The Moonstone: Dual Narratives, Social Implications, and Symbolism

2676 WordsDec 7, 201111 Pages
Kendra Lynch English 1302 Ms. Olsen 15 March 2011 The Moonstone Wilkie Collins’s famous detective novel, The Moonstone (1868), takes place in the 1840s during the high-Victorian imperialist age, a time in which the British experienced a long period of contentment and prosperity. During this time, a strong sense of anti-feminism seemed to thrive in British society. Despite this fact, Wilkie Collins did not hesitate to make the women in his novel central characters that have a great influence on the plot. Collins’s effort to balance the plot and characterization in his novel was a great success. The characters in The Moonstone are more than just fictional characters, as they portray various social and religious messages and scores…show more content…
In the first scene, three Brahmin men illustrate Hindu mythology to the reader. The introduction of Orientalism creates an atmosphere of theology and suspense which hinders English society rather than Indian society. Betteredge feels that the “devilish Indian diamond” (Roy 660) has invaded the sanctity of the English home. Ezra Jennings is a physician who bases his faith on medicine and scientific reasoning. Lady Verinder and her daughter, Rachel, are both affiliated with the Church of England. Despite the fact that they are both Christian, Miss Clack habitually tells them that they must convert to her form of Christianity or they will go to hell. Miss Clack, along with Godfrey Ablewhite who also verbalizes his religion, is a complete hypocrite. As she preaches to the reader, she exclaims, “Oh, my young friends and fellow-sinners...Let your faith be as your stockings, and your stockings as your faith. Both ever spotless, and both ready to put on at a moment's notice!” (Collins 203). In other words, she implies that her devout faith is nothing more than a front that she can “put on” and take off. Lastly, unlike most Victorian novels, The Moonstone contains female characters that are skillfully developed and unconventional. Many critics believe that Collins was genuinely feminist for his time and that he had a great interest in contemporary social issues of his time. Gender stereotypes are asserted by different characters throughout

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