Titel: Text Strategy in Elizabeth Gaskell’s "Ruth". The Stated and the Unstated
Autoren/Herausgeber: Mona Engl
Ausgabe: 1., Auflage
Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, University of Potsdam (Anglistik/Amerikanistik), course: Images of Victorian Womanhood in Art and Literature, language: English, abstract: Gaskell’s work Ruth deals with the central theme of the fallen woman at Victorian times. Ruth tells the story of a young innocent and orphaned girl that is seduced by a well-off noble man, Mr. Bellingham, who deserts her in the end. Left alone and pregnant she is willing to kill herself, but eventually rescued by the Dissenter minister, Mr. Benson.
Ruth is often referred to as a social problem novel (Pike 15) but it is more than that. Beyond it, the novel treats the problems of illegitimate children, the double sexual standard and religious hypocrisy.
My attempt is, first, to show how Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel was influenced by her private and public life, which means how these influences are reflected in her representation in Ruth. In this section I will look at her upbringing, her Unitarian belief and her public charity work.
Second, I will analyse how the three above mentioned issues (illegitimate children, the double sexual standard and religious hypocrisy) are treated in Ruth and what criticism E. Gaskell expresses in connection with these three topics; especially, through the text in her novel. Thus, I will articulate the things, the text does say.
Next, I will state what the text does not say. That means how the unspoken things, which must not be said, are revealed through other means and methods. Hence, I will examine the way E. Gaskell uses colours and natural phenomenon to foreshadow and point to certain unpleasant or agreeable events that will penetrate into her life.