Disabilities and gender in the novels of Wilkie Collins
MetadataShow full item record
Many Victorian novelists sought to promote the importance of the individual by placing their characters in situations that allowed them to go outside society's pre-established boundaries. In spite of these novelists' intentions, a closer study of their works reveals that the writers who tried to move beyond society's expectations were often inherently trapped within them. My thesis argues that Wilkie Collins's representations of characters with disabilities show that even though Collins intended for disabilities to help characters supercede society's expectations for them, the Victorian context in which he was writing prevented him from completely achieving his goals. In particular, my thesis examines the ways in which Victorian attitudes toward gender influenced Collins's portrayals of characters with disabilities. Disabilities served to empower Collins's female characters who either physically embodied Victorian ideals of beauty and purity or who were financially independent. In contrast, women who did not fulfill these expectations were hurt by disabilities, as were all of Collins's male characters. My thesis outlines the ways in which Collins's constructions of these characters indicate that he was unconsciously influenced by his Society's beliefs about gender even as he was challenging these beliefs.
DescriptionDue to the character of the original source materials and the nature of batch digitization, quality control issues may be present in this document. Please report any quality issues you encounter to email@example.com, referencing the URI of the item.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 51-52).
Agnew, Elizabeth L (1999). Disabilities and gender in the novels of Wilkie Collins. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from