Breaking the Social Norms in Robert Stevenson's and Plath' Work
Narratives are constructed to explore key issues within society, where composes often affirm or challenge cultural norms through their narrative structures. Through “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” Stevenson utilises a mixed genre to explore the imminent and unintended consequences of Victorian pressures upon individuals. Similarly, Plath explores the oppressive constraints women experience in the 1950s, by exploring the universal choices that all women experience through dichotomous characterisations. Plath utilises gendered stereotypes and appropriates a popular myth to challenge the dominant gendered narratives in society.
Stevenson constructs a cautionary tale to explore the danger of scientific progression particularity when not governed ethically. Stevenson blends gothic horror with science fiction to create/actualise true terror within reality. Stevenson depicts the public and private self through the moral tensions experienced by Dr Jekyll, critiquing the cultural norms through the construction of Dr Jekyll’s duality. Through Stevenson’s representation of Dr Jekyll’s false public self, he utilises Dr Jekyll’s appeal to ethos “you know me. I am a man to be trusted” to critique how upstanding Victorians used reputation to avoid detection in their misdemeanours. Additionally, as Stevenson never acknowledges what Dr Jekyll’s initial desires were, the moral tension Dr Jekyll experiences could be stereotypically Victorian desires that conflict with cultural norms or criminal like Hyde’s actions. Furthermore, Stevenson …..
Sylvia Plath constructs a narrative to explore the mistreatment of women and gender stereotypes present in the 1950s. Plath contrasts the two sisters highlighting the characteristics and roles of a women. The author establishes and allegory, discussing the meaning of existence through metaphorical allusions and mythical symbolism. Plath composes much of the text with two meanings which is left to the audience to interpret. Sylvia composes “two girls there are: within the house”, this can be interpreted literally to set the sense or rather mythically. It is assumed she is referring to Persephone and her travels to the underworld to visit Hades, as the contrast between the underworld and Earth as well as Persephone’s behaviour in each highlights her mistreatment. Furthermore, Plath uses death imagery “Goes graveward with flesh laid waste”, to show that although the two sisters live contrasting live they will still succumb to the same death. The author allures to the virgin being a “waste” as she didn’t fulfil the role a woman to reproduce. This is accentuated as she goes on to say, “yet no woman”, furthermore solidifying her distain towards the role and stereotypes for women. Plath constructed an allegory to challenge the cultural norms and roles of women in the 1950s. The author contrasts the two sisters revealing the stereotypes they are expected to conform to. Therefore, enduring narratives play a fundamental role in addressing key issue within society. The composes utilise narrative structure to challenge or affirm the social and cultural norms. Both Stevenson and Plath exploit numerous genres explore the consequence of Victorian pressure and the expectations of women.
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