Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in English


Deborah A. Robinson,Ph. D.


Critics of the renowned Victorian novels, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, consistently posit that each author is particularly accurate at capturingthe complexityof the femalemind and their uniquepsychologicalexperiencesas women in the respective French and British cultures. Both title characters, Emma and Tess respectively, are victimized in some way by the impossibly set gender expectations of their societies,ultimately dying tragically as an indirect result of disobeying those feminine standards. While not in disagreement,this thesis will propose the male characters,specifically Hardy’s Angel Clare and Flaubert's Charles Bovary, also suffer tragically in a subtler way, finding themselves crushed by the masculine requirements set forth by their cultures. Though not to weigh one victimhood againstthe other, both lgth Centurynovelists createddistinctly complex male charactersin order to articulate the specific problem that the unreachableand unrealistic Victorian genderroles strip both men and women of their power to be individuals,and effectively dehumanizethem.