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Nord Deborah Epstein Marks of Race Gypsy Figures and Eccentric Femininity in Nineteenth-Century Womens Writing Victorian Studies Vol41 No 2 Indiana Indiana University Press winter 1998 Deborah Nord opens her essay with the declaring statement that nineteenth century literature applies the gypsy figure as the epitome of everything that defies the Victorian English character She reasons that the gypsy is the perfect inimical figure to be the antithesis of English middle class society The gypsy was the perfect choice as their realm remained just at the edges of society and for this reason they could not be disregarded as a remote and wholly foreign figure as the colonial races were but instead were considered as a visible separate breed possessed of dark skin hair eyes and a lawless disposition Nord argues that women writers of the nineteenth century took advantage of this available medium to explore and express an unconventional side of the female persