Departmental Bulletin Paper ディケンズとジェンダー(原山煌教授,Philip Billingsley教授退任記念号)
Dickens and Gender : The Collapse of the Patriarchal Myth and Dickens's Limited Understanding(Special Issue Dedicated to Professor HARAYAMA Akira,Professor Philip Billingsley)

吉田, 一穂

When we consider the works of Charles Dickens (1812-70) from the viewpoint of gender, we can safely state that Dickens represents the collapse of the patriarchal myth but he does not represent the women who assert equal rights of men and women. In Dombey and Son (1848), Dombey's family has a system where the male head of the family has nearly absolute authority and the oldest male child falls heir to his father's property. The father's love and hopes are centered in Paul, Dombey neglects his daughter, Florence, and the estrangement is increased by the death of her brother. The representation of Florence's flight from her father takes the initiative in Dickens's later representations of feminism, but Florence's return is different from the return of Louisa Gradgrind in Hard Times (1854), because Florence asks her father to forgive her for her running away from home. In Hard Times, Gradgrind imposes his sense of values of materialism on Louisa, and she gets married to Bounderby to obey her father's will and support her brother. However, she cannot go against her nature and gets out of her life with Bounderby. In both Dombey and Son and Hard Times, Dickens represents the collapse of the patriarchal myth. It shows his affirmation of women's right, but the two works does not show that Dickens completely approves of women's advances into society. Bleak House gives a clue to it. In Bleak House, Mrs. Jellyby neglects her domestic responsibilities because of her mission in Africa. Her telescopic philanthropy causes her neglect of her family when her young son Peepy gets his head caught in the area railing. John Stuart Mill (1806_73) showed his opinion about Bleak House in the letter to Harriet Taylor : `Hard Times has the vulgar impudence to ridicule rights of women. It is done in the very vulgarest way-just the style in which vulgar men used to ridicule `learned ladies' as neglecting their children and household etc.' Mill's opinion admits of refutation, because it is likely that Dickens emphasizes the bad side of Mrs. Jellyby who neglects domestic responsibilities, in Bleak House which shows both the situation of Esther as an orphan and the lack of responsibility of Mrs. Dedlock. Dickens did not deny the right and the conspicuous activity of women. He also knew the usefulness of women who contributed to society. As the granddaughter of Thomas Coutts, founder of the London bank, Angela Burdett-Coutts (1814-1906) was one of the wealthiest woman in Victorian England. She was one of the busiest as well, not only helping to manage the bank, but also engaging herself very activity in an enormous range of philanthropic project. Urania Cottage, at which fallen women could acquire new skills, was set up with Dickens's assistance. Although Dickens knew the usefulness of women like Angela Burdett- Coutts, he represented the negative side of Mrs. Jellyby. His representation of Mrs. Jellyby might come from his own experience. Dickens had a bitter experience with his own mother : she was against the plan that he would be released from the blacking factory, and tried to keep him there. Dickens unconsciously reveals his conviction that maternal love is important in his works. In Bleak House, the absence of mother has a great influence on Esther's life and Esther feels a deep sense of isolation. Therefore Dickens might have used his past experience with his own mother.

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