Monday, January 26, 2015

"A rogue, after all, may be as self-possessed as a hero and be nonetheless a rogue"


The female hero or heroine is unable to be a classical "hero" of the novel, like their male predecessors. For them, to be a true hero instead of a heroine, they must be classified as a rogue. Their sheer femaleness denies them a blemishless heroism, and puts them in a subcategory blighted by mistakes and audaciousness. Their sex categorizes them as being "self-possessed as a hero and be nonetheless a rogue".  What then causes this distinction between the hero and rogue, if they both are linked by "self-possession"? Emma and Rebecca both have this in abundance, and are chosen by their respective authors as the primary character of their own novels. Why are they then considered rogue-like by their contemporaries? Is it because women are not granted the typical tools of the hero, and must use sexuality and manipulation to achieve their aims, which their predecessors have achieved by shield and sword?


John Hagen's response might be that it is the self-interest of the characters portrayed, rather than their sex, which makes them rogues. It also depends on how we define the hero, if it is a "blemishless hero" of the two-dimensional kind, then Rebecca and Emma will inevitably fall short. Though if the hero is simply the self-possessed protagonist, then the argument could be supported that female heroes are subject to harsher criticism because of the weapons their have in their arsenal. Why do their own authors undercut them? The heroines are brought to book as coined by Hagen, and why is this necessary? 

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