Female Submission in Time of the Temptress

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Female Submission in Time of the Temptress

From the onset, the underlying theme in Violet Winspear's romance novel, Time of the Temptress, is female submission and powerlessness, especially in the sexual tension between Eve Tarrant and Wade O'Mara. Although no explicit sexual relations are allowed in the line of "Harlequin Presents..." romances, the overall tone and interpersonal dynamics of the novel infer a rape motif. Eve is completely at the mercy of Wade to save her from the jungle and she yearns to express her gratitude in a sexual manner, but contrary to the original biblical outcome, this Eve has no power over her Adam.

The first step to conceive a sexually submissive woman is to equate female powerlessness with normality in her mind. To simplify the procedure, Winspear has bred Eve with that mindset. Eve believes men and woman have always had "functions in life" --"very dissimilar" ones which "accounted for the fact that men had aggressive ways to which women submit either willingly or unwillingly." As long as Eve retains those lessons, Wade has no qualms about aiding her escape from the jungle. Wade quickly informs Eve that she must adopt the frame of mind of an Indian squaw because "Squaws are humble and obedient creatures." Simone de Beauvoir, while discussing the theory of a superior "One" and a submissive "Other," explains that the "Other . . . must be submissive enough to accept . . . [an] alien point of view," the view of the superior "One" (244). Eve readily accepts her role as the oppressed and finds nothing odd about the unspoken caste system.

Thus we come to the second step, passive-aggressive behavior: degrade her and then apologize; or repeatedly remind her that she failed, but then reassure her it's resolved and see if she agrees with your reasoning. After Eve takes a dip in the river while Wade sleeps and monkeys steal her clothes, Wade screams at her, "dammit, Eve, we'll lose about an hour of our trek because of your female irresponsibility!" (64). While looking for her clothes, Wade also loses his compass, doing what a "raw recruit would have avoided" (74). Of course this also is all Eve's fault and she is reminded of it repeatedly throughout their jungle trek.

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