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重点论文网    文科论文    英语论文    论《汤姆•琼斯》中对女性的歧视
创建时间:12-06

论《汤姆•琼斯》中对女性的歧视


Contents

Abstract (in Chinese) ………………………………………………………………………….i
Abstract (in English).................................................................................................. ii
Introduction...................................................................................................................................1
I. The Unbalance of Parental Images....................................................................................3
  A. The Exaggeration of Father’s Function...........................................................................3
  B. The Lack of Mother Image……………………………….....……………………….…...4
II. The Depiction of “Perfect Woman”.................................................................................7
  A. Sophia as the Perfect Woman............................................................................................7
  B. Sophia as the Unreal Female Image.................................................................................8
III. The Distortion of Women.................................................................................................11
  A. Women as the Cause of Men’s Degeneration...............................................................11
  B. Women as the Dependency of Men................................................................................13
Conclusion....................................................................................................................................15
Notes...............................................................................................................................................17
Bibliography................................................................................................................................18
 
 
摘 要

性别歧视是以性别为基础而产生的一种歧视现象。《汤姆•琼斯》是亨利•菲尔丁的代表作。小说在人物塑造、情节刻画及语言使用等各个方面都充满了对女性的歧视,并借此反映18世纪社会女性地位的低下及社会对女性的歧视。本论文将从父亲形象的夸大与母亲形象的缺失这一对比、对苏菲亚这一完美而又失真的女性形象刻画以及把女性的作用和地位曲解为男性堕落原因及男性附属物这三方面的分析入手,深刻剖析菲尔丁的男权思想及女性歧视主义色彩。
关键词:歧视;男权思想;女性
 

Abstract

Sexism is the discriminating phenomenon which bases on sex. Woman is defined by man and has low place in the society of the eighteenth century. Henry Fielding is one of the most important novelists in the eighteenth century. In this century, woman is defined by man and has low place in the society. Tom Jones is Fielding’s masterpiece. In this novel, sexism and chauvinism can be easily observed from its depiction of characters, its description of plot and its use of language, etc. The prejudice against women of the whole society in eighteenth century is also reflected in this novel. This paper will analyze the phenomenon of prejudice against women from three angles. Firstly, the paper will analyze it from the unbalanced relationship of parental image, that is, the exaggeration of father’s function and the lack of mother image. Secondly, the paper will present Fielding’s sexism from the depiction of Sophia, a contradictory character. In the novel, she is perfect but unreal, and is just created for serve men. Lastly, the paper will analyze this phenomenon from the distortion of women. In this novel, women are regarded as the cause of men’s degeneration and they are just the dependency of men. Through these analyses, Fielding’s prejudice against women and his chauvinism can be fully understood.
Key Words: prejudice; chauvinism; female

 
Introduction 

The eighteenth century is a classic patriarchal society. In this century, women’s social position is very low and they are discriminated by the whole society. Henry Fielding is one of the most important novelists in the eighteenth century. Tom Jones is his masterpiece. The line which integrates this novel is the making sure of Tom’s identity. Along this line, Fielding’s main concern is about the foundlings’ identities and the stabilization of the society. However, under the influence of the culture of the eighteenth century, Fielding also puts women on a low position and discriminates against them.
In the eighteenth century, women are discriminated by the whole society. Hélène Cixous believes that in the patriarchal society, women are just the other. They are excluded from the center of the society. Simone de Beauvior said in The Second Sex that “female has become an object whose existence is defined and interpreted by male in the patriarchal societies” (1). They are discriminated by the whole society and are pushed to the edge of the society. This definition of women’s social identities has been accepted not only by men but also women themselves. Robert Fillmore said in the prelude of Patriarchal that people believes that men’s authority in family comes from the doctrine of god and that wife and children should obey father’s will. Thus, women are men’s dependency. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine also said that “women are really ‘imperfect men’” (2). The discrimination against women in the eighteenth century can be directly found in their words. The culture of the eighteenth century society can absolutely have certain influence on writers of that century. Fielding and his works are inevitably influenced by it. Although Fielding suggests women liberation, he still insists that “women’s inferiority is deemed at their birth rather than later inferior education” (3). They are discriminated ever since their birth. In Tom Jones, Fielding’s prejudice against women is permeated throughout the whole novel.  
    To analyze Fielding’s prejudice against women, it is very necessary to make sure the definition of sexism. Sexism refers to the discrimination which bases on sex. It is represented by the unfair treatment of one sex to another, particularly male to female. It is mainly displayed as the prejudice against woman’s appearance, behavior, emotion and social position. Certainly, the appearance of sexism has many reasons: the religious doctrine, the cultural reason, the economic and social reason, the educational reason, the division of social labor, the psychological reason and some other reasons. 
    This paper will focus on the discrimination against women in the novel and the reasons which cause the phenomenon by looking into the three parts: the description of the unbalanced relationship of parental images which exaggerates father’s function but excludes mother out of family, the depiction of Sophia as a perfect but unreal woman and the distortion of women which treats women as men’s dependency and the cause of men’s degeneration. Through the investigation, not only Fielding’s prejudice against women and his chauvinism can be easily found out, but also the discrimination against women of the whole eighteenth century and the low social place of women in that century can be understood more precisely. What’s more, the investigation on prejudice against women in Tom Jones can also give people inspiration on understanding sexism in today’s world.
  

