Political and personal catastrophes characterized the life of George Sand. She lived in an era where women were treated as second class citizens, she witnessed bloodshed in the streets over political differences, and she also lost many loved ones before their time. During her life, her literary skill also came under scrutiny as many of her contemporaries disliked her writing and chastised Sand for her support of many controversial issues. Despite many drawbacks, she never lost her love of humanity and never gave up hope of gender equality. Many of her beliefs and lost fantasies are present in her last piece of writing. George Sand completed Marianne when she was in her twilight and it serves as a reflection of Sand herself as well as a story of what could have been.
The young woman in Marianne shares many similarities with Sand herself. Through her political experiences, Sand began to champion the cause of the proletariat worker who was forced to live under the laws and restrictions of the overbearing nobility. Similarly, the young woman in Marianne is the head of the household, but still “lives on completely equal terms with the farm-workers and that she takes her meals with them.” (Sand 149). While Sand probably sees herself as no better than any other person, she also desires to be educated. She believes that to become both equal at home and in the political arena, women must seek to educate themselves (French 57). Marianne also longs to be educated, not so much for political ambitions or equality, but for her own good. “I should like to be educated not so much for others’ pleasure as for my own” (Sand 117). While Sand suggests that education is a way out for many women, she also views it as a necessity for even those without ambitions beyond what they currently enjoy.
Marianne mirrors Sand’s philosophy in that education does not always improve oneself. In her view, if people use education for their own good and only to exalt themselves above others, then they are no better than those they wish to exploit. Sand says, “Like everything else that can be abused by people, education will be both the poison and the antidote” (French 71). Marianne chastises Philippe for believing that his education and occupation make him more knowledgeable of all things than simple country farmers. “You seem to think you know more about everything than we do, town and country life alike. And all because you’re a painter!” (Sand 159). Upbringing and social standing are in no way impressive to Sand as she prefers to judge people based on their individual qualities rather than roles handed down by society. “There is probably not a single title that does not originate in some human bloodshed or other” (French 69). Despite their many similarities, Sand wishes her life had gone more like Marianne’s.
From the beginning of her life Sand dealt with death and abandonment. Her father died when she was young and not long after that her mother also left to care for her...