chapter  5
31 Pages

The Crossing of Boundaries: Race, Class and Gender as Articulated Categories

The author examines Thomas Hardy's writings to show how the institutions and structures which dominated late nineteenth-century Britain were the same institutions and structures which exerted power in the colonial countries of the Empire. In the colonial context these groups would be the inhabitants of the colonized countries, whereas in Hardy's writings they are rural working classes. So-called 'feminization' of the colonized is only unacceptable if symbolic order of authority and control is accepted as the norm, for if hierarchical, binary system is broken down, then retention of the semiotic will no longer result in marginalization. Hardy challenges the oppression of women in a patriarchal society. The author suggests that this challenge implies a criticism of other forms of oppression enacted by that society, whether at home or in the countries of the Empire. Bront's apparent acceptance of patriarchal imperialism at the end of the novel and contrasts strongly with Hardy's critique of all forms of ideological oppression is referred.