How Language Treats Gender in Nights at the Circus Essay

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How Language treats gender In Nights at the circus
Gender is socially constructed and this theory is backed up in Nights at the Circus as gender role stereotypes are reinforced here. The main character Fevvers is objectified and portrayed as this creature with wings and magical powers, who is also described as large and having a ‘face, broad and oval as a meat dish’, which would typically be more suited and to a degree even complimentary to that of masculine traits.
This both reinforces and challenges essentialism as Fevvers is depicted as an object or an entity with these wings, which are believed to be essential to her stage character. However this does not constitute to the typical essentialist categories of male and female, the idea
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Fevvers instead uses her wings as an empowering image which ultimately results in gifts and status such as the King of Portugal giving her a ‘skipping rope of egg-shaped pearls’.
This is also further emphasised by her business minded attitude towards how Fevvers is perceived, rather than allowing herself to be solely objectified and exploited Fevver’s turns her status and public perception into financial gains ‘You’d never think she dreamed at nights, of bank accounts, or that, to her, the music of the spheres was the jingling of cash registers’. Begging the question of whether it is manipulation if the individual in question gains some form of success? However the idea of Fevvers surpassing her exploitation could also be contended as she is described on p13 as possessing ‘an artificial smile…exhibited herself before the eyes of the audience as if she were a marvellous present too good to be played with’. Which clearly portrays an image of a character with unhappiness towards being exhibited as a mysterious entity and may explain her need to drink a lot, evident in her requesting of Walser to ‘have a drop more…Can’t have the ladies pissed on their lonesome can we?’
A Feminine agenda could be arguably interpreted in this text, which almost works in contrast to the un-attractive account describing Fevvers backstage, and even the name ‘Fevvers’ playing on the slang cockney dialect of the pronouncement of ‘Feathers’ takes away any mysteriousness,

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