n sulted a number o f seco ndary so urces, in c ludin g a rev iew of The Woman in White wr itten just te n years after it was publi s he d and

direct refe re nces to A nne Bronte ' s

with in the m so le ly to m odern perspectives . Bronte translates her stout moral co nsc ious ness, for part of

th e t ex.'1, into a de fiant ly independ e nt

a nd immovable ideals. Howe ver, the novel 's stumbling stru cture, and th e he roin e ' s return to th e rol e

of a w ife at th e end of th e text destabili ses Bro nte's profo und m essa ge in co ntra st

in 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' and 'The Woma n in White'? ' is a

diary, in order not to limit res ponses to the texts and the

f e mal e nar rator, who ec hoes th e


a uth or's re lig io us consciousness

to Co llin s ', des pite

hi s less eage r attempts to estab lish a fe male as

sy mbo ls of th e hero ine: th e c la ss ic,

fri e ndless and harassed;

masculine. Although he seems not quite w illing to attribute these ti ne qualities to an entirely fem inine

c reature, he is ab le, in the co ntrast of Maria n to hi s ge ntle hero, and by re-definin g th e in re lationships, to c reate an influe ntial text, w itho ut Bronte ' s so met im es opp ress ive ly

a mora l adv isor . In stead , Co llin s prov ides three

modest he iress, na"Jvc and weak; the pitied illeg itim ate da ug hter,

Marian , bold, courageous, intelligent, and - alas- unden iab ly

role of wo me n dida c tic to ne.

and finall y




Word Count: 268



intelligent, and - alas- unden iab ly role of wo me n dida c tic to


T itle Page Abstract Contents Introd uction Narrat ive stru cture Anim al imagery Setting and property Conc lusion Bib li ography

Word co unt: 3998









In what ways m·e the authors successful in challenging Victorian perceptions of women in 'The Tenant of W il dfell Hall' and 'The Woman in White ''!

Wi lki e Co li iDs and Anne Bronte we re both w ri t in g their nove ls iD th e mid - nin e tee nth century , w he n

the ir

co nte mporaries, suc h as Dickens, were c reatin g self-sac rifici n g females like M iss Manette in A



Two C it ies, w ho were fami li ar im ages of female v irtue and th us were wa rml y rece ived by

readers. Thi s was a time when a married woman

ceased to be a person unde r the law of covett ure, w hi c h stated tha t t he w ife's inte rests we re

represented by her husband. 1

Women were rega rd ed

esca pe near imposs ibl e. Pr io r to the 18 57 M atrimonia l Cau ses Ac t, o nl y fo ur wom e n had sec ured a

di vorce from the ir hus ba nds in an Eng Iish co utt, but even after be ing freed

bear th e burde n of social prejudice. A v irtuo us woman was thought pure, o bedient and dutifu l, so a

s pinster was, if not despi sed , t ho ug ht ridi c ul o us. Although fema le authors were present at the tim e,

rarely did they clar e to indul ge in matters of m o ralit y o r c hall eng in g ut~u st soc ial syste m s, th o ugh m e n

we re free ly abl e to do so , again

as little more tha n possess ions o f thei r hu sba nd s, w hic h made the prospect o f

, a woman wo uld ha ve t o

c itin g D ickens w ho o n e n sa tiri ses and s la nd ers soc ial inequa lity of

. \\


lasses in Victorian En g land.


he Bro nte sisters a re regarded

as sy m b o is of fema le success in thi s mi sogyn

ist ic syst em si mpl y

through the ir writing books. For many years their works were published unde r pseudonyms, but

Acto n Be ll 's gender nevetth c less " rou sed the curi osity of a ll and the co nd om nation ofthose w ho judged the subject unfit for a woman" 2 Unde terred , A nne responds stoutly in her Preface to The

T e nan t ofW il dfe ll H a ll ( 1848):

I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author

1 am at a

loss to co nceive

proper and becoming for a man. 3

w hy a woman s ho ul d be ce nsured for w ri t in g anyth in g thal wo ul d be

This ' proper and becoming' topic is that of a young woman, Helen, escaping ber cruel, alcohol ic

hu sba nd w ith h e r son- a n act ion that wou ld not be suppotied by Eng li s h law at t he t im e. It is not

wo m en that mot ivates he r w riting , however, as a sense of respons ib ility to

mu c h the co nstraint of

co nvey human fo lly , w itnessed in the houses w here she was e mpl oyed as governess. S he

neverthe less, we ll aware how ill received it wo uld be from the pen of a wo m an :



