Authentically Portrayed Women in Literature Essay

2165 Words 9 Pages
Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina; Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind; Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Upon first glance, these classics of literary legend appear to have nothing in common. However, looking closer, one concept unites these three works of art. At the center of each story stands a woman--an authentically portrayed woman. A woman with strengths, flaws, desires, memories, hopes, and dreams. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara, and Williams’ Blanche DuBois are beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated women: strong yet fragile, brazen yet subtle, carnal yet pure. Surviving literature that depicts women in such a realistic and moving fashion is still very rare today, and each piece of that unique genre …show more content…
Indeed, the two sisters believed that the “beautiful pure freedom of a woman was infinitely more wonderful than any sexual love” (Lawrence, Lady 1994 7). The author maintains this stance on women’s independence, but he tweaks it slightly over the course of the story. Connie marries Clifford Chatterley, an aristocrat and owner of the estate Wragby Hall, who is paralyzed from the waist down because of a war injury, rendering him impotent. Clifford devotes himself to his work--writing--and Connie remains ignored. “A Sleeping Beauty, she has not awakened to life” (Squires in Lawrence, Lady 1994 xxi). This lack of connection with her husband fans the flame of Connie’s sexual inquisitiveness, first ignited in an erotic encounter, when she spies on Mellors bathing naked.
In Sons and Lovers, Mrs. Gertrude Morel’s personality is a near polar opposite to Connie’s. Whereas Connie is earthy, sensual, and physical, Mrs. Morel is proud, unyielding, and intellectual (Murfin 34). She is associated with “control, consciousness, coolness, and colors suggesting purity” (Murfin 38). In a letter to a friend, Lawrence himself wrote the simplest explanation of Mrs. Morel’s role in the novel:
The son loves the mother--all the sons hate and are jealous of the father. The battle goes on between the mother and the girl, with the son as object. The mother gradually proves…