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Dirge of the Fallen Woman in European Literature: When Religion Turns Sour and Evil to Make the Innocent Female Soul Suppressed

Author:

Indiwaree Poornima Wickramasinghe

Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka, LK
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Abstract

This paper examines the portrayal of the fallen woman depicted in French and English literature with close reference to Denis Diderot's The Nun (La Religieuse-1760-96) and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891). Denis Diderot's The Nun is an excellent historical novel which endeavors to show the functioning of the European families during an era when the Catholic Church and Christian faith had ample power over the rhythm of life, family inheritances and marriage. It paints with great vivacity the cry of a young girl who had to enter into the cruel, inhuman world of religion against her will but with abnegation. Similarly, Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles depicts the downtrodden rights of the women in Victorian era and their distress occurred due to the society, family and the Catholic Church. Tess who is as the same age as of Suzanne in The Nun goes through a similar pain and distress and both of them break down under the weight of tough conditions in life. The church which is expected to be the cure, stands as a whammy in these young girls' lives. The aim of this paper is to analyse the way the distrust of Roman Catholicism was depicted in 18th century French novel and in its 19th century English counterpart. What more, this study focuses on the in uence of 18th century French literature over the 19th century English literature and how Denis Diderot's portrayal of Catholic Church is re ected in Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
How to Cite: Wickramasinghe, I.P., (2018). Dirge of the Fallen Woman in European Literature: When Religion Turns Sour and Evil to Make the Innocent Female Soul Suppressed. Sabaragamuwa University Journal. 16(1), pp.11–16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/suslj.v16i1.7713
Published on 10 Sep 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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