How are women represented throughout Eugenie Grandet?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The main female character in this novel is of course the eponymous heroine. Yet what is so interesting about the character of Eugenie is the way that she is so influenced by the principal male character in her life--her father. The novel shows that she is formed largely through the influence of her father and the way that he has trained her. This is evident through her own habit of being able to increase her fortune. She is charitable overtly, but copies the same kind of sparing and sparse lifestyle that characterised her father. It is very clear that she bears the stamp of being her father's daughter in her character.

One of the themes in this novel, as suggested through the presentation of the character of Eugenie, is the way in which your character is a matter that is largely decided for you through genetics and our environment. The combined forces of nature and nurture are what determines who you are and your traits and characteristics. Women are therefore presented as living in a man's world and as a result of this, they bear the stamp of the kind of world in which they have been born and formed. Women are also represented as being trapped into roles and characteristics that they don't necessarily want. This is shown by the unhappiness of Eugenie.


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