The Girl With The Golden Eyes By Honore De Balzac Essay

The Girl With The Golden Eyes By Honore De Balzac Essay

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Society often views individuals that do not conform to its expectations as separate from the societal group. The Story of the Marquise-Marquis de Banneville, by Charles Perrault, François-Timoléon de Choisy, and Marie-Jeanne L’Héritier follows two main characters, one of which does not fully conform to binary gender presentation. The Girl with the Golden Eyes, authored by Honoré de Balzac, portrays an “oriental” woman as an object to be purchased and used. In Le Roman de Parthenay Ou Le Roman de Melusine, written by Coudrette, the heroine is a half human, half fairy who holds great power. In this paper, I argue that the majority of biologically female protagonists in these novels exist in-between the expectations society has for them, which causes them to be neither viewed nor treated as fully human as demonstrated by the detestation of the Marquis de Bercourt, the “orientalization” of Paquita, and the demonization of Melusine in their respective works.
In The Story of the Marquise-Marquis de Banneville, gender is shown as extremely malleable, but only within the gender binary, meaning the people of the time must be easily separated into men or women by presentation, regardless of biological sex. An example of the ease with which gender can change exists as Prince Sionad/Princess de Garden. According to the novel, the Prince “often takes pleasure in putting on the fair sex’s clothes” when he is not busy “fight[ing] in the war” (Perrault, De Choisy, & L 'Héritier 25), but he is still respected within the society. The act of wearing the feminine clothes “does not diminish his charm” (25). Yet, when the Marquis de Bercourt goes to the theatre wearing male-coded clothing and female-coded makeup and jewelry, the same person who suppo...


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...llow society-imposed gender roles and is demonized as a result.
Each of these novels depicts at least one main character that falls somewhere in-between the expectations society imposes on its members. Furthermore, if these characters are biologically female, the authors tend to dehumanize them, whether or not they are known as females in the novel. The same effect is not often seen on the male characters. This demonstrates that the views of the authors, and consequently their cotemporary culture, are that women who are not easily stereotyped are not worthy of being treated as people. The writers are using what they know, explicitly or implicitly, of their own society to compose these literary works. From this, it can be inferred that any woman who deviates from the norm in these real-world societies, will not be considered a person and will be treated accordingly.

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