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Comparing The French Lieutenant's Woman And Jewel In The Crown

1021 words - 4 pages

Similarities between French Lieutenant's Woman and Jewel in the Crown

    John Fowles's French Lieutenant's Woman and Paul Scott's Jewel in the Crown are two literary works that illustrate continuity in British literature over time.  While French Lieutenant's Woman [is set in]...the Victorian era and Jewel in the Crown [depicts events in]... the twentieth century . . ., the two exhibit similar thematic content.  Both works emphasize the importance of social stature, both portray society's view of what's acceptable in the intimate relationships of women, and both are stories in which two lovers are together regardless of whether or not society approves.


The portrayal of social statures in French Lieutenant's Woman is rather simple.  Other than Sarah Woodruff, the characters are of the wealthy upper class.  Sarah is described as a "poor but educated woman who has lost her reputation."  Other characters include Charles Smithson, a wealthy gentleman who becomes Sarah's lover; Ernistina Freeman, Charles' fiance and daughter of a wealthy businessman; Mr. Freeman, Ernestina's father, a successful businessman who aspires to the upper class by marrying his daughter into [a higher class]...; and Ms. Poultney, a wealthy widow who takes in Sarah Woodruff to belittle and humiliate.


Social statures portrayed in Jewel in the Crown are more complicated; race also plays into the social status of its characters.  The main character of the story is Daphne Manners, who starts off as upper class but is later demoted to "that Manners girl" due to an inter-racial relationship with Hari Kumar.  Hari is born in India, but grew up well to do in England.  Upon his return to India he has lost his social status.  he aspires to the English as that's what's familiar to him, but in India the English see him as one of the Indians who are socially segregated from the English.  Lily Chatterjee is friend of the family, whom Daphne goes to live with and refers to as Aunt Lily.  Lily is an upper class Indian, a Rajput Princess.  Even as royalty, Lily is not allowed in the social circles of the British, because of her skin color.  Sister Ludmila is another important character, a curious woman who cares for the sick and dying in her sanctuary.  She is a saint who is probably not concerned with her social status, so I won't be either.  We meet Ronald Merrick in her sanctuary.  Merrick was born to a poor, working class family in England so when he comes to India he has the opportunity to claim superiority, due to the virtue of white skin.  Merrick proposes to Daphne, but she declines his offer.  Merrick, who already has a grudge against Hari, becomes jealous because he has Daphne's attention.


French Lieutenant's Woman parallels this relationship between people from different social statures when Sarah Woodruff gets Charles Smithson's attention.  When their eyes meet [in the film] it is love at first sight; unfortunately, Charles is with his fiance...

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