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Leonora Alcharisis Individualism in George Eliots Daniel DerondaAlthough Daniels mother is only in two chapters of George Eliots Daniel Deronda she stands out as one of the novels most memorable and shocking characters Leonora Alcharisi completely obliterates any preconceptions that Daniel and the reader had about what his mother might be like The crux of why she is so shocking is that her character is bereft of any motherly qualities Leonoras renouncing of the role that society values most in women that of mother is emblematic of her rejection of every design that society projected on her Leonoras struggle with the society that doesnt value her because she is a Jewess is embodied in her relationship with her father Charisi Her nature is one that needs freedom This causes her to chafe under the constraints of her strict Jewish upbringing Although she is only concerned with personal liberation and is thus not a true feminist Leonora articulates many ideals that are very feminist in nature By examining her successes and failures the reader gains insight into the novel and society as a wholeEliot describes Leonoras beauty as having a strangeness in it as if she were not quite a human mother Eliot 536 In one sentence Eliot establishes that Leonora does not appear motherly and for that reason seems a bit inhuman as well Throughout Daniels meeting with his mother Eliot uses descriptions such as without maternal delight and with the manner of a queen rather than of a mother to describe Leonoras actions Eliot 538 565 Leonoras every move seems to reflect her want of maternal instinct or emotion Her words do not betray her appearance as Leonora tells Daniel that she neither wants his affection nor is able to give him hers Daniel is repelled by the frank coldness which had replaced all his preconceptions of a mothers tender joy in the sight of him Eliot 542 This repulsion is shared by the
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