The Instability of Female Quixote Essay

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The Instability of Female Quixote In “The Female Quixote,” the whimsical nature of fiction is not just a barrier to social acceptance, but an absurdity. Following popular notions of the time, fiction is presented as a diversion and an indulgence that cannot be reconciled with reality and threatens the reader’s perception of actual experience. The theme is common, as is evident through the basis of this novel, Cervantes’s “Don Quixote,” and other works such as “Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen. The story is a series of examples of what not to do, acting as both a cautionary tale and conduct guide. But there is a fundamental instability in the work resulting from the opposition of the moral and the means in which it is…show more content…
Falsely believing she is about to be ravished, she imitates the story of Clelia and attempts to swim across the Thames, causing an illness from which she is scarcely able to recover (Lennox 363). In a pattern following the tales she reads, she initially believes all women who are at least somewhat beautiful and wealthy, therefore fitting the description of a female protagonist, are the main characters in their own storyline, and the goal of all men is to deflower them. As a rule, heroines protect their virtue and men attempt to take it, which is why Arabella believes Miss Morse and the prostitute in the garden are mislead or forced into losing their virginity, and why she accuses every male of ulterior motives. The novel’s purpose in doing this is obviously not to demonstrate what acceptable behavior is, but what it is not. Further proving this are the subtitles of the chapters, which have the tone of a lesson being taught: Book I, Chapter I, “Contains…The bad Effects of a whimsical Study;” Book III, Chapter VII, “In which our Heroine is suspected of Insensibility;” Book VII, Chapter XI, “In which our Heroine, being mistaken herself, gives Occasion for a great many other Mistakes;” Book VII, Chapter XIII, “In which our Heroine’s Extravagance will be thought, perhaps, to be carried to an extravagant Length.” The author is undoubtedly aware that she is addressing an audience, and she expects them to learn the

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