A Time Of Prosperous Change

A Time Of Prosperous Change

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A Time of Prosperous Change


In the early nineteen hundreds when women used to be treated as objects who were
only good for cooking and cleaning. These women were expected to stay home and
do nothing but take care of the children. Authors were rarely women .Now in the
present day a women is thought of as having a mind of her own. She is thought of
as a independent, an individual who has a peace of mind of her own who is
allowed to work and make a living as she pleases. Even we don't think of Weldon
every time someone mentions a popular contemporary author we know she deserves
to be mentioned. Both in the Critical Survey of Long Fiction and in Love and
Marriage in the Novels of Anita Brookner and Fay Weldon Weldon is mentioned
with great honor and respect. Anna Ericson uses more past situations in Fay
Weldon's own life while contrasting her to Anita Brookner while in contrast the
Critical Survey of Long Fiction criticizes the works without much comparison to
others. Both the Magill and Anna Ericson have strong points on a women's
individualism but Anna Ericson proves Weldon's choice of personality for the
main character was one reflecting Weldon's own thoughts and morals. In the The
Life and Loves of a She Devil Ruth is a character who is well developed who one
can feel one with because of the fact that the author creates great depth to
her as a character. In the Critical Survey of Long Fiction the author states
that "In her fiction, Fay Weldon explores women's lives with wit and humor.
She is caustic in her implicit condemnation of injustice but avoids
preaching by characters say and what they do"(Magill 3474). On the other
hand Ericson has more of a formula to Weldon's novels unlike the Critical
Survey of Long Fiction. "The Weldon narrator is usually omniscient; she is
wise, sad and cynical"(Ericson 1). which shows that the characters must
be well developed to have such a personified personality. Magill rarely
states how Ruth's personality had come about in The Life and Loves of a
She Devil. Love was not an issue to Weldon when writing this novel this
may be due to the lack of love in her very own life. Love was never thought
of importance in the Critical Survey of Long Fiction. On the other hand
in Love and Marriage in the Novels of Anita Brookner and Fay Weldon Ericson
uses the subject of lack of love as the focus of his theories and that

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Weldon was a unwed mother who had to deal with the pressures of having a child
instead of receiving love from his father. Even though Weldon wed eventually she
later learned of what love was which gave her the experience to right about such
a unloved character. Magill on the other hand focuses on their married
relationship rather that the lack of love from Ruth and Bobo's relationship "
The plot tells the story of a middle-class, suburban housewife,
Ruth......."(Magill 3474). Weldon always makes the heroine hidden or makes her
in hiding so the reader has to figure out for themselves which is being done.
Ericson states "The general Weldon heroine is not so easily described"(Ericson
2). In The Life and Loves of a She Devil Weldon uses great technique to make
her main character Ruth go in hiding she makes her hide not only her motives and
desires but herself.
The author uses great technique in making the reader choose for themselves if
the main character is the antagonist of protagonist. In The Life and Loves of a
She Devil Weldon makes Ruth out to be a helpless women who firsts depends on her
husband Bobbo for everything but in a underhanded manner she steals her husbands
money and gets him to be charged with embezzlement "But all the time he was
planning his great flight, the new life, with someone altogether different, and
on his client's money, too."(Weldon 226). The author goes to great distances to
make Ruth's personality change in drastic manners. Ruth went from one extreme to
another she was once dependent, and unsatisfied and later became dependent and
satisfied by her husband's lack of composure. Ruth changed just as if times were
changing from the early 1900's to the later 1900's. Weldon writes that:
     "It seemed to Ruth that at last the times had come to return to the High
Tower. She could walk with ease, even run a little. She could life a two-pound
weight in either hand. Her circulatory problems were under control. She no
longer needed the Hermione Clinic. She no longer needed anyone. She danced with
Mr.Ghengis in the dew of the morning, as the sun rose red and round over the
escarpment, and with every step it was as if she trod on knives; but she thanked
him for giving her life and told him she was going."(239). In both Criticisms
the authors use reasoning to justify the use a almost happy ending to the novel.
Ericson states "Strangely enough, I have yet to read a Fay Weldon novel without
an almost unbelievably happy ending. Still , the happy ending is usually based
on coincidence, fate or supernatural occurrences,. And practically never on the
actions of the characters" (Ericson 3474). But on the other hand in The Life and
Loves of a She Devil the author makes the main character achieve whatever is
achieved by herself. Also in the Critical Survey of Long Fiction the author sums
up the ending as so "Ruth is in command, while Bobbo has been humiliated and
accepts his fate like owntrodden wife"(Ericson 3476).
     Both criticisms are unique in a way of their own. But I feel as if
Ericson does a better point of proving how Weldon's life plays a major role in
the development in her characters. Even though the author of Critical Survey of
Long Fiction doesn't establish this he still has done a very concise job of
stating his views. The Life and Loves of a She Devil is a very good novel
showing the dramatic change of time contrasting with the life of Ruth the main
character in The Life and Loves of a She Devil .

Work Cited

Ericson, Anna. Love and Marriage in the Novels of Anita Brookner and Fay Weldon.
     World Wide Web, The Internet. January 14 1997 Magill, N. Frank, ed.

Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Pasedena: UP of California, 1991.
     Vol. 8 of English Language Series 8 vols. 1969-1994 Weldon, Fay. The

Life and Loves of a She Devil. London: Coronet, 1983.
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