Eves, Angels or Human Beings: G.K. Chesterton's Female Characters




Schultz, Rachel

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G.K. Chesterton remains one of the most heralded authors of the twentieth century. However, his views on “The Woman Question,” as outlined in his polemical essays, invite skepticism at best. In order to provide a more complete understanding of Chesterton’s perception of muliebrity, this thesis analyzes major female characters within Chesterton’s fiction: specifically the epic poem, The Ballad of the White Horse, the sweeping farce The Flying Inn, and the allegorically charged The Ball and the Cross. To achieve this purpose, the thesis works from principles of feminist criticism, testing whether each female character is portrayed with their own irreducible integrity or is flattened into a prop, whose sole purpose is to advance the development of male leads. Such lines of inquiry involve questioning whether females are portrayed as angelic, guiding figures or tempting eve figures instead of fully developed human beings with strengths, faults and their own significant storyline. An exploration of Chesterton’s fictional female characters complicates our understanding of his views on womanhood as held thus far.



English., Literary Criticism., Literature., Gender Criticism., Feminist Criticism., G.K. Chesterton.