A Spinster's Tale Essay

Peter Taylor
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Taylor's "A Spinster's Tale" deals with female fear of the male, and immediately we see the problem of subject matter; what is appropriate for Clarissa or for Victorian novels seems totally quaint today. A topic far more current, in fact, is male fear of the female, although "the new chastity," which women's lib has been accused of promoting, might represent a topic even newer in fashion. It is true, nevertheless, that such sexually fearful Victorian heroines as Gwendolen Harleth, Isabel Archer, and Sue Bridehead are simply not appropriate for reincarnation by a contemporary writer.

So how do we react to a fairly recent story (1940) that focuses on old-fashioned female trembling before the male? The tale, briefly, is of a motherless girl's obsession with what she considers a brutal masculine world. Although she lives with her father and brother, the exemplification of masculinity to her is a drunken...

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This section contains 588 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Spinster's Tale Study Guide
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A Spinster's Tale from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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