"Use" and "Value" of the Ideal Domestic Woman: Jane Austen`s Persuasion

저작시기 2003.01 |등록일 2009.01.21 파일확장자어도비 PDF (pdf) | 28페이지 | 가격 6,300원
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저자명 : ( Jin A Kim )

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For a long time, many critics have argued that Jane Austen`s Persuaion reveals the central theme of the value crisis which resulted from her loss of faith in the moral values of the gentry class. They find that Austen`s portrayal of the vain and hollow Sir Walter as well as his mismanagement of Kellynch Hall evinces her disappointment in this class, which she had firmly upheld in her earlier works. My argument in this paper, however, is that Austen had not shown any staunch faith in the old gentry class even in her earlier works, since all her novels portray some faulty members of this class: the ruthless General Tilney in Northanger Abbey, the sacastic and missmanaging Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and the weak Mr. Woodhouse in Emma. Thus I argue that Austen`s concept of moral values lies in the individual merit of a person rather than in a specific class position. For example, in Persuasion, Austen renders the noble Darlymples as worthless characters, while she considers Nurse Rook a supenor character. Especially, she creates a faded old maid, Anne Elliot, who is `nobody` even to her family, as a most supenor character as well as a moral center of the novel because of her inner merit and value. I also suggest that Anne`s `value` that mostly stems from her `useful` activities as a caring and nurturing domestic woman constitutes use value that can not be subsumed under the category of exchange, commodity value. Thus this paper concludes that Austen in this novel attempts to valorize the qualitative and concrete "use value" of the household activities performed by the ideal domestic women as opposed to the quantitative and abstract "exchange value" of a commodity.

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