The Odd Women was written by George Gissing, his complete name being George Robert Gissing.First of all, it is important to highlight the fact Gissing’s book “surveys the emancipation process through the experience of four women in their encounters with the shifting customs of the time” (Korg 1965: 188). Those “four women” (ibid) that are mentioned above are represented by the Madden sisters: Virginia, Alice and Monica, and the independent woman, Rhoda Nunn, who are struggling to cope with the rules of the society in which they live.On the one hand, The Odd Women by George Gissing includes the majority of the feminist theories and the fact that this book can be analyzed from a feminist approach makes it more interesting and easier to understand. Although, at first sight, this book seems to be all about women, it is not, because there is also presented the idea of woman in men’s view. So, we could say that it is a book about both women and men, about their opinions, desires and about the way in which they (both of them) see women in society. Moreover, the action takes place in the Victorian period, in the late 19th century, thing that makes us entitled to say that in those day there was a clear difference between men, women and their perspectives on life. For instance, the main points in this book are the conditions of unmarried women in the late 19th century, the lack of career options for women, the meaning of marriage inside society, the struggle of the women in order to overcome the economic problems encountered and the consequences of an unhealthy relationship inside marriage. However, in all these situations or processes, both women and men are involved. It is true that a great part of them reflects on women, but it doesn’t mean that Feminism refers just to women. It also points out that despite the fact the name itself seems to be closed to female, it is meant to provide the sense of detachment. A good example of detachment of those ideas full of injustice, discrimination is represented by Rhoda Nunn, an independent and determined women who succeeds in staying firm to her principles without paying attention to the ideas of the time, but just to her own desires and way of perception. She doesn’t want to make herself a victim and she tries to build her own destiny. Also, stereotypes of women such as “the fallen women” (Peterson 1972: 63), “the angel in the house” (ibid) and “the spinster” (ibid) could represent a characteristic of the feminist approach, because through them, there are depicted some faces of women. On the other hand, the novel can be perceived from a New Criticism approach in which symbols and themes represent an important role in the characters’ life. Marriage has a great importance in the society, especially for women, because they were considered nothing without a man along them. As far as marriage is considered there are some different elements that have to be taken into account like: the difference between women and men referring to society, the problem of working-class women in that period and the social roles of women.As respects to the divorce in the Victorian society, even if women were not allowed to ask for divorce, if they succeeded in doing it somehow, men were still the ones with full rights even on the children. Unfortunately, men had the absolute power in that period and women were forced to sustain it or to cope with it. The following quote supports the previous ideas and makes them more understandable: “He has some impressive legal and historical evidence. Although a husband might divorce his wife, a wife could not escape her husband (…) Under the law, as Mill points out, the father own the children entirely. Should his wife leave him, she is entitled to take nothing with her, and her husband may, if he wishes to exercise his legal rights compel her to return. Divorce (…) would seem the least concession in a system where ‘a woman is denied any lot in life but that of being the personal body- servant of a despot'” (Millet 1972: 131). So, briefly reading what was mentioned in the previous paragraphs, it is necessary to point out the fact that the work itself is the one that really matters as far as this novel is concerned. From this point of view, we could highlight that we talk about a New Criticism perspective, because the author or any other aspect aren’t important, but the text, what is depicted there and the way in which we perceive what happens. Even if there is a bond between the text and the impact it has on us, they are not confused. Feminism in the late 19th century and the way in which the women succeed in coping with the encountered issues represent the main subject of discussion as far as The Odd Women is concerned. Also, if we try to analyze the text, it’s enough to have a close reading in order to understand the meaning of the whole text, because there is nothing outside it that could distract us. By analyzing the context in which the action takes place, the symbols, the characters, we can easily understand what is in the text about, without needing too much knowledge or studies in the field. For example, when we read the description of Rhoda Nunn, it becomes easy to assert that she is superior from many points of view to Madden sisters: “Miss Nunn entered. Younger only by a year or two than Virginia, she was yet far from presenting any sorrowful image of a person on the way to old maidenhood. (…) Self-confidence, intellectual keenness, a bright humor, frank courage, were traits legible enough; and when the lips parted to show their warmth, their fullness, when the eyelids drooped a little in meditation, one became aware of a suggestiveness directed not solely to the intellect, of something like an unfamiliar or sexual type, remote indeed from the voluptuous, but hinting a possibility of subtle feminine forces that might be released by circumstance” (Gissing 2000: 20)Later, in the text, we receive the confirmation of our deduction, but it is interesting that we are able, from the beginning, to realize the difference between them without reading too much or having some additional knowledge. The last, but not the least approach we could apply to this text is represented by the psychoanalytic one, especially as far as the concept of “transference” (Freud). There is depicted a situation in which one of the sisters, Virginia, associates herself with the figure of her father, being sure that she has to accomplish what her father let undone. The situation presents her discussing about the inheritance for Monica, her youngest sister and about the fact that she has to keep it safe until Monica is 18 years old, because she is sure that her father would have done the same. So, we see that she tries to act like him, to find some peace doing something good, to create her own therapy.Also, we could highlight one of the concepts of Jacques Lacan, respectively “demand” (Lacan). Monica, the youngest sister, is looking for love, for a pure and kind man who could satisfy her senses, but unfortunately she is not satisfied by the man she marries and continues to live just with the desire of being loved and appreciated by someone. In conclusion, as far as I am concerned, Gissing’s book represents a mixture between feminist aspects, concepts used by the new critics and some psychoanalytic concepts which help us to achieve a better understanding of the text, making it easy to analyze. In the same time, if we base on every theory presented in the text, every concept on the edge, we will become able to form our own opinion.


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