What Techniques Do Authors Use To Present the Female Characters? Essay Sample
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Introduction of TOPIC
In the extract ‘Broken hearted vengeance’ from ‘Great Expectations’, Dickens uses descriptive language to describe Miss Havisham, the main character in the extract from ‘Great Expectations’ words such as “cold and cruel” resembles Miss Havisham, because she is cold-hearted woman that hates all men and thinks they’re all canaille. She is in this condition because her fiancï¿½ never arrived to the altar on their wedding day. Another metaphorical descriptive phrase that Dickens uses to describe Miss Havisham is “wax candles”. This is because her life is at the end like a melting candle considering her fiancï¿½ left her. Another word from the extract that Dickens includes to explain Miss Havsham is “faded”, this is saying that Miss Havisham is metaphorically dead I say this because she has lost the will to live.
However, William Trevor uses a specific narrative structure as a technique to introduce his female characters. The specific narrative structure is by giving the female name, then by how they have been linked with the wedding. After linking them with the wedding William Trevor describes their physical appearance, then the colour that they are wearing which symbolises each female character. For example, Mrs Atty “the mother of the bride…bespectacled…wore a flowered dress-small yellow and blue blooms”. Also, Mrs Cornish “the mother of the bridegroom…was in pink, with a pink hat”. As well, Mrs Tracey “a sister of Mrs Atty’s…was the stoutest of the three women… she was dressed in black”. Trevor gives this limited information about his characters because they are a community not individuals.
Charles Dickens and William Trevor write very different styles. Firstly, Dickens writes in a metaphorical way. This can be seen when he writes,” Nothing but beggar my neighbour, miss” This is a metaphorical quote because “beggar my Neighbour” is a card game, the winner being the one who gains all the cards in the pack. This suggests that Pip doesn’t have any money and Miss Havisham is in control of the game. Charles Dickens also writes in a colourful manner. An example of this is when he writes, “she was dressed in rich material-satins, and lace, Dickens is silks-all of white”. This is colourful because Dickens is describing what she is wearing, suing a lot of specific detail. Finally, it can be argued that Dickens writes ‘Great Expectations’ in a familiar style. This is because he tells the reader about Miss Havisham being “Bitter and heart-broken as a result of being jilted on her wedding day”.
This is familiar because Dickens tells of her feelings and emotions. In comparison, William Trevor has written ‘Teresa’s Wedding’ in an impersonal way. An example of this is when he writes “their own two marriages…. had been consecrated…in the Church of the Immaculate Conception and celebrated afterwards in this same lounge bar”. This is impersonal because everybody gets married in the same Church; this means that the characters are not that important. Also, Trevor does not give the reader his opinion of this either. Also, William Trevor writes in a panoramic manner. This shown when he writes “Artie Cornish…drank stout with his friends Eddie Boland and Chas Flynn, and Screw Doyle, so called because he se
rved behind the counter in McQuaids hardware shop”. This is panoramic because these characters
Another technique that both authors employ is using the environment to represent the female characters. For example, Dickens states that Miss Havisham is careless “for she had one shoe on”. This represents Miss Havisham because it symbolizes that there is a man missing from her life, her life is not complete. Also, like the clock Miss Havisham has “stopped”. This links to Miss Havisham because she is metaphorically ‘dead’ because her life is at an end due to her fiancï¿½ not turning up at the altar. Similarly, William Trevor also uses the negative setting of the lounge bar to symbolise the relationship between Teresa and Artie. For example, the linoleum on the floor is “tattered”. This links to Teresa because her life is ruined and she doesn’t want to get married. Another example of this is “there was nothing special” because the town is dull and boring, and there is nothing important about it or the wedding.
In both of the stories, the reactions towards marriage of the female characters were strongly influenced by the time in which they were set. For example, in the 1800s, upper class women who were unmarried were seen to be abnormal in some way. This is seen in ‘Great Expectations’ as Miss Havisham is “the wax work and skeleton” that “seemed to have dark eyes that moved”. This resembles Miss Havisham because she never got because she was jilted on her wedding day and this would be that a jlted women was considered to be damaged goods and could not marry again. A quote to back this statement up would be “broken”.
This also resembles Miss Havisham because she was jilted on her wedding day and she feels heart-broken that she never got married. Also, in 1800 England women had no life beyond marriage and their husbands owned them. “Dropped…under the weight of a crushing blow”. This means that Miss Havisham has given up hope because her fiancï¿½ never turned up at the altar. The fact that ‘Teresa’s Wedding’ was written in the 1970s is also of major significance. This is because marriage was still not necessarily about love, but about respectability as in the 1800s and “In no way did Teresa love him”. This quote meant that (even doe Teresa wasn’t in love she was forced by her family) and this is because Teresa was pregnant and marriage was not based on love in the 1970s. Another example would be “Kitty Roche, who was asthmatic, did not believe she’d ever marry”. This example proves my point because women who were disabled or ill or not expect to get married just because they were different. Also, society was not so repressed about sex and marriage. Artie asks “Did Screw Doyle take you into a field, Teresa?” This meant women did go off to have sex before marriage and their husbands even approached the subject.
The feelings or a personal event in the life of an author usually influences how they portray their characters. Both Dickens and Trevor created their female characters in specific ways due to this. For example, just before writing ‘Great Expectations’, Dickens had ended an affair with an actress. This meant that he was not happy with women in general and this can be seen in his novel. There is a correlation between Miss Havisham and Dickens’ ex. This meant that Miss Havisham is a bitter, harsh, cruel and resentful woman. Rather then speaking politely to Pip she says, “Play” in a rude manner. Similarly, the way that Trevor felt at the time of him writing ‘Teresa’s Wedding’ also had an effect on the way that he portrayed his female characters. William Trevor had sympathy for people who were marginalized within society. This can be seen through the character of Loretta, because she “had married a man who was no longer mentioned because he’d gone to England and had never come back”. This means that she was jilted, but unlike Miss Havisham Loretta has moved on with her life.
To conclude, both authors use a variety of literary techniques when creating their female characters. For example they were both influenced by the social, cultural and historical events that were happening. Also each author has been influenced by their feelings they had or the events in their lives at the time of writing their characters. As well, they both used specific writing styles and they also used the environment to express their female characters. However, Dickens also uses descriptive language whereas Trevor uses a specific narrative structure.
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