Last Updated September 5, 2023.
Marianne, the title character, is not unlike the author George Sand (originally Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin). She was a fiercely independent woman ahead of her time and viewed as strange by society. Sand often wrote about love that did not follow general conventions, and Marianne, her last novel, is an example of this. While Sand married and had children, in the novel, Marianne is twenty-five and unmarried. She owns land and a horse and is in love with her family’s friend Pierre Andre, who also happens to be her godfather. She doesn’t tell him, not wanting him to feel obligated to marry her, and he is unaware that he is also in love with her until jealousy strikes. The idea of a woman choosing her husband (or lack thereof) based on personal desires and not expectations was novel, practically unheard of. Even Sand herself had married young, as a way to escape her family, and the marriage that resulted was disastrous. During the marriage, Sand lived apart from her husband, in Paris, for half the time, and took a lover. After her marriage ended, she became famous for having a string of lovers, of which she was unapologetic. She represented a woman’s ability to make decisions, to live and love without succumbing to the opinions of others, to not fit in a box defined by gender. In Marianne, Sand illustrated the possibilities the future held for women.