Study Guide

The Woman in White Power

By Wilkie Collins

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There are lots of different kinds of power in the world: political power, physical power, legal power, monetary power, power yoga. In The Woman in White, power is largely about control and the ability to act.

But, as The Woman in White constantly shows, there is nothing neat and tidy about power. Power is messy, complicated... and kind of relative. Ultimately, The Woman in White focuses less on how people get and lose power and more on how they respond to the power they have and the power they lack.

Questions About Power

  1. How much power do women have in the world of The Woman in White?
  2. How do Sir Percival and Count Fosco use different kinds of power, and how do their styles of exercising power reflect on their characters?
  3. Does Walter have much power to act in the book, or is he rendered passive by fate and various evil-doers? How does action (or lack thereof) play a role in defining Walter?

Chew on This

Ultimately the villains (Fosco and Percival) have little power in the book; their plans are flimsy and are all eventually undone.

Power is more a state of mind than a fact in The Woman in White.

The Woman in White Power Study Group

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