The French Lieutenant's Woman Themes

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Each character in the novel is constrained in some way by Victorian society. Tina has never been encouraged to explore her sexuality and so she is afraid of any intimacy with Charles. As a result, Charles gravitates to Sarah, who exhibits a more sensual nature.

Charles is caught up by his comfortable position as an English gentleman, which affords him the opportunity to leisurely dabble in his scientific pursuits and to be in control of his romantic relationships. Yet, he risks banishment from his class if he loses his wealth or behaves in a socially unacceptable way. He sees evidence of the former in Tina's response when his inheritance is threatened and experiences the latter as a result of his relationship with Sarah. His social ostracism begins when he breaks his engagement to Tina, and is cemented when he aligns himself with the bohemian Sarah.

Sarah has...

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This section contains 506 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The French Lieutenant's Woman Study Guide
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The French Lieutenant's Woman from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.