1 An ne Humphreys Breaking Ap!!rt: th e Early Vict or ian divorce novel in Victorian Woman Writers and the

Wo m an Questioned. Nicola Diane Thompson

(Cambridg e University Press, 1999) p. 46

of W ild fe ll Hall (Penguin s



Winifred Ger in, ' Introd uct ion' to The Tenant

An ne Bronte, 'Preface to t

Books Ltd ., 1979, re iss ued 1984) p . 7 Hall (Peng ui ns Books Ltd ., 1979,

h e Second Ed it i on' of The Tenant of Wildfe ll

reissued 1984, first published 1848) p.31

wh e n L ree l it my duty to s peak an unpalatabl e truth, w ith the he lp o f Go d , I will s peak it, though it be to the prejudice of my name. 4

By pres umin g th e ri ght to tea c h mo rality to m e n , thro ugh the voice of he r hero ine , Bron te pro motes

fe males from the role of humble service to one of self-righteousness and w isdom .

Co llin s,

lite rature a re n or ma lly accredited to th e 'New W o ma n ' co ncept, w hic h recog nis abl y arose afte r the publi cat ion o f Th e Wom a n in W hite ( 18 59 -18 6 0), aro und th e 18 90 s . Nevetth e less , Do ro thy L. Saye rs,

in her introduc ti o n

nin etee nth -century nove li sts" 5 . U nlike Bronte' s h ero ine, the yo un g wo ma n in this text (La ura ) d ocs

no t sav e herself from a n unf01tun ate marriage t o S i.r Perc ival, bu t is resc ued by he r draw in g mast er,

to T he Moo n stone sta tes that " h e is t he most ge nuin ely femini st

li ke Bro nte , ha d no inte nti on of

be in g a fe mini st w rite r,

ind ee d a ny fe minis t m oveme nts in

of a ll the



a rtri ght, a nd sist e r, Ma ri an, s purre d by the w arnings of Ann e Cath eric k w ho escap es tJ1c p sychiatric


stitu te in w hi c h

s h e had been unjus tly placed by Laura ' s hus band.

The co nt rast of t hese three

hero ines' ro les transfo rmatio n

secu rity by th e industrial revo lutio n in the 18 111 Century, England was on the brink of socia l revoluti on,

w hi c h d e fin es m o d e rn Eng li s h ide a ls of demo c racy a nd e qu a li ty. In Iig ht of thi s , T w i II in ves ti gate t he effect these n ove ls m ay have ha d o n th e ir Vic to ri a n reade rs' pe rce pti o n o r wome n, throu g h th e ir

libe ratio n of the fem a le as a na rrator, the prese ntat ion of gende r roles throu g h a nim a l m otifs, and the way in w hi c h th e settin g is used t o c re ate images of impriso nme nt a nd of asy lum .

w ithin the of wo m e n

plo t a nd t he ir re latio nship w ith mal e c hara c ters hig hlig hts the immin e nt in literature and in soc iety. Havin g bee n la unc h ed towa rds eco no mi c


Bo th nove ls a re wr itte n as a co ll ecti o n or fir s t-pe rso n acco unts , a llow in g bo th ma le

and fe ma le


ha racte rs

t o he lp n a rrate the text. Collins

g rants Marian Halcombe a nd so me othe r

min o r fe male


ha rac te rs a

ro le in na rrating The Wo man

in White, thou gh it can be argue d th at Ma ria n is not e ntire ly


mpowe red by it. While challe ng ing V ic toria n d ecorum by

a vesdro p o n th e men, s he is s tr uc k down w ith a feve r (th e

c limb ing ac ross a roof a t nig ht to


inev itable hindrance to th e ty pi ca l hero in e ,

pa1iic ul ar ly t hose of .Jane Austen a nd Emil y a nd C harlotte Bronte) " that causes her to lose co ntro l

over her text" 6 a nd thus s he " proves a fa

ilure as a wom a n wr ite r" 7 .

Eve n w ith t he hea rt a nd mind o f a


an , her v uln er able fe rn in ine a na to my s uccu mbs

to the weath e r, a nd thu s Co llin s imp Iics th at

eve n


e most stub bo rnly masc ulin e o f fe m a les canno t ove rcom e h e r greatest hind rance: he r sex. In

T he

Tena nt o f W ildfe ll H all, th e ma le as Eli za be th La ng la nd p o ints OLlt,

n arration is

at thi s t im e " wom e n wr iters h ad no t yet c la im e d fo r th e m se lves th e

d iv ided by a la rge ext ract of Hele n ' s jo uma l, a ltho ug h,

~A nne B r o n te, ' Pr e f a ce to t

h e Seco nd Editi o n ' of Th e


Doro thy L.

