This study analyzes George Eliot’s resistance to the marriage plot in her final novel, Daniel Deronda (1876). By creating Gwendolen Harleth, Eliot attempts to create a plot surrounding a female character who disdains marriage in the pursuit of her own interests. This study adapts the hero’s journey/quest structure to examine how and why Gwendolen eventually does accept a marriage proposal and the consequences of that choice. Through an examination of the dwindling selection of options presented to Gwendolen, this paper presents a picture of the difficulties of breaking away from the marriage plot and the gendered realities of Victorian society, both within and without the novel.
Campbell Hendricks, Imogen, ""Nothing That I Don't Like:" Gwendolen Harleth's Search for Life Outside the Marriage Plot in Daniel Deronda" (2020). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 8962.
Arts and Humanities
Marriage Plot, George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, Gwendolen Harleth, Hero's Journey, Boy's Quest, Girl's Quest
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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