The French Lieutenant's Woman Essay

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Perkins is a professor of American and English literature and film. In this essay, Perkins examines the dual endings and the role of the reader in the novel.

Several scholars, including Barry Olshen and Elizabeth Rankin, have commented on the problem of the dual endings in John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman. Even though the novel's narrator insists that each ending can be perceived as a plausible conclusion to the story, critics have argued that thematic and stylistic textual elements undercut the first ending and support the second. A close examination of the text will prove, however, that such clear determinacy is not possible; the novel's textual elements, in fact, suggest the plausibility of both endings: the possibility of both the union and separation of Charles and Sarah. As Wayne Booth has noted in A Rhetoric of Irony, readers will attempt to find meaning in a work that...

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This section contains 1,909 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The French Lieutenant's Woman Study Guide
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