Universitatea „Transilvania“ din Braşov, Facultatea de Litere „Transylvania” University of Brasov, Faculty of Letters
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2 / 2011
FEMININE AGES IN THE NOVELS OF HORTENSIA PAPADAT-BENGESCU AND VIRGINIA WOOLF.
THE ADOLESCENT FEMALE CHARACTERS
The author compares and contrasts some adolescent female characters in the novels written by the Romanian novelist Hortensia Papadat Bengescu (Lenora, Sia, Coca-Aimee, Mika-Le etc.) to some of the young female characters in Virginia Woolf’s novels (Elizabeth Dalloway, Katherine Hillbery, Cam Ramsay, Jinny, Susan, Rhoda, Rachel Vinrace).
This paper focusses on the relation between one particular biological period and the manner in which girls try to express femininity throughout adolescence. While the adolescent female characters in Virginia Woolf’s novels unveil a morality and breeding shaped by the strict patriarchal Victorian rules of education, most of the female characters in Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu’s novels prove a rather lax, less articulated morality. The view that a woman’s anatomy is her destiny lies at the heart of biological determinism and was one of the favourite motifs in her novels.
Virginia Woolf, considering the aspect of self-discovery and aiming to define a distinctively feminine identity, makes some subtle, necessary clarifications as regards the ‘femininity’, namely the reality described by a socially constructed image, rather than of ‘femaleness’.
Keywords: adolescent female characters, biological determinism, explicit feminine behaviour, femininity versus femaleness, morality, attitude, breeding and rules of education.