Undermining Feminism Essay

677 words - 3 pages

King’s Mary Russell series aimed to update the Sherlock Holmes cannon to the modern feminist era. However, King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice undermines its own feminist views through Mary’s approval seeking behavior, society’s restriction of women’s access to professional roles, and Mary’s tendency to react emotionally.
The least damaging way King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice undermines its feminist stance is through Mary’s approval seeking behavior. Mary asks Holmes if her presence is an embarrassment to him (111). The Beekeeper’s Apprentice creates this insecurity in an effort to establish a gender hierarchy. Mary craves approval from Holmes, which deteriorates the strength of the ...view middle of the document...

The novel manipulates Holmes’ behavior to underscore society’s rejection of feminine attributes in a professional setting. However, Mary does not denounce her femininity completely. She describes bathing as “sheer sybaritic pleasure.” (136) The novel’s description of the bath as “sybaritic pleasure” serves to emphasize the fact that Mary clearly enjoys some aspects of femininity. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice abates its feminist views through society’s expectation of Mary to use male disguises in order to achieve a role as a respected detective.
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice uses Mary’s tendency to react emotionally as the most damaging assertion of its feminist perspective. Towards the beginning of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Mary has a nightmare and wakes “to find [herself] huddled on the floor with [her] arms over [her] head, a shriek of complete hopelessness and terror echoing off the walls.” (271) The Beekeeper’s Apprentice portrays Mary’s emotional vulnerability through the words “shriek”, “hopelessness”, and “terror”. Mary also talks about “[her] guilt, the secret that had gnawed at [her] day and night for four...

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