Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins


An excerpt of a review recently posted on Schaeffer's Ghost:
Classic literature doesn’t offer much in the way of strong, single, unattractive heroines. If you’re a reader, it’s ridiculously easy to become persuaded that only attractive people matter—that they’re the only ones who get to have stories. Unattractive people are relegated to the sidelines. And a single woman, well, she’s just a problem to be solved. Elizabeth Bennet is witty and charming and attractive, so she gets a (fantastic) book and ends up with one of the Catches of All Time. Juliet’s story doesn’t end well, it’s true, but it’s highly regarded as a romantic classic—and she was no dog. Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, Emma …these are stories about attractive women. Then there’s Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty (it’s right there in the name), Snow White … even biblical matriarchs, such as they are, skew hot—look at Sarah, Rachel, and Rebecca. Sure, Jane Eyre is no looker (and I love her for that), but even she winds up paired up with the gruff Mr. Rochester. And the unfortunate Leah, though unloved, still gets married. Only tragedies end with single heroines still single. Happily-ever-afters require marriage (or at least romance). [...]

But in the face of countless, gorgeous Disney princesses and their (admittedly dull-as-toast) Prince Charmings, it is crazy easy to believe that if you are not a) a knockout, and b) married, then you either don’t get a story, or your story is incomplete until you acquire both these things. You are incomplete until you acquire both these things.

Which is why I love The Woman in White’s Marian.
Full review available here.

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