The Woman in White

by Wilkie Collins
Start Free Trial

Female Rebellion in The Woman in White I feel there are numerous examples of how Marian displays episodes of female rebellion in The Woman in White, but how does Laura exhibit this behaviour?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Female Rebellion in The Woman in White

I feel there are numerous examples of how Marian displays episodes of female rebellion in The Woman in White, but how does Laura exhibit this behaviour?

  Laura has to be pushed to rebell.  She is pushed past endurance by the lies and cruelty of her husband, Sir Percival, when he requests that she sign a paper that would reliquish all her rights to her own fortune.  Percival wants to make her sign it without reading it; and, finally, this is the thing which makes Laura say "no."  Saying no, in this case, put Sir Percival and Count Fosco into such a financial bind that they had to start taking desperate measures to obtain Laura's money.  This act of rebellion on Laura's part was the action which precipitated the complicated (and daring) plan which resulted in Anne Catherick's death and Laura's incarceration under her name.

After this act, which left her drugged, kidnapped, and falsley imprisoned in a lunatic asylum, Laura becomes less rebellious.  When she is finally rescued and brought back to Limmeridge house she refuses (or doesn't have the capacity) to force her uncle to recognize her.  As she slowly regains her mind and her self-control, however, she quietly supports Hartright's and Marian's efforts to bring down Sir Percival.  Though Laura's acts of rebellion were limited (she was not rebellious by nature), her one significant act was an action on which the entire plot turned. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team