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Transgression and Tradition: Redefining Gender Roles in Elizabeth Gaskell´s North and South
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Överträdelser och tradition : Omdefiniering av genus i Elizabeth Gaskells North and South (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This essay argues that Elizabeth Gaskell challenges the limiting gender roles of the Victorian era through giving her heroine, Margaret Hale in North and South, both the traditionally female qualities of virtue and selflessness and the traditionally masculine qualities of independence and action. The essay also argues that Gaskell’s heroine balances between the feminine and the masculine world as to not appear “unwomanly”, but rather subtly influencing the readers and calls for changing gender norms. Concrete examples of the heroine’s gender transgressions are put forward, but also her compliance to the traditional gender roles summed up in three roles or themes: the angel in the house, the female visitor and the refined lady.

This essay also provides a didactic approach on working with North and South and the topic of Victorian gender norms in the upper secondary school. The relevance of and reasons for reading literature in school are also presented. The didactic chapter offers a concrete lesson plan on how to work with the theme of Victorian gender norms, which may develop students’ emphatic skills and also make them aware of ties between themselves and people that lived a long time ago.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 29 p.
Keyword [en]
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell, Victorian women, gender norms, transgression, gender spheres
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119026ISRN: LIU-LÄR-EN-A--14/007--SEOAI: diva2:818246
Subject / course
Educational program
Teacher Education
2015-01-19, Karin's corner, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-06-11 Created: 2015-06-08 Last updated: 2015-06-11Bibliographically approved

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Algotsson, Anna
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Department of Culture and CommunicationFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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