Convoluted Feminism in Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

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King’s Mary Russell series aimed to update the Sherlock Holmes cannon to the modern feminist era. However, King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice complicates its own feminist views through Mary’s approval seeking behavior, male disguises, and prevalent sentiments. The most ineffective was King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice undermines its feminist stance is through Mary’s approval seeking behavior. Approval seeking behavior is extremely common throughout society. Young children want their parents to approve of them and peers yearn to be respected by one another. Mary is no exception to this. Holmes’ approval is what she is looking for in particular. Mary asked Holmes if her presence was an embarrassment to him (111). Mary’s insecurities and dependence does not fit in to the competent, independent female archetype that feminism supports. The feminist female model would not need validation, much less validation from a male. However, this action is commonplace for all ages and genders.
Holmes entered Mary’s residence without her knowledge and then informed her that “[he] shall allow [her] to make the next decision.” (233) in order to apologize for his actions. The roles have reversed here; Holmes now seeks approval from Mary. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice goes back on itself in an effort to further muddle its feminist stance through Holmes’ own approval seeking behavior. Holmes’ request for forgiveness and approval also underscores the fact that this behavior is universal.

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