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Androgynous Characters in Thomas Hardy's Novels

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Androgynous Characters in Thomas Hardy's Novels

Androgyny may be defined as "a condition under which the characteristics of the sexes, and the human impulses expressed by men and women, are not rigidly assigned" (Heilbrun 10). In the midst of the Victorian Era, Thomas Hardy opposed conventional norms by creating androgynous characters such as Eustacia Vye, in The Return of the Native ; the title character in Tess of the d Urbervilles ; Sue Bridehead in Jude the Obscure ; and Marty South in The Woodlande rs. Hardy's women, possessing "prodigious energy, stunted opportunity, and a passion which challenges the entire, limiting world" (Heilbrun 70), often resemble men in actions and behavior.

Eustacia Vye may be considered androgynous for her passion, rebelliousness, and refusal to accept the confines of Egdon. She exists in a state of untamed romantic emotion and fantasy, and has little concern for the effects of her actions. These characteristics of Eustacia make her less typical of women during the Victorian Era, but the scene in which her androgynous behavior is most evident...
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