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Female Quest in a Long Way From Verona

Female Quest in a Long Way From Verona

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Published by Ash Hibbert
Research and provide an account of the female journey, or quest, and demonstrate the ways in which the female pattern is represented in ‘A long way from Verona.’
Research and provide an account of the female journey, or quest, and demonstrate the ways in which the female pattern is represented in ‘A long way from Verona.’

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Published by: Ash Hibbert on Nov 25, 2012
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12/18/2013

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Research and provide an account of thefemale journey, or quest, and demonstratethe ways in which the female pattern isrepresented in ‘A long way from Verona.’
Ashley Hibbert - October 1999THE HERO AND HER WORLDFor the female hero, the initiation of their journey is made exceptionally difficult becausenot only must she argue against convention that there are debilitating myths, of prejudice, persecution, ignorance and fear, yet she must fight to justify themselves as being capableof taking on the world - that they have a right to decide wether they attempt to. The first point to make before the initiation of the journey is that patriarchal society is fallible. Thesecond is that the heroin herself is autonomous.Jessica’s emancipation is made increasingly difficult because she is so young -thirteen years in the bulk of the narrative. The journey for the youth is not merely for  philanthropic - to help society redefine and better itself through the female hero’s personal discovery - nor for self betterment. The youth’s journey is for their very survival.They compete against the status quo, against the past. By going through their own privateinitiation process, and slaying “the monster of the status quo: Holdfast, the keeper of the past” (Campbell) they both forge their own place in society as fully fledged adults, andencourage it to a state of flexibility to allow them and their peers to grow and prosper, notto stagnate.In the same way that it is myths that provide the strength for the characters, it is alsomyths that work to trap the female hero in false expectations and morality standards.Convention adopts the power of myth, yet the “four societal myths ... most likely todestroy or imprison the female hero, and to prevent her from discovering either her true
 
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identity or a home in thee world” (Pearson and Pope 18): sex differences, virginity,romantic love, and maternal self-sacrifice. The quest is very much an anthropological journey - admitting that convention is not absolute, and in some ways embracing the philosophies of others.However, it should be noted that the setting of 
Verona
is more a matriarchy than a patriarchy. “The town is informed, to some degree, by the heroic consciousness of strongwomen existing in a patriarchal context.” (Pearson and Pope 245) Most men of fightingage are engaged in the war effort, leaving the women behind to manage the infrastructure.However, the ‘tribal elders’ are a caretaker government, and in various ways theymaintain the expectations and myths of their predecessors, the absent ‘ruling fathers.’ Thewomen of Jessica’s world act in place of their ‘government in exile’, and being at a girl’sschool, with all teachers women, they are the power figures in her life.Jessica is rejected in her ability to write a good essay - instead called a liar,inventing the ‘character of the tea shop’ - since there is an expectation that females shouldalways take the option of a little mistruth to save much explanation, of rocking the boat.Jessica’s essay might not be unacceptable to her teacher because of its unusualness, but because she would try to remain true to her experiences - which can be a dangerous thing,in a woman. By writing an accurate account of her experiences, she rebels against the“cage and the mirror ... symbols commonly used to express the limiting and oppressiveeffects of the traditional female role.” (Pearson and Pope 22). She refuses to be treatedlike a ‘bonsai tree’, closed and contained. She even goes to the extent of manipulating thedependence on perception of her by others when she is sick, and is able to construct anartificial persona around her. Otherwise, she has no concern of her appearance. She rebelsagainst the convention that she should be ‘many people’, instead deciding to follow her own path.Jessica’s certainty of the validity of her dislike of the puritan model - highlighted by her indifference of ‘dating’ Christian, which her mother argues she is too young to do- is enabled by the strength and absolute conviction to the validity of the prophecy dealt toher by Hanger. The prophecy is self-fulfilling, yet it helps set a concrete trust in her 
 
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self-image: it is in her journey that she finds what that is, and it is her discovery of thefallibility of the prophet that fully emancipates her from social and personal dogma.THE JOURNEY“...The realistically portrayed hero often leaves the conscious world in order to confrontlife denying forces. The hero’s mythical descent is often depicted as a retreat into a stateof temporary madness.” (Pearson and Pope 63)Jessica’s journey probably begins between the ‘violent experience’ that sets her apart from the others, and when she is banished from her class and certainly departs themainstream. Her journey ends on the return to the platform in the final chapter, when shereturns late with the panting, the prophecy fulfilled. The journey itself is interrupted by aseries of ‘departures from the conscious world’, such as her out-of-body experiences, her illnesses, her walks, and her mind reading. These often occur in a sequence, part of themetaphoric ‘dragon slaying.’ In the instance of her purchase of the painting (178), she isdeserted by her peers, treks around Cleveland Sands, and journeys up and down the trainline. During that time she constructs imaginary conversations with various people(equivalent to her mind-reading), and upon her return see her own body from above. Thisspecific situation could be also compared to a Christ-like martyrdom since she carries her  painting upon her head throughout her micro-journey. This could be read in her choosingto suffer for her extended family, or a sense of being unworthy herself, that all she
can
dois advance other people’s happiness. If so, then this journey could be seen as her struggleto conquer the myth of maternal sacrifice - and in the end she feels happy enough to beable to put the painting down, rest, and see herself objectively.Her series of illnesses occur at the end of each ‘dragon-slaying’, and it is at these points that she is reliant on the good will of her family and their community. They areakin to exhaustion from a battle from which she has come out on top. In eachdragon-slaying, she has no choice
but 
to return to her house. In this sense, the narrativecould be seen as a
 series
of journeys, with ‘house-comings’ culminating in a kind of 

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