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Writing One’s Self Into Being: An Analysis on Self-authoring as a mean of Agency in Frances Burney’s Evelina – or a Young Lady’s Entrance Into the World
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay aims to explore Evelina’s abilities to self-author her life as a tool of agency, self-authoring means to be able to write your own life. Evelina was written by Frances Burney in 1778 and tells the story of a young orphan lady who visits London. She is inexperienced and makes mistakes that can be seen as fatal in the social sphere. Despite that she reflects on her mistakes and reactions and gains agency in the end. One of her bigger problems is her beauty. It puts her in situations she almost cannot control.  She becomes a sexual prey quite easily. Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847 is relevant for this essay because a lot of criticism has been made about the threats and abilities that Jane’s agency has. The theoretical framework for this essay is based on the works by eight different critics: Diana Meyers, Judith Butler, Jane Spencer, Ellen Moers, Virginia Woolf, Gayatri Spivak, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar. The framework explains what agency and gendered act is, it also explains the historical context behind Burney and Bronte. Lastly it discusses how the other half of the two heroines has to disappear in order for them to achieve agency. The conclusion for this essay is that Evelina attains agency though her reactions and behavior, even if she looks at herself trough the eyes of another, or in other words attains a God-like perspective, she manages to self-author her life and herself in to being.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 21 p.
Keyword [en]
Agency, self-authoring, gendered act, sexuality, two Evelinas, importance of a name, Evelina.
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-24365OAI: diva2:738347
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2014-08-18 Created: 2014-08-18 Last updated: 2014-08-18Bibliographically approved

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