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Willa Cather's Woman Centered Fiction The significance of the womancenterednes

The significance of the womancenteredness of Cather's major fiction lies in her ability to convey the complex psychology of womenintheworld. When she places her women characters at the center of the action and makes them the focus of attention of other (male) characters, she is asserting not only that women have a stake in the world but that the world itself feels the effect of their actions, beliefs, and qualities.

To be sure, the tradition of literature written by a man suggests that women can be intimately involved in the narrative action and may be the cause or the concern of emotions and feeling, but the form that such involvement takes tends to explore far more the potentialities and feelings of the men in the case, rather than those of the women they encounter. What men discover about the way of the world, in part but by no means wholly because of their relationships with women, becomes the focus of action. Even when the object in view is the fulfillment of romantic love, it is the male feeling and point of view that is ascendant. Thus for example, Tom Jones may be consumed with love for Sophia Western and may move heaven and earth to reclaim her, but by and large Sophia is significant as object and not subject of Fielding's narrative. Fielding is, naturally enough, interested in the behavior, adventures, and development of Tom Jones as something like a romantic hero within his society; Sophia is the precious prize he may claim.

There is no denying that Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary present women at the center of the action and of complex human behavior. Moreover, what these characters do, feel, and think profoundly affects not only themselves but those around them. But a few observations may be made about these remarkably sensitive works (there are others, Ibsen's among them) written by men about women. First, sensitive as they are, they may be seen as exceptions that prove what one could consider...

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