A-level English/Wise Children/Feminism

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Quotes[edit | edit source]

  • "A father is a hypothesis but a mother is a fact"
  • "I wonder why they call it father Thames"
  • "I'm not ready to be a father"
  • "No man ever is"
  • "We boast the only castrato grandfather clock in London" - notice the emasculation of the grandfather clock, 'castrato'=castrated, shows lack of need for a paternal/dominating male figure in the Chance household.
  • "Grandma had never known, not until she picked us up on that very first day, what men were for"

Representation of women[edit | edit source]

In 'Wise Children', as in much of Carter's work - notably 'Nights at the Circus' - Carter punctuates the myth of male superiority and female goodness. The women in the book are none of them saints and the most saintlike of them, Lady Atlanta, is revealed to have had an affair with Peregrine, her brother-in-law, resulting in him possibly being the father of the 'darling buds of May', Saskia and Imogen. The men in the book are also seen to be flawed and their grasp onto power, or, in Melchior's case, legitimate and high theatre, fails, as seen in the disastrous 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and the innocuous comment made to him on the Tube: 'I say, didn't you used to be Mechior Hazard?'. The Chance twins 'irreverantly high-kick their way through Shakespeare' (The Guardian, 21 December 2005)and the legend of the femme-fatale is disintegrated with the exuberant, larger than life character Daisy Duck.

An excellent example of Carter almost giving a feminist edge to an existing situation comes in the final chapter during Tiffany's confrontation with Tristram. The scene is immediately reminiscant of not only the reconciliation of Claudio and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing but also the final scene in A Winter's Tale. However, instead of the male (who has been in the wrong) being accepted by the female character, Tiffany rejects the humbled Tristram. This is arguably more realistic.