I. The Unbalance of Parental Images
In the novel Tom Jones, there are three scenes which exhibit readers a panoramic picture of the eighteenth century, that is, Somersetshire, the itinerary and London. Somersetshire, the first scene in this novel, seemed to be a paradise. Mr. Allworthy, the owner of the paradise, is a classical patriarchal paterfamilias. His rich and authority construct a stable paradise for Tom’s growing up. However, in this paradise, women can almost not be seen. In order to strength male’s social role as social rule and principle, especially to maintain male’s social authority, Fielding largely exaggerates male’s function and excludes female out of the society which makes home a male controlled area. 
A. The Exaggeration of Father’s Function
Jacques Lacan believes that a baby only when he gets out of women’s imagined world and gets into men’s world which is represented by language can he become a normal social being. In the patriarchal culture, only man can provide child language, law and other cultures which belong to man. Tom and Sophia are the most important characters in this novel. Both of them only have men, or fathers, as their models. They are both brought up by their fathers without mothers’ existence.
   When looking into the novel, it is obviously that Mr. Allworthy is the only paterfamilias in Tom’s growing environment. Looking into Tom’s life experience, Mr. Allworthy’s influence can be easily observed. Mr. Allworthy is a rich man and a man of authority. He is also of valuable virtue. He is warm-hearted and benevolent. He is kind, honest, generous and compassionate, etc. When these likable characters appear with good parentage, power and great ability, they seemed to help people who own them up to the position almost beyond human nature and make people divine in some degree. It is because his divine virtue which affects Tom that helps builds a good Tom. In his paradise, Tom is well nurtured. All these can be seen in Tom’s behaviors, no matter in or out of the paradise. When in the paradise, Tom’s helping Black George shows his kind and loyalty which is praised by Mr. Allworthy. Mr. Allworthy’s nurture and toleration helps build Tom up. What’s more, all his edification has endure impact in Tom’s life when out of the paradise. On his journey, he helps many people: young Nightingale and Miss Miler, Mrs. Waters, etc. All these behaviors can reflect Mr. Allworthy’s influence. Mr. Allworthy as the only paterfamilias can clearly refract the total affirmation of male’s place and authority in family and society. This also shows that women’s low position in the society and Fielding’s prejudice against women. 
    What’s more, when coming to Sophia’s life, it can also be found that father is the most important character in her life. She lives with her father, Mr. Western, and influenced by her father. As a woman, she is beautiful and gentle. She has all the virtues of woman. Although these are not directly learned from her father, she is nurtured by her father to be a lady. Her father provides her the environment for growing up. The definition of woman made by the society is also used by her father, thus build Sophia a perfect daughter and lady. It can be said that all these are shaped under her father’s influence. What’s more, many critics said the most important point in her characteristics is brave. It can be acknowledged that this point is partly coming from her father’s spoil and influence. Here Mr. Western’s role in family is like Mr. Allworthy and it also represents the discrimination against women.   
    It is widely known that Fielding is good at the control of plot setting and structuring. The exaggeration of father’s function in Tom Jones is purposely arranged by Fielding. By exaggerating father’s function, his chauvinism can be implied in the novel.
B. The Lack of Mother Image
The exaggeration of father’s function also means the denial of mother’s role in family. In Tom Jones, mothers are excluded out of family. There is no mother image in this novel. Both Tom and Sophia have only father, no mother exists in their lives.
As to Tom, there are three women who are likely to take up the family and the social responsibility as his mother, but they collectively disappear because they cannot open the identity, or dead, or being deported. In the paradise, Tom’s real mother was always with him, but she didn’t acknowledge her motherhood to Tom and tried her best to conceal the fact. She cared about Tom in the name of Mr. Allworthy. Thus, her care for Tom was misread as woman favors handsome man, not mother love. Actually, the fact that she is Tom's real mother is just the evidence of Tom’s relation to Mr. Allworthy and the base for Tom’s succeeding to Mr. Allworthy’s possession. The second woman who can be Tom’s mother is Mr. Allworthy’s wife. However, she has dead for five years before Tom was adopted. Jenny Jones, the woman who was regarded as Tom’s mother by all people, was soon excluded from Tom’s life after Tom’s born. Thus, they all disappeared from the paradise and Tom’s life. It directly shows the prejudice against women of Fielding and the society of the eighteenth century.
 

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