Sexual Roles in Time of the Temptress

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Sexual Roles in Time of the Temptress

Violet Winspear's Time of the Temptress may not be considered a literary masterpiece by many critics, but it does give a specific example of male dominant and female submissive sexual roles. Even though the novel contains no explicit or even implied sexual scenes occurring between the main characters, the actions and speech of Wade and Eve serve as a substitute for erotic passages.

Eve is labeled as an obvious submissive character as soon as she was introduced in the novel. She appears as a helpless woman in the company of nuns. Nuns might be considered some of the purest and most vulnerable creatures alive, second only to children. Her affiliation with these women imply that she is innocent and as helpless as they. Eve and the nuns are at the mercy of the brave warrior who rescued them from their mission. When Eve volunteers to walk across the jungle, even her act of courage seems weak. " 'Please'-Eve caught on impulse at the khaki-clad arm, 'if room can be found for Sister Mercy and the others , then I am sure I can trek the rest of the way' " (6). She asks, or begs, for permission to make a sacrifice, and through out the novel she never stops apologizing for it.

Before they begin their trek, Eve becomes quickly furious with the man who saved her and she declares that she is "not helpless" (12). In spite of her outburst, the rest of the novel makes her out to be anything but helpful. For example, she cannot bathe without a monkey stealing her Bond street apparel. It is impossible for her to search for them naked, and to top it all off, the fearless Wade O'Mara has to save her from toe-snapping crabs before finding her pants for her. Later on Eve acknowledges her situation. "She was glad he was so tough and self-reliant, but at the same time he was so disturbing and awoke in her a feeling of being a helpless and vulnerable female" (38). She is correct. She doesn't make their dinner, the only useful thing she does is sweep out a hut and slaughter a few of the harmless insects that lived there.
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