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The New Woman Essay

1182 words - 5 pages

What is a New Woman and what did it mean during the Victorian period for a woman to consider herself as one? The New Woman during the Victorian age is described in “Manliness and masculinities” as being asserted and rejecting protection from man and refusing to live her life according to patriarchal rules. (Tosh 118) Sue appears to fit in with the description of the new women; she in actuality does not have all the qualities of one. She has education, and works for her own living but depended on Phillotson and Jude instead of being independent and solving her problems by herself she runs to either men looking for comfort.
When she attempts to be express herself as independent and in ...view middle of the document...

She as well does not like the fact that woman are treated like “domesticated animals”. (Hardy 166) In these passages Sue seems to be represented as the new woman identity but in reality she is simply demonstrating the need she had for wanting to have the same rights as man but does not demonstrate her need for independence, because she talks about marriage when the new woman would be independent and did not desire or see a need for marriage. (Tosh 117)
Jude also mentions her lack of consciousness of genders, “She seemed to get further and further away from him with her strange ways and curious unconsciousness of gender.” (Hardy 145) Throughout the time that Sue is with Jude she is able to be show her different way of thinking. She leaves Phillotson without thinking about what the public would think of her. When she is with Jude she decides to go with him because of the fact that she sees it as being the fair thing to do. Fairness according to Pinker is, “the willingness to be nice to others” and “as long as the favor helps the recipient more than it cost the giver.” (Pinker 330) When she is with Jude she somewhat fits the description of a new woman; because she does not follow the moral rules set by society, but even though she does not follow the rules of authority she still cares about what people will say which leads her to continue to lie and pretend as if she and Jude are married.
Further along the novel Sue distances herself from her need to be a new type of woman. This happens when she loses her kids, losing her kids triggers a moral code within her and forces her to act upon her impulses. Sue goes back to Phillotson because of the authority moral code. This moral code “is related to the pecking orders of dominance.” (Pinker, Steven) When she leaves Jude for her ex-husband she ignores the fact that she is hurting Jude, she has now decided to repair her wrong doings without thinking of the harm she is causing to others. She only thinks about saving her selves and making her life right with what people see as correct. If she was a new woman in all senses of its meaning she would have not followed the rules set by society and would have continued to live with Jude.
At many times she attempts to be the type of woman that many men...

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