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Abstract


FRAMING IDEAL: GENDER AND CLASS POLITICS IN WILKIE COLLINS’ WOMAN IN WHITE

After the rediscovery of Wilkie Collins’ novel The Woman in White in the late twentieth-century as a text which is eligible for critical literary analysis, it has been subject to scrutiny by varied critics. Initially, as a periodical serial at a journal turned into a bestseller novel, it received remarkable responses from readers, as well as critics who delved into its pages. It brought about a new genre ‘sensation fiction’; beguiling plot-centered novels, which focused on stories woven around criminals that also combines gothic elements with romantic fiction, which paved the nineteenth-century detective story, herewith studied by genre critics, however; it needs to be investigated considering gender and class politics issues by virtue of its salient engagement with women’s representation and social formation; ergo, this study will serve as a critical paper of analyzing Collins’ novel in terms of gender and class politics. Besides being a story about the struggle of a group of people from different social classes to protect a vulnerable woman against the conspiracy of villains, Collins also reflected conditions of social classes and status of women in the period; he pictured the unequal balance between women and men, higher class and lower class in the book, in which he ended up in supporting middle-class values to maintain order. If scrutinized well, the book itself reveals the collapse of oppressor / oppressed dynamics, by which the inevitable base of class-based society and patriarchy, and it emphasizes the need for belonging to middle class to acquire an identity for both women and men.



Keywords
Wilkie Collins, gender politics, class struggle, sensation novel, mystery, identity issues, detectiv


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