Saye r s ' In t r o du ct i o n ' to M oo n sto n e p . vi i

T e n a n t o f W ild fe ll H a ll (J . M . De n t, 1947)

op. c i t. p. 30


Tama r Hell er De ad Sec r ets: W ilki e Co llin s an d th e f ema l e got h ic (Ya l e Uni vers it y Pr ess, 1992) p . 135

7 ibid. p. 135


\) \ aut ho ri ty of s pe aking third pe rson from the



\) \ aut ho ri ty of s pe aking third pe rson from the p

aut ho ri ty of s pe aking

third pe rson from the p er spective of a woma n, avoiding first- band accou nts. In contrast to Co llins '

nove l, it is the m a n in T he Te n a nt ofW ildfell Hall who is stru ck down , s pec ifi cally, by

hea lth and salvation.

to the w him s o f ot her he roin es of t he pe ri od , but rath e r attributed solely to male protagonists.

and the wo man who fights for hi s

directl y through a wo man a s narrator" 8 , th at

is , th a t a uth o rs us uall y wrote in th e

hi s own vices,

A nne Bronte w ill not a llow He len to succumb makes her maintain th e rationality a ll too often


lth o u g h

A:n11e C ath e r ick is not provid e d w ith he r own narrati ve, her vo ice pl ays a n important ro le as


proph eti c sy mbol in T he Woman in W hite. Her powe r is der ived from


ssenting C hristianity w hic h

was popular in the nineteen th-century

he r " voice of the rh et oric of fe minist movemen ts" 9 . Her


li g io us refe rences us ua lly

ha ve connotations to th e co ntrast of good a nd ev iI; of a f e male 's puri ty to


man 's selfi shness, for e x a mpl e

in he r lette r to La ura regard ing he r en gag eme nt to

Si r Pe rciva l,

describing how in her dream "t here, behind him , stood a !le nd la ug hin g

stood an a nge l weep ing. " 10 She a lso u ses s pec ifi c Bib lica l refe re nces to va li date he r a nx ieti es, c itin g " (Ge nes is x l. 8. x li . 25; Daniel iv . 18-25)" 11 -sce nes of dream interpretation, suc h as Jose ph and the Pharao h - in an atte m pt to prove that her d reams have prop hetic re leva nce a nd a re n ot m e re ly fant asy.

A lth o ug h Co ll in s later revea ls that An ne 's

tha n for es ig ht, he r

the most vu lnera bl e o f fe males.

and t he re, be hind [Laura],

avers io ns are born of pr io r expe ri e nce of S ir v ita l to hi s eve ntua l dow nfa ll , thus ascr ibing

Pe rcival rath er power even to

e ni g mati c wa rnin gs are

Bronte g ives He le n a did actic voice,

w ith a re iig io us tone s imil ar to Anne Cath e rick , th e corruptibi lity of ma nkind , re n ected in th e

pres um

ing a m oral s uperi ority despite her gend e r . S he preac hes,


meta phor of

th e path

one tak es throu g h life. So

vi tal

is it

to t h e t ex t , it

is inc lud e d both in d1e Preface :

Is it

better to

re vea l th e s nares

t o t he yo un g

and t ho u g htless trave ller, or to

cover them with branches and

and pitfa lls of life flowers? 12


And a lso later in the text , stated by He len :

I see th e w hole race of mankind (w ith a few rare except io ns) stum b lin g a nd blund e ring a lo ng t he path of life. 13

Bronte, embittered by " unpleasant and undreamt gove rness at Tho rp G ree n Ha ll , uses Hel e n as a n

of experiences of human nature" 1 ' 1 in he r post as

o utl et for he r own disg ust at t he

fi· ivo lous be havio ur

8 El i zabeth Lang l and Ann e Bronte : t h e ot h er one (B arn es and N obl e books, 1989) 9 Ta m ar Hell er op . cit . p . 124

10 Wi lkie Co llin s Th e Woma n in Whi t e (Pengu i n Books

Jl ibid. p. 65 1 z Anne Br onte 'Preface to the Second ed ition' ofThe Tenant of Wi ldfell Hall op . cit . p. 30 13 An ne Bronte Th eTena nt of W ildfell Hall (Penguin Books Ltd . 1979, reissued 1984, fi r st publis hed 1848) p. 54 ,


Ltd ., 1994, first pub l ished 1868 ) p.



