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Suspect Behaviour: A Gender Perspective on Male and Female Characters in Two Detective Novels by Agatha Christie
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay is a gender analysis of some of the characters created by Agatha Christie. The aim is to investigate the occurrence of gender stereotypes and if traditional gender norms are challenged by men and/or women characters in Evil Under the Sun and The Body in the Library. Initially, there is an introduction to gender theories which includes the theorists Thomas Laqueur and Simone de Beauvoir among others. Laqueur presents the evolution of gender theories, specifically the two-sex model in which it was believed that sex is pervasive and thus the body rules the mind. Theories presented by him are vastly different from those of de Beauvoir who argues that the mind and body are separate. Other theorists which specifically deal with crime fiction and gender include Susan Rowland, who writes about the reformation of the detective and how the crime genre is gendered, and Gill Plain, who has been able to categorised Christie’s characters into three distinctive groups in which gender roles are clearly distinguishable.

The conclusion reached is that male and female characters are portrayed both as adhering to gender roles, contemporary to the time at which the books were written, and as breaking them. However the outcomes and reactions differ depending on the character in question. Marple and Poirot appear to be well aware of the stereotypical way they are viewed and use it to appear less intimidating in order to hide their true nature as two sharp intellects. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 37 p.
Keyword [en]
Agatha Christie, Gender Stereotypes
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-27225OAI: diva2:633764
Subject / course
Educational program
Lärarprogrammet, inriktning mot verksamhet i grundskolans senare år och gymnasiet
Available from: 2013-06-28 Created: 2013-06-27 Last updated: 2013-06-28Bibliographically approved

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