Date of this Version
UCARE Poster session, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Fair, April 2016, Lincoln, NE.
The Mill on the Floss shows the struggle of Maggie, a woman who values education over beauty, in a judgmental society. Maggie is shamed by her society after her cousin’s fiancé, Stephen, tricks her into running away with him. Maggie is forced to live in shame and only escapes public oppression when she dies.
Romola is the story of how a young woman who is forced rely on men for a sense of purpose and safety. Her husband is conniving and has extramarital affairs. Romola finds a happy ending when she is free from patriarchal influence and relies solely on servitude and female companionship for fulfillment.
In Daniel Deronda, the main female character Gwendolen Harleth marries a man who she knows is abusive in his relationships because her all-female family needs money. She believes she will have power in her marriage, but she is emotionally abused and forced into submission. She finds true freedom only when her husband dies.
In Middlemarch, Dorothea Brooke wants to improve her community. But to have power, she must marry. She marries a man whom she believes she will learn from, but she is forced to abandon her own aspirations for the sake of her husband. Even after his death, the impact of his abuse continues to emotionally control her. She ultimately abandons her dreams and finds a happy ending only when she marries again.