Alias Grace- the Doubled Victorian Image of Womanhood

Topics: Gender role, Quilting, Sociology Pages: 3 (1081 words) Published: April 1, 2009
Grace's language, in deliberately misunderstanding Dr. Jordan's speech, resists the patriarchal/linguistic role he has created for her. Discuss the 'doubled Victorian image of womanhood' in light of this comment that was displayed in the novel.

The 'doubled Victorian image of womanhood' served as an advantage to women back in the 19th Century. It not only allowed women to subtly resist the existing patriarchal society but also allowed them to have some, maybe equal, if not more power over the men as men have over them. This doubled image is that of a person under some form of authority but at the same time, is also temporarily in control of certain situations which sometimes determine the outcome. This image can be clearly fitted onto a domestic bound figure-woman and in particular that of the lower classed maidservants. Women of the lower classes are seen as nothing more than whores and that they are something to be taken advantage or possession of. Blinded by the sense of authority that they think they possess, the men fail to realise that these women, the whores, do have some power and influence over them.

In Grace's case of deliberately misunderstanding Dr Jordan's speech, she is unknowingly resisting the patriarchal and linguistic role that he had created for her. With their relationship being that of a doctor and patient, naturally, she has to submit to him as the authoritative figure. Dr Jordan establishes his position as the patriarch by taking advantage of Grace's weakness- "I understand that you are afraid of doctors. I must tell you right away that I myself am a doctor." He already is superior by being present in the room with Grace. In reminding her that she is afraid of doctors, he raises the bar and magnifies the gap in their relationship, creating both a patriarchal and linguistic role for Grace to submit to. Dr Jordan (thinks he) is able to manipulate Grace by bringing in items like apple, turnip, and parsnip in attempts to recover her lost...
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