The Moonstone: Dual Narratives, Social Implications, and Symbolism

2664 Words Dec 23rd, 2011 11 Pages
Kendra Lynch
English 1302
Ms. Olsen
15 March 2011
The Moonstone
Wilkie Collins’s famous detective novel, The Moonstone (1868), takes place in the 1840s during the high-Victorian imperialist age, a time in which the British experienced a long period of contentment and prosperity. During this time, a strong sense of anti-feminism seemed to thrive in British society. Despite this fact, Wilkie Collins did not hesitate to make the women in his novel central characters that have a great influence on the plot. Collins’s effort to balance the plot and characterization in his novel was a great success. The characters in The Moonstone are more than just fictional characters, as they portray various social and religious messages and scores
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others, the luxury of indulging their feelings. People in low life have no such privilege. Necessity, which spares our betters, has no pity on us. We learn to put our feelings back into ourselves, and to jog on with our duties as patiently as may be. I don't complain of this—I only notice it (Collins 166).
In other words, when a tragedy such as Rosanna’s suicide occurs, servants must force a smile on their faces and continue on with their tasks while the rich are allowed to grieve and mourn as long as they feel necessary. Rosanna’s suicide “shows how members of the working class are invisible to those they serve” (Heller 249). The only thing standing between Blake and Rosanna is her working-class status. Before taking her own life, Rosanna leaves a letter for Blake in which she describes her emotional pain and his apathy. After Rosanna’s voice is finally heard through her letter, it becomes clear that she could not communicate directly with Franklin due her to position in society and her femininity.
The Moonstone contains not only social messages dealing with society and class, but also social messages related to religious issues of the time. Wilkie Collins succeeds in mirroring the Victorian society through his diverse characters, as most English people in this era were searching for a moral truth to

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