Writing the Feminine: John Fowles’s Modern Myth


John Fowles writes courageous and other-worldly women characters. John Fowles explores relationships between men and women and has built his major themes around the contrast between masculine and feminine mentality. Fowles has always constructed his fictions upon the principle that women are intrinsically better, more authentic, and freer than men. Throughout his fiction, women tend to appear as a humanizing force in opposition to men’s aggressive, confrontational, and fiercely individualist impulses. Fowles depicts the endless conflict of the opposite sex, and at the same time, renders the possibility for some degree of harmony and cooperation. Gender difference, especially in terms of masculine and feminine ways of knowing, is particularly important to Fowles, and he advocates an increased respect for “the womanly way of seeing life” in the interests of promoting a more balanced social perspective. Fowles sees feminine qualities as a requisite part of civilized society and recognizes that both men and women can appropriate ontological and epistemological characteristics from the other sex. The notion of femininity features in Fowles’s fiction inspires the male questers both sexually and creatively. The formula which dominates almost all of Fowles’s fiction is that of the male pursuit of higher truths which are embodied in an elusive, existentially authentic female character. In posing the issues, Fowles is also representing a realigned version of a key male myth which reimposes in a new form the old redemptive role which sees women as a corrective force in relation to men.

Author Information
Priscilla Peichin Lin, Fongshan Elementary School, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2019
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

This paper is part of the ACAH2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon