The novel, The Odd Women by George Gissing is a refreshing novel of upcoming feminist movement involving the workplace. The novel has two prevalent themes presented in the beginning chapters concerning financial means and the idea of marriage. The novel starts off with Mr. Madden discussing the desire of financial security for his six daughters and the unfortunate event of their mother's death. Through various deaths in the beginning chapters, the themes of money pave the way into the storyline.
In the beginning of the novel, the father makes it clear that he does not want his daughters worrying about money or ever having to work to make a living. He abhors the idea of any of his daughters distressing over such a trivial subject. Mr. Madden shows a philosophical nature towards the life his daughters may lead. He reads to them Tennyson at night and tries to educate his daughters with books to pave the way to teaching positions if all else fails. An ironic notion approaches when Mr. Madden states his good health and his future plans on saving money for his family when he is thrown off his horse.
Not shortly after, three of the six other sisters die, one from an unfortunate drowning, consumption and another from a suicide thinking of no other way out in life. It was quite shocking to reread the deaths (I've read this novel before) and see lives end in a tragic and abrupt manner leaving three sisters to fend for themselves on such a lowly salary and no current positions.
[...] The men in the novel other than Mr. Madden seem to be more on the vulnerable side as well as the women. The clerk that stalks Monica seems to be in awe of her beauty and desperate for any amount of attention. Mr. Widdowson, another possible suitor for Monica, seems to have issues of control and possessive traits as well as anger. From the beginning of meeting Monica, there is a sense of growing obsession and the need for her to accept his various proposals of meetings. [...]
[...] She is described as being an odd woman. Odd women during the nineteenth century were considered women who are past the marrying age and considered to be spinsters. There is no real place of assurance in society. Her sister Virginia, younger and a bit more agreeable is held in the same situation as Alice. Both sisters decide to live through their youngest sibling, Monica, the beauty of the three and hope for her to marry someday and live a better life. [...]
[...] The novel starts off with Mr. Madden discussing the desire of financial security for his six daughters and the unfortunate event of their mother's death. Through various deaths in the beginning chapters, the themes of money pave the way into the storyline. In the beginning of the novel, the father makes it clear that he does not want his daughters worrying about money or ever having to work to make a living. He abhors the idea of any of his daughters distressing over such a trivial subject. [...]
[...] All in all, there seems to be foreshadowing events of more despair to befall the sisters between Alice's ailing health, Virginia's downfall for alcohol and Monica's entrance in an unhealthy and unhappy marriage. In conclusion, the novel, in itself is a great read of new possibilities for women as well as the recurrent struggles of finding an appropriate companion, dealing with spinsterhood and moving upward in the technological world of independent women. Works Cited Gissing, George, and Patricia Ingham. The Odd Women. Oxford: Oxford UP Print. [...]
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