‘The role of women in literature often reflects contemporary social and cultural concerns about gender.’ Compare and contrast how and for what purposes the role of women is presented in your chosen texts.
The role of women in literature often reflects contemporary social and cultural concerns about gender and power; this can be seen within the three texts, Bram Stoker’s, ‘Dracula’, first published in 1987, Ian Banks ‘Wasp Factory’ written in 1984, and the collections of poems called ‘Ariel’ by Sylvia Plath published in 1965. At the time when all three of these literature texts were written, women of the different time periods were struggling to ...view middle of the document...
Her death is organised and her fiancé completes the act of driving a stake through her heart. Lucy also receives blood transfusions from all of the men which created a bond between them. The three women represent the rebellion of repressed sexuality of women and how their sexuality should be portrayed; this shows Jonathan's repressed sexual desire which comes bubbling to the surface when he sees the sexy vampire ladies in Castle Dracula. He's both attracted to them and repulsed by them, and ashamed to admit that he wants them to kiss him. The vampire's kiss is described in very sexual terms and the traditional power dynamic is reversed – the woman is the sexual aggressor, and Jonathan is the passive one, ‘The fair girl went on her knees, and bent over ... me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was thrilling’. The vampire excites Jonathan Harker which is show through the adjective ‘thrilling’, denoting his basic sexual desire. The Victorian period reflects how women should be suppressed to men which raises cultural concerns.
While Sylvia Plath was writing the collection of ‘Ariel’ poems in 1965, women in society were struggling for equality, independence and their human rights. This can be linked to the emotions of being suppressed and second class to men which is shown in ‘The Applicant’; a poem that refers to woman’s role were women were being used for sewing and cooking which was seen to be common nature to society at that time. Women were able to talk to men and voice their opinions but men did not have to listen to them. The female gender was seen in terms of possessions and items for men to dispose of when ever they pleased. In ‘Will you marry it?’ and ‘it’s your last resort’, women are characterised as ‘it’ which suggests that she as a woman is of a lower standard to the men and unimportant. Men do not see women to be of the same class as them they are sarcastic and mocking towards them calling them patronising names such as ‘sweetie’ which is also belittling towards the female characters such as; ‘it can talk, talk, talk’ the repetition is typical of a stereotyped version of a woman character, ‘It can sew, it can cook’ links Plath with Dracula, where Jonathan states, ‘Get a recipe for Mina’ which is similar to both texts with a stereotypical image for women in the Victorian era and the sixties, women who skills only consisted of cooking, cleaning, sewing and looking after children. Sylvia Plath shows a strong self image in this poem because she can either ‘Grow’ or become ‘Suicidal’ this shows her self image to change and adapt to her current situation. Which can be linked to Van Dyne’s ideas, Susan Van Dyne states that Sylvia Plath’s literature is based on her anxieties, they show her lack of stability which is portrayed shown through her attempted suicides. Susan also likes this instability to the death of her father when she was ten years old; Sylvia Plath explores emotions such as abandonment. She...