Universitatea „Transilvania“ din Braşov, Facultatea de Litere / ”Transilvania” University from Braşov, Faculty of Letters
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2 / 2010
A woman’s roles in the novels of Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu and Virgina Woolf (I).
The Wife, the Mother, the Daughter, the Sister
The present study deals with the comparative analysis of four of the main roles played by the woman within her family – the Wife, the Mother, the Daughter and the Sister – as considered in the novels of Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu and Virginia Woolf. What is new, as compared to the female characters of the predecesor women writers, is that the identity of women, as understood by men at the beginning of the XXth century as centered wholly around the domestic realm, tends to become less obvious.The two authors have in common the fact that they both appreciate the institution of marriage but, the British novelist has her female characters make the appology of marriage by mentioning its benefits, whereas Hortensia
Papadat-Bengescu’s heroines offer the reader the reverse of the coin as a negative example.
What differentiates the female characters of the two novelists is, on the one hand, the extent to which the respective writers managed to combine the roles of the characters to make them more interesting and more credible and, on the other hand, the way in which the authors present the family conflicts. With Virginia Woolf ’s novels the family conflicts are very discreet as compared to those outspoken in the Romanian novelist’s, due to the fact that
the former presents fewer negative characters, whereas the latter’s work presents hardly any ‘positive’ female character proper.
Keywords: Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu, Virginia Woolf, a woman’s roles, the Wife, the Mother, the Daughter, the Sister
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