Books Ltd . 1979, reissued 1984, fi r st publis hed 1848) p. 54 , 55

of gentry, adopting- through the authoritative stance of a mothe r rai sin g a c hild - a so mbre to ne of jud geme nt on m e n. Moreover , Bronte us es thi s ~ ne to express what s he p erceives as th e un necessary distinctions between the treatment of sexes:

.to teach her how to sin is at once to make her a sinner, and the greater her knowledge, the

w ider he r libe tty, th e dee pe r w ill be her depravity,- whereas, in the nob le r sex, there

is a


tendency to goodn ess

which, the more it is exercised by trial s and dan ge rs,


onl y


deve loped. 15

Her first-person narration a llows he r,

thi s case, that wh ile sin mak es man v irtuous, it makes woman a s inner, ironicall y ca lling men the

' nobler sex' to emphasise her cyni cism .

co ntrovers iall y, t o c ritici se hy pocritica l beliefs of th e tim e, in


In The Woman in Wh ite, howeve r, M a rian, w hose vety nature c hallenges pe rce pti o ns of

wo me n at the

time, co ntradicts he rse lf by co ndemnin g the gender to w hi c h sh e

doe s s uc h ju s ti ce

in her abi lity to

narrate. She upholds and openly expresses the belief that women

are ''foo ls" 11 ' and

yet she procures

the most res pect from c harac te rs and readers a l ike, co mpared to Laura. Altho ug h she is better lo ve d by th e hero, Collins does not a ll ow Laura to contribute narration, makin g he r th e di stant s ubj ect of

pi ty rather than e mpathy . This resembles man both phys ically

o f he r nature. Marian is " th e newe r kind of heroin e

th e Victorian reade rs

suggests the on ly wo man w ho deserves o ur respect is one who in her " swruthy" 17 features , and also in th e stubborn, fearles s clements

o pe nl y intelligent and unafra id " 18 , but even so,

be li eve

suc h wom e n as s he are able sta nd a lone in thi s world, and a m e rc iful Provid e nce provi des that me n should fa ll in lo ve c hie fly with th e less g ifted and se lf-re li anl. 19

Th at is, that Lau ra, being weak a nd de pe nde nt, a ppea ls more to the Victorian se ns ibiliti es of Hattrig ht ,

w ho d oes not de s ir e an e qual as a wife but so m eo n e w ho ca n re l y on him a nd be a dotin g, s u bordinate

Maria n is

perhaps the ir inability to pet and pity Marian that re leases her from th e ro le of a w ife: Co llins libe rates

Marian witb a pen (which can be perceived me ta ph o ri cal pat riarc hy ove r the text in he r

essential irony of Marian's role- a parad igm of a powerful fem ale, who ridicu les her sex and


unlovable, yet cons idered " infinite ly more adm irab le'.2o even by Victor ian c riti cs , a nd it is

as a " metaphorical penis" 21 , the reby prov iding her with a secti o ns), rat her th a n su bdue her w ith a hus ba nd . Th e






Anne Bronte Diary paper, 30 July 1841

Ann e

Wi lkie Collins op. cit. p.26

Bronte The Tenant of Wil dfell Hall op. cit. p. 57

ibid. p. 24


18 Sue Lon off Wilkie Co llin s and hi s Victorian readers: a st ud y in th e rhetoric of authors hip (AMS Press, I nc. 1982)p . 138




J L Stewar t Ro se- Belford's Ca n ad i an Monthly and

National Review

(No v 1878 ) p. 587

Tamar Hell er op. cit. p . 135

Sandra Gil bert and Susa n Gulbar

The Madwoman

in the Attic: The

Woman Writ er and the 19th Century

Literary imagination (N ew Haven Press, Yale University Press, 1979)

intimidates m en- hi g hli g hts the injust ice by making it a lm ost comedic. Collins mocks me n fo r being

h orr ifi e d by the ir eq ua ls, a nd perpetu atin g pathetic w ives in order to fee l s u perior.





w ives in order to fee l s u perior. (' '- L t.l.: h J





k ·,


T his weak n ess in male

characters is

revea led at th e

conc lus ion of t he novel.

U ntil this

point, Hattright

overs hadows Marian's

role throu gh

hi s attempts to

person a lly drive th e investigation,

in orde r


assett hi s masc ulinity t lu·o ug h redeem in g La ura 's v irtu e and atta inin g her love. T hi s ac hi eved,


su bmits, admitting " The pen fa lters

stoty" 23 , si gnifYing that a wo man is capable of fulfilling hi s ro le. Conversely , thi s is w he re Bronte ' s heroin e falters, in allowing the narrative to be recaptured a nd co nc luded by Gi lbert, w ho e nds on a bathetic note: s ig ni ng off a letter to a friend , thereby making He len 's na rrative input a mere detai l of

h is mat rim o n ia l conqu est. Anne Humph reys,

atte mp t to address the in eq u a lity of marriage in a novel

in [hi s] hand" 22 , and requestin g that Marian wou ld " e nd o ur

citing T he Tenant ofWi ldfc lll-lall, a rgu es that the

can destabi lize the narrative and open fissu res through wh ich new types of narrative structures


closures are tried, not a lways successfully. 24

She refers specifically lo Helen's " long and repetitive" 25 contributi o n to the narrative, w hic h she

c laim s hinders t he c lim ax of the novel. By indulgin g the female to reco un t he r suffe ring so intim a tely through a diary entry, the a uth o r has lost the objectivity to express herse lf coherentl y; it can be

pe rce ived


Consequently, altho ug h Bronte 's hero in e may appear a sober m o ra list whe n described from Lhe

male narrator's perspective, when g iven the narration herself she merely encumbers the story, presenting wome n to be as temperamental as a V ictorian reader may expect.

