by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone Theme of Gender
A lot of gender stereotypes are expressed by the different narrators in this novel, but almost all of them get debunked and thrown out the window. Universal ideals of gender tend to break down when you look at individual instances: hardly any characters in The Moonstone fit neatly into the stereotypes.
Questions About Gender
- Betteredge, Miss Clack, and Mr. Bruff all express some stereotyped views of gender roles in their narratives. What are they? How do the three characters' views of gender differ?
- Several characters tell us that both Lady Verinder and Rachel are different from most women. Why is this important? If they don't fit the stereotype, why is the stereotype even mentioned?
- In what ways is Rachel stereotypically feminine? In what ways is she not? What passages from the novel would you use as evidence for your answer?
- Ezra Jennings says that he was "born with [a] female constitution" (18.104.22.168). What does he mean by this? What does this odd remark say about Jennings' character? About his views of gender?
Chew on This
Gabriel Betteredge's admissions that most of the individual women that he knows don't fit into gender stereotypes belie his frequent references to those stereotypes.
In the world of The Moonstone, it seems that women who break traditional gender roles make the most suitable wives.