Obscure Objects of Desire: The Early Novels
The heroines of Hardy’s early novels are presented primarily as objects of erotic interest not only for the narrators and for the male characters through whom they are observed but also for the implied reader/voyeur. They are described in visual, even pictorial terms as seen through the tinted spectacles of their lovers’ fantasies. As characters they tend to be shallow, enigmatic and inconsistent. What they think or feel seems not to matter; the focus of attention is on the feelings they arouse in a variety of men, the misapprehensions they provoke, whether deliberately or not, and the virtual impossibility of establishing anything approaching reciprocity of relationship. Too many illusions, too many false pictures, have been created in the eyes of the male voyeurs for there to be much awareness of these women as subjects.
KeywordsBurning Phen Heroine Hyde Metaphor
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