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Viktorya dönemi edebiyatında 'Yeni Kadın' a panoramik bir bakış

Neslihan Günaydin Albay

Abstract: The great social and cultural changes in the Victorian period had a great impact on gender roles. In both public and private sphere, the divisions in gender roles started to disappear with the emergence of a type of woman willing to be active in every area of life. Along with more frequent appearance and growing numbers of women in the work force through the late nineteenth century Elaine Showalter’s notion of “sexual anarchy” and its different forms were invigorated. How the social status of women started to change along with industrialization by the end of the nineteenth-century was also reflected upon Victorian literature. For instance, in Mrs Warren’s Profession the protagonist Vivie represents the new woman type who is ambitious to get education and to participate in work life as a self-sufficient woman in Victorian drama. When compared with the traditional woman type, she is more free-minded, independent and career-oriented. In D. H. Lawrence’ The Rainbow, Ursula, is another significant prototype for the ‘new woman’, who struggles for more freedom and independence. She is well-educated and it is very difficult for her to come to terms with her pregnancy as she cannot accept the fact that one part of hers belongs to a man. She is unconventional and rebellious. She counters domesticity. In The Story of An African Farm by Olive Schreiner the protagonist Lyndall’s life story on an ostrich farm depicts the limited choices and living conditions of a woman constrained by the rigid conventions of Boer lifestyle. Her main goal in life is to pursue after her own choices. In The Type-Writer Girl by Grant Allen, Juliet Appleton stands out with some infamous characteristics of her identity as a New Woman, such as smoking cigarettes, attending college, travelling on her bicycle, and wearing rational clothing. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that working women had an unstable position at the end of the nineteenth century, based on all these trappings of the New Woman, and the intersection of gender with the discourses of class, evolution and technology through a feminist perspective. Social pressure and prejudices restrict the opportunities of the new woman to go beyond her capacity and reach real freedom and happiness. Therefore, the society mostly puts barriers in front of her ideals and her dreams. Through a feminist lens, this study reveals the fact that the new woman expects to live in a more democratic society where she is honoured with equal rights and opportunities with men. She rejects being completely dependent upon men finally, instead she adopts the idea of self-help to gain the respect she deserves as a self-sufficient woman.
Keywords: new woman / working women / sufficient woman / freedom / evolution / social / gender / life story

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