as the fick leness of wo m e n, in a society that regarded loya lty to be the g reatest vittue of a




T he autho rs use an imal imagery to denote the prescribed gender ro les in soc iety. Dogs are a rec urre nt im age used in The Woman in W hite, for examp le Ma1:ian ' s desc r ipt io n of the s hot spa nie l, in w hi c h

Co ll in s makes use of th e symbo li sm " the poo r

of blood on the g lossy while s ide" 26 to give an a llegor ica l m eaning. White is associated throug hout t he

nove l w ith

ma n: of

La ura Fairlie, and so w he n stained w ith b lood, pottrays the s uffer ing of these two characters. Furthermore, it is a fam ilia r metaphor of a v irgi na l bride ' s irreversibly lost ch astity . Maria n' s contemp lative comment " the misery of a weak, helpless, dumb c reature is sure ly one of the saddest o f

(hence the title, 'The Woma n in W hite ' ), a nd also as an im age of t he

littl e dog ' s

eyes we re g laz in g fast, and there we re spots

An ne Cathe rick, as she

refu ses to wear anyt hing but w hite upon he r g uard ia n's req uest

pure, v irg inal v ic tims of

22 Wil kie Col lins op. cit. p. 569




ibid. p. 569

Anne Humphreys op. cit. p . 46

i bid. p. 46

' 6 Wilkie Col lins op. cit. p. 18 2


a ll the mo urnful s ig hts th e simply mo urn the spanie l,

Although Collins presents these two women as lowly subjects of pity, he continues to empower Maria n , illustrating a pro gress io n in the ideal of a he roin e: s he co nte mplates th e v ict im , rather th a n becoming the victim.

wo rld ca n s how" 27 clarifies the breadth of the image; Marian doesn't she mourns a ny c reature that cannot d e fe nd itse lf - she mourns for wo me n.




Bro nte, too, uses dogs as a symbol of female status . She illustrates Helen 's re lations hip w ith Mr.

I lun tin gto n thro ugh a short interaction w ith his pet:

" hi s favourite c

He stru ck it off with a sma1t blow; the poo r dog sq ueaked , a nd ran cowe rin g back to me

ca ll e d again , mo re s harply , bu t Dash onl y c lun g c loser to m e snatc he d up a heavy book and burled it at hi s h ead. " 28

too k t he lib e rty of jumping upon him a nd beginning t o lick hi s fa ce.

I le

E nra ged at this, his mas te r

Bronte does not use such profound symbolism as Co llins, as she si mply utilises the dog as a metaph or

f or w ives b e in g a possess io n o f their hu s band s. However , s h e a l so portra ys th e o th e r s id e o f Lh is companionship: the dependence the m an has upon the animal, and his j ea lous need to be loved, thoug h he cannot o ffer mutual affection. Througho ut the text, Bronte makes seve ral references to Shakes peare, w hi c h s ugges ts th e meta ph or of the dog may too be a reference to a sce ne in A

M ids umm er N ight 's D ream , in w hic h

ll e le na,

des perate for Dem e trius's love, cr ies out:

" I am yo ur spanie l; a nd , Dem etr ius,

The more you beat me, I w ill fawn on yo u.

Use me but as you spaniel, spurn me, strike me,

Neglect me, lose me



The clog is not just a playthin g for man, but th e dotin g v ic tim of its owner's v io le nce, beggi ng to be

inj ured for th e sake of its m aster 's j oy; a n image made more a ppa rent w he n th e narrator is th e s u bject


ex per ie nce it, as s he progresses from a c lassic hero ine t o a mo re indepe nde nt woman.

the metaphor. Bronte, li ke Co llins, a llows He le n t o

cont e mpl ate t his relationship rat he r than s im p ly



Bronte hi g hli g hts H un t ingdon ' s vicio us na ture through re peated refe re nce to him as a hunter,


t hough th is image is essenti a lly one of barbaris m, Hel en, v ictim to her own n aivety , is

Th e im ages o f s lau ghte r e mp athise with Hele n ' s pride, whic h has been brui sed to the a museme nt o r

rticu larly w hile co urting Helen. W h en he approach es her ''stain ed w ith the bl ood of his prey" 30 ,

not repu lsed .

