John Fowles’ novel “The French Lieutenant’s woman” is seen as a postmodern text, by the author himself. He is considered to be the first postmodernist in the English literature, even though the postmodernist features were less explicit in British literature than in American. The novel resembles a Victorian text, but actually it is a critical rewrite of the happy-end Victorian novels. The issue of human freedom has always been an interesting subject to James Fowles. Some say that “The French Lieutenant’s woman” is one of his best novels which examine this issue. The action in the novel takes place in a small village in Southwest England – Lyme Regis. The reader meets the main characters in the very beginning of the novel. The author beautifully describes the little village which is very famous with its fossil and geology finds. At the beach, we find the three main characters – Ernestina Freeman, spending some time alone with her fiancée Charles Smitson, and Sarah Woodruff – a mysterious woman, who everyone calls the “French lieutenant’s whore”.
Sarah’s first appearance in the novel is when she is spotted walking on the beach, watching the stormy sea. Everyone could see that there is something mysterious about her. She appears to be a bit strange and unable to communicate properly with other people, because she has constantly been called “the French lieutenant’s whore”, or even a “tragedy”. She is different, she is smart, brave in a strange way, not to mention beautiful and doesn’t care what others talk about her – at least that’s the face she is showing the world. Because of the departure of the French lieutenant with whom she had fallen in love, Sarah suffers from deep melancholy. But when we compare her with Ernestina, we could easily see that, Sarah is the exact opposite of Ernestina. Ernestina Freeman is the typical Victorian female character. She is revealed to be conventional but pretty, young woman. Ernestina like the other people sees Sarah as the...
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