George Eliot's Novels and Feminism Term Paper

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George Eliot and Feminism

Given, a man with moderate intellect, a moral standard not higher than the average, some rhetorical affluence and a great glibness of speech, what is the career in which, without the aid of birth or money, he may most easily attain power and reputation in English society? Where is that Goshen of mediocrity in which a smattering of science and learning will pass for profound instruction, where platitudes will be accepted as wisdom, bigoted narrowness as holy zeal, unctuous egoism as God-given piety?"

George Eliot, "Evangelical Teaching: Dr. Cumming," an essay ridiculing the career of evangelism, printed in "Westminster Review," 1850s

In this day and age, books are being written with a motive to inculcate motives, teaching the readers a lesson every time they open the book.

Good books always serve as a constructive way to provoke idle thoughts. Women started writing as a profession back in the early 1800's. They started off writing articles for magazines, containing information on fashion, science, household tips, and covering other domestic issues. These magazines fostered every women with the proper code of etiquette, style and manner of dressing nicely even motivated women from the lower-class to take up writing as a paid profession. Since periodicals require many writers, it was very natural for women to be hired by these magazines because it was only they who could add that touch of class and approach. So it was the advent of magazines that made writing a profession to many women.

Women who took up writing as a profession had talent, drive, and the economic need just like men did. Most of these women came from families who provided them with good schooling. Some of them worked as writers because they were either widows or were the sole supporters of their families. Back then the range of careers for women were very limited, so besides teaching the only other option was writing. However, they were looked down upon for choosing a career in writing, this was openly accepted as a male-oriented career line.

In the earlier years of the twentieth century, women played a crucial role in reforming the society that was torn by two world wars and a sagging economy. This was the time where women began writing on subjects that were very close to reality. Many slaves who managed to emancipate wrote on their experiences, while other contemporary authors wrote on subjects those fictitious subjects that mocked the society of those days.

Marian Evans otherwise known by her pen name of George Eliot was born in London, where she spent most of her life. Eliot, because of her father's Victorian attitudes about the proper role of women, received little formal education. Nevertheless, the advantages of an upper-class family and an extraordinarily powerful and inquiring mind allowed Eliot to educate herself. She was also a distinguished literary and social critic. A strong supporter of women's rights, she expressed her views on the subject in a collection of essays and books. Due to discrimination against female writers, she chose to go by the identity of a man under the name of George Eliot.

Eliot uses her own creativity to model women's right to demand equality in the artistic world. She believed that if women's education, freedom, and equality continue to improve, and if women are able to secure private space and income, it may only take another century for women writers to take their place in the history of genius.

Eliot's witty and beautifully crafted essay has a practical message for aspiring women writers: as pioneers in the virtually unexplored frontier of women's literature, and to create timeless, powerful works of art, they must forsake the established mores of masculine creativity and forge their own traditions and styles.

She does not disclose the truth as she sees it; rather, she requires the audience to "participate in the drama of asking questions and searching for her creative departure from established lecture style delightfully foreshadows her intent to generate entirely new feminine traditions and searching for answers. Eliot encourages women to personally participate and identify with her ideas. She creates a fictitious narrator through, which she chronicles her thoughts and discoveries in her books and essays.

Through her clever use of fiction, Eliot shrewdly removes herself from the position of authority, enhances audience identification with her narrator, and…[continue]

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