Essay Comparison of "Persuasion" and "The Magic Toyshop"

Essay Comparison of "Persuasion" and "The Magic Toyshop"

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Both The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter and Persuasion by Jane Austen are constructed as love stories, although not conventional love stories. Austen's novel is part of the cultural movement of Romanticism as, although in earlier novels she satires Romanticism, Persuasion does bear some of the hallmarks of the Romantic period. Carter's novel however, can be seen as an ironic look at the Romantic novel. Therefore both novels provide an interesting viewpoint on their male characters, due not only to their style of writing but also to the novelists' gender and their obvious ideologies.

Jane Austen was an early standpoint feminist1 and so it is perhaps surprising to find her writing in the Romantic genre as it was "historically a male phenomenon"2 which not only objectified women but also "subjected them... in order to appropiate the feminine for male subjectivity"3. Female Romantic writers such as Austen "critique the dominant gender ideology of their time... present(ing) a more complex concept of female experience and capacities"4. In other words Austen's feminist viewpoint allows us to see a more realistic view of the world allowing Austen to provide a less sympathetic view of males and male behaviour then her male counterparts. Carter, however, uses a post-feminist view and so allows an ironical viewpoint on female Romantic writers' feminism, while taking further the critical look at the patriarchal male and the cycle of dominance and subsequent repression of women by males in general within the novel.

The main way in which the feminist standpoint is shown within both novels is through the use of free indirect style, a technique of narrating a character's thoughts, decisions and feelings through a combination of first- and t...

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...(London, Routledge (2nd ed.), 1997)
  • Jane Austen, Emma, (Norton, 1993)
  • Jane Austen, Persuasion, (Penguin, 1998)
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, (Oxford University Press, 1987)
  • Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, (Oxford University Press, 1933)
  • Angela Carter, Black Venus, (Vintage Press, 1995)
  • Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber, (Vintage Press, 1995)
  • Angela Carter, The Magic Toyshop, (Virago Press, 2000)
  • Angela Carter, Wise Children, (Vintage Press, 1992)
  • J. Cowely, Persuasion, (York Press, 1999)
  • Sarah Gamble (ed.), The Fiction of Angela Carter, (Icon Books LTD., 2001)
  • C.L. Johnson, Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel, (University of Chicago Press, 1988)
  • A.K. Mellor (ed.), Romanticism and Feminism, (Indiana Press, 1988)
  • A.K. Mellor, Romanticism and Gender, (Routledge, 1993)

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