Themes

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 270

Marianne by Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, who published under the pseudonym George Sand, has various themes that address issues such as female independence—especially during the time of its publication in 1876—and the nature of beauty. The most prominent theme is Sand's manifesto for female independence in a male-dominant society.

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The titular character—who is similar to the young George Sands—is an independent woman at a time when women were expected to abide by social norms that limited their economic, social, and political opportunities. Marianne is seen as odd in behavior due to her introverted and solitary nature.

She spends much of her time in her family's country estate. Marianne is in love with the equally introverted and talented Pierre, who is technically her godfather. However, when Gaucher arrives to the estate with plans of possibly marrying Marianne, the theme of patriarchal society disrupts Marianne's freedom to love whomever she wants.

While there isn't a tradition of strict arranged marriage in the 1800s in Europe, families would entertain suitors for their daughters, especially if the suitor was successful. There was a social pressure for the daughter to marry who her parents desired.

The other theme in the narrative is the idea of beauty. Gaucher is a painter and arrogantly believes he knows beauty of the natural surroundings better than those who live there. However, Marianne tells him that beauty does not need to be labeled as such; beauty exists on its own as a natural phenomena. She also tells him that everything in nature is beautiful, even caterpillars, when Gaucher describes her opinions as a caterpillar on a rose.

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