27 Wilkie Co llin s op . ci t . p. 182

28 Anne Bront e The Ten an t of W il dfell Hall op . cit. p. 225

29 Wi lli am Shakespeare, A Midsummer

reprinte d Thomas Learning, 2000, fi rst publi shed 1600) Act II, Sc. I, lin es 203-206, p.40. 30 Anne Br onte The Tenan t of W ildfe ll Hall op. cit. p. 177

Night's Dreamed . Haro ld F.

Brook s (Methuen & Co. Ltd ., 1979,



Hun t ing don ; t h ese blood ego. it is, neve1t he less, a

preyed upon by more experienced gentlemen. T hough th ese ro les may not have been particularly

co ntrovers ia l at the time, Bro nte' s re lationships.

stai n s are n ot a p ote nt image of tattered v i1tue , but o f a pro u d g irl 's tattered

provoking m essage of

the bruta lity of courtship, w hen

ignoran t g irl s are

empathy with the vict im hi ghli g hts t he potent ia l c ru e lty of

Co llins, on to a nimals.

compl ex cha racte r than the gene ric V ictorian hu sband. T he Count's ab ility to command an ima ls

thro ug h affec tio n, s uc h as his ca naries - " pretty little

fea rl essly o n hi s hand " 31 -

wife has been endem·ed into s ubm iss ion,

the othe r ha nd , assoc iates o ne

of his more deviou s c haracte rs w ith an a dorin g re la ti o ns hip

T he mt of this is not purely in th e co nt rast, but in revea ling Fosco's c ha racter as a more

c leve rl y train ed c reatures [which] perch w ith women. Particularly, his " o nce wayward" 32

illustrates hi s relatio nship

as Mari an acknowledges :

he r co ld b lue eyes

inquiry w hic h we are all familiar w ith in the eyes of a fa ithful dog. 33

are gene ra lly tum e d on he r hus band , with the look of mute submiss ive

H.e r e, Co lliJlS hi g hli g hts t he co mmon c h a ra cte ri st ic in Fo sco more of a compani on to him than a dog.

with th e rest o

f h is ge nd e r ; hi s w ife is n o


Even Marian, the m ost empowering symbol of her sex, is not im mu ne to him . She admits

lf he had m a rri ed a ti g ress, instead of a woma n, he wo ul d have tam ed the ti g ress. Ir he had

marr ied me

l s ho uld ha ve he ld m y tongue w he n he loo ke d a t m e , as [ hi s w ife] ho lds hers 3 4

Co llin s has indul ged a femal e c haracter to co mpare herse lf to a tig ress, a nd rise above the metaphor of th e pet dog, ye t even in thi s e leva ted slate, man rules over her. T he a uthor ft uther co nfou nds the .,_/ metaphor when Fosco takes up Marian ' s diary and effe minately exp resses an attachment lo her, c lai ming " U nder ha ppier c irc umstan ces how worthy l s ho ul d have bee n o f M iss Ha lco mbe" 35 . It

appears afte r all

foreigner, is not as conservative as the EngIish gentlemen, and contrasts their predatory behaviour - as Ma rian exp resses it:

that Marian can be loved, th o ug h not by a ny ordinary ge ntle m a n. Fosco, a fr ivo lo us

He wo uld bla nd ly k iss his white mi ce and twitter to his cana1y- birds a mi d a n assemb ly of Eng lish fox-hunte rs, a nd would o nl y pity t he m as barbarians. 36

31 W ilkie Collin s op . cit. p. 195

32 ibid. p.192


ibid . p. 191

34 ibid. p. 192

35 ibid. p. 303

36 ibid. p. 195


This image summarises the re ason he can adore Marian, beca use he is not oft he En g li s h Victorian

society; he, like Mar ian , is a liv ing sy mbo l of libe ra lity and revo lution , and is s upe ri or e no ug h eyes to pity the traditionalists.

in her

T he setting, often claustrop hob ic, plays a v ital role i11 both tex ts. It acts

women' s state of mind and being, and more lite rall y , in Th e Wo m a n in

Catherick' s incarceration and Laura's entrapment in marriage.

to be " s ituated on a dead fl at, a nd seems to be shut i11 - a lmost suffocate d

both as a m ethod of keeping Laura in and the Cathericks out- a symbol of the boundaries constructed

both as a m e taphor for


W hite , to rep rese nt Anne

Blackwater, for example, is desc ribed

by h·ees" 37 , w hic h act


nd co ntrolled by patriarchs, whic h non et he less

are broken

t hrough by Anne , li ke t he wa lls of her

asy lu m ( perhaps more accurate ly d escribed as a

prison). In

ways, she is a mo re potent sy mbo l o f

fe m a le revo luti on than Ma rian - Sir Percival is more afraid of Am1e, believ ing her to know his secret. Co llins later reveals that, great symbol as she may be, s he " real ly did not know" 38 the secret she

s pe nd s so long attempting to co nvey ; s he is s il enced. S ile nce in itse lf pla ys a central ro le in c reat in g a 11 .r ~ se nse of c laustrophobia and he lpl essness: in the tex t both Marian- by her illness, a nd Laura- by he r

1 ignorance, are condemned to be use less

at fightin g their part against S ir Percival' s ma le domi ni on.

Bronte uses Gilbert's description of the garden to introduce Helen's wasted yo uth and degradation

even be fore the characteri



a ga rden - o nce, stoc ke d with s uc h ha rd y plants a nd now e rs as co uld be s t brook the so il a nd

c limate, a nd

su c h t rees and s hrubs as co uld best e ndure the ga rde n er ' s torturing shears, and

most readily

ass ume the s hapes he c hose to give them ,- now hav ing

been left so many years,

untilled a nd

untrimmed , a bandoned to the weeds and the grass, to the frost and the w ind , the


in a nd the

drou g hr 9

This is an unmi s takeabl e im age of Hele n 's once strong c haract e r, res ilient to agony , a p li ab le vict im

to v iole nce, eve ntually left so litary and vulnerable - unm

introdu ction o nl y hints at her expe ri ences. For fear of her nam e "s preadin g

someone who w ill carry it

till it reac h th e e ars of

ista keable, that is, in

retros pec t, but as a n

to [h er hu sband] " 40 , Hele n must seclude h e rse lt: a nd m o reover, is fo rced to

be inde bted to her brother in order to escape. T he constraints of de bt and sec lusion, h owever, arc

large ly se lf- im posed by pride, not from be ing p ossessed by

not harbour any shame in leav ing behind a life of wealth to become self-sufficient and repay her

another, like Co llins ;,female s. S he does

37 W ilki e Collin s op . cit. p . 174

38 ibid . p. 487


Anne Bronte The Ten an t of Wi ldfell Hall op. cit. p. 46


ibid . p. 400

debts, but rather is proud of " my labour, my earnings, my frugal fare" 41 . The repetitions of the

possessive ' my' emphasises


consciousness of her sole ownership and he r independe nce. Through

thi s, the auth or d eco nstructs


Victorian gender ro le of women , s howing them to be ca pa bl e of being

an individual parent and provider, and not s imply an obedient accessory to her husband.

v /

Even c laustrophobi c images of being surrounded by darkness, such as her " plain black silk dress" 42

and " black ve il" 43 , both c on s ti tuent to h er dis g ui se a s a widow,

status, and a lso the " bleak and barren fi e lds" 44 surrounding her house, do not succeed in imprisoning her, but " ec ho back [her] own sense of hope and freedom" 45 . She is not wa ll ed in by t hese d efenc es,

but rathe r Hun t in gdon -a sy mbol of male de sc ribes how s he " mu s t sp arkle in cost ly

us ing a modal ve rb to co nvey it as an act o r obed ience, to w hi c h Helen wi llin g ly co mplies to

he r husba nd , a nd whic h, Bronte m a kes c lea r, s he is pl eased no longe r to oblige when an ind e pend e nt wo man . Marian , in T he Woman in W hite, expresses a s imilar distaste, stating in a bitter tone, d enoted by a t rico lo n of plos ives, that s he is " condemned to patie nce, propriety, and petticoat s fo r life"' 17 , using

c o nstrictive a nd s up e rflu ous fema le dress of the era to sy mb o li se s imilarly

but a lso symbo li c of he r humbl ed

opp ressio n -

is wa ll ed out. E arlier in Helen 's diary , s he

jew e ls and d ec k [her] se l f o ut I ike a pa int ed buller fl y' "' 6 ,


red un dant id eals of being

femal e

in Victorian Eng land.

Unlik e

Bronte's h e r o ine , Hmtri~ht , Laura , and Ma ri an p e r ce i ve th~r l owe r e d s taht s as a s ham ef ul

hinde rance to Laura's happiness. Furthe rmore, Laura, ca nnot co ntribute to her own salvation as He len does,

stereoty pica l heroine. She is, rather, humoured by her carers, and led to believe that her paintings are so ld to make co ntribution to costs , w hereas they are kept by Hattri g ht, iro ni ca ll y as " tTe a s ures beyo nd price''' 1 g . This is the s ummit ofHattrig ht' s success as the mal e; his wealthy he iress now poor and

dependent. Inn ocently mimi ck ing S ir

stir outs ide the door" 49 , en fo rc ing the supposed frag iIity of women, and the necessity of man to act as protector, pro vider, a nd - impo rtantl y - po ssessor, and ye t, it is all done out of Ha 1tright' s ad mira bly

whose nerves have been damaged by marriage, and so Co llins revea ls t he weakness of the


Perc ival , he con c ludes tha t " ne ithe r Marian nor Laura sho uld

reminine love and respect for these women .



4 7.




Anne Bronte The Tenant of Wild fell Hall op. cit. p. 398 ibid. p. 395


ibid. p. 397


ibid . p.

ibid . p.

46 ibid. p. 230

47 Wi lkie Collin s op . cit. p. 174

48 ibid . p. 433

49 ibid . p. 389


Co ll in s' introductory statement hardl y encourages th e reader to expect a ta le of fem a le empowerment, ca lling itse lf " the story of what a woma n' s pati e nce can endure, and w hat a Man' s reso lution can

achieve" 50 , and yet The Woman in Whit e is de sc ribed as be ing " extraordinaril y femi ni st" 51 Hartright

co nforms

appreciat ion of female c haracters,

hu sba nds . Bronte provides for the

than Co llins ' di s tant female victims, yet it is thi s

co nc lus ion , when s he is wo n back into marria ge.

Victorian expectations by a ll owing her heroi ne to many below her socia l s tatu s, and for love, like

Co lli ns' La ura , but Co llins is also ab le to maintain Marian as

This could be attrib uted to Co llins having greater confidence in addressing t he topic, as it was co ns id ered mo re appropr iate for a man to do so t han it was a woman. Consequently, thou g h both succeed in address in g ge nd er inequali ty, the ma le author, ironica lly, provides a mo re pote nt challenge to V ictorian perceptions of women than the femal e.

to the creations of the author ' s co ntemp ora ries, yet

not merely by cha llengi ng reader a more

provides a s ubtle but pro found perception s of wom en, but a lso th ei r

felt more direct ly

powerful heroin e, whose pain is

potency that emphas ises the bathos of the S he do es, nonetheless, co ntinu e to c ha llenge

a sy mbol of ind e pe nd e nce

a nd equa li ty.

c ha llenge a sy mbol of ind e pe nd e nce a nd equa






~\-, "'\""





\\ ~ L' . \ ~\-, "'\"" h I L \ ' )~ Itt' J L


~ L' . \ ~\-, "'\"" h I L \ ' )~ Itt' J L {,\.

Itt' J















50 Wilkie Collin s op. cit . p.l 5 1 Tamar Heller op. cit. p. 111





L- tv I r'





l "''


II ~
















(', I1





Bro nte , Anne, ' Preface to 1979, re iss ued 1984, first

the Second Edition ' of The Tenant o fWildfell Ha ll (Pengu ins Books Ltd. , pub lished 1848)

Bronte, An ne, The Tenant of Wildfe ll Ha ll (Penguin Books Ltd . 1979, reissued 1984 , first pub Iis hcd


Bronte, Anne,

Diary paper, 3 0 J uly 1841

Coll ins, Wilkie, T he Woman in W hi te (Pengu in Books Ltd., 1994, fu·st published 1868) p.l.

Gerin, Winifred, ' Introduction ' to The


Tenant ofW ildfel l Ha ll (Peng u ins Books Ltd. , 19 79 , re iss ued

G ilbert, Sa ndra and Gulbar, Susan, The Madwoman in Cen tury Literary imag ination (New Haven Press, Yale

the Attic: T he Woman Writer a nd the 19 111 University Press , 1979)

He ll er, Tamar, Dead Secrets: Wilkie Co ll ins and th e female got hic (Ya le Un iv e rs icy Press, 1992)

Humphreys, Anne, Breaking Apart: the Early Victorian d ivo rce no ve l in Victorian Woman Writers and the Woman Questioned. Nicola D iane T hompson (Cambridge Un iversity Press, 1999)

Lang la nd, Eli za beth, A nne Bronte: the other on e (Barnes and Nob le books, 1989)

Lonoff, Sue, Wilkie Co ll ins and h is Victorian read ers: a stud y in the rhetoric of a uthorsh ip (AMS Press, Inc. 1982)

Sayers, Dorothy L. , 'I ntroductio n ' to The Moonstone p.vii (J . M. Dent, I 947 )

S hake s peare, Wil li a m, A Midsummer Night ' s Dreamed. Ilarold F. Brooks (Methuen & Co. Ltd .,

19 79, re printed T ho mas Learn ing, 2000, first pub li s hed 1600)

Stewart, J . L. , Ros e-Belford ' s Canad ian Monthl y and Natio nal Revi e w (Nov 18 78)

pub li s hed 1600) Stewart, J . L. , Ros e-Belford ' s Canad ian