Comparing the French Lieutenant's Woman and Jewel in the Crown

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Similarities between French Lieutenant's Woman and Jewel in the Crown

John Fowles's French Lieutenant's Woman and Paul Scott's Jewel in the Crown are two literary works that illustrate continuity in British literature over time. While French Lieutenant's Woman [is set in]...the Victorian era and Jewel in the Crown [depicts events in]... the twentieth century . . ., the two exhibit similar thematic content. Both works emphasize the importance of social stature, both portray society's view of what's acceptable in the intimate relationships of women, and both are stories in which two lovers are together regardless of whether or not society approves.

The portrayal of social statures in French Lieutenant's Woman is rather simple. Other than Sarah Woodruff, the characters are of the wealthy upper class. Sarah is described as a "poor but educated woman who has lost her reputation." Other characters include Charles Smithson, a wealthy gentleman who becomes Sarah's lover; Ernistina Freeman, Charles' fiance and daughter of a wealthy businessman; Mr. Freeman, Ernestina's father, a successful businessman who aspires to the upper class by marrying his daughter into [a higher class]...; and Ms. Poultney, a wealthy widow who takes in Sarah Woodruff to belittle and humiliate.

Social statures portrayed in Jewel in the Crown are more complicated; race also plays into the social status of its characters. The main character of the story is Daphne Manners, who starts off as upper class but is later demoted to "that Manners girl" due to an inter-racial relationship with Hari Kumar. Hari is born in India, but grew up well to do in England. Upon his return to India he has lost his social status. he aspires to the ...

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...disapprove and criticize her. It was a sad reality that white hostility for mixed relationships could devalue the life of an innocent child.

Jewel in the Crown and French Lieutenant's Woman illustrate in full, continuity in British literature. While French Lieutenant's Woman represents the 1860s and Jewel in the Crown represents the 1940s, the two literary works remain very similar in plot and theme. They also illustrate that the values of the British in regards to intimate relationships and social boundaries remained unchanged for over eighty years.

Works Cited

Damrosch, David, et al., ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature. Vol. B. Compact ed. New York: Longman - Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.

Scott, Paul. The Jewel in the Crown. (1966.) Vol. 1 of the Raj Quartet. Rpt. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1998.
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