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Title:The women in the novellas of Clemens Brentano
Author(s):Green, Anne Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McGlathery, James M.
Department / Program:Germanic Languages and Literatures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Germanic
Abstract:In the four completed novellas of Clemens Brentano, women are depicted as virtuous only if they accept the conventional role that society of the time determined for them. When they do not accept this role, they are either killed outright, or they are maligned in some way. Only male-determined roles for women are regarded as appropriate; the women who adhere to them are rewarded, whereas social transgression leads to downfall. Women are not important to society as individual members, but rather as parts of the whole, and they are valued only if carrying out their proper function. The degree to which each woman accepts and conforms to her function contributes to her success, or her demise, as the case may be. Age and marital status determine what is considered proper feminine behavior.
For this study, each of Brentano's women characters in his four completed novellas is studied in turn, investigating how each fits into the "appropriate" social role and what effect this has on her achievements and how the other characters perceive her. This approach shows how the fictional characters reflect the norm of the early nineteenth century for women, as well as how the literature of the day contributed to perpetuating and enforcing the status quo for women.
The aims of this dissertation are to isolate the similarities and differences of women from different age groups and to look at the social significance of these characteristics by relying on a close reading of the novellas and on historical information about gender roles. It will be shown that in Brentano's novellas women's virtuous behavior, depicted as willingness to accept what is considered proper in society, is rewarded. Thus, the traditional social roles for women are validated and enforced by Brentano's depictions of women in the novellas.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Green, Anne Marie
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9416364
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9416364

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