Comparison of "Persuasion" and "The Magic Toyshop" Essay

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Both The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter and Persuasion by Jane Austen are constructed as love stories, although not conventional love stories. Austen's novel is part of the cultural movement of Romanticism as, although in earlier novels she satires Romanticism, Persuasion does bear some of the hallmarks of the Romantic period. Carter's novel however, can be seen as an ironic look at the Romantic novel. Therefore both novels provide an interesting viewpoint on their male characters, due not only to their style of writing but also to the novelists' gender and their obvious ideologies.

Jane Austen was an early standpoint feminist1 and so it is perhaps surprising to find her writing in the Romantic genre as it was "historically a male
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In both novels the most damning criticisms are levelled at the `father' figure, the archetypal patriarchal male. In Persuasion this is Sir Walter Elliot, Anne's father. He is the first character to whom the reader is introduced, and from the beginning his amorality, irresponsibility, vanity and selfish greed are obvious. One other thing which is made clear is that his daughters were "an awful legacy for a mother to bequeath"5 and that he "has no sense of responsibility for his children"6. Although Sir Walter Elliot holds his daughters, with the exception of Elizabeth, as being of "very inferior value"7, he is still a dominating force in their lives, especially for Anne, as she has not married and so still lives with and under his. When a decision is made on moving house, Anne's feelings and opinions on the matter are completely disregarded, and on agreeing to the decision it is once again that his complete ambivalence towards her is shown (through Elizabeth who is "very like...(him)"8) and it is decided that Anne will stay with Mary as "nobody will want her in Bath"9. In this respect we can draw comparisons with Uncle Philip from The Magic Toyshop who does not care about Melanie, has "never... directly addressed (her)..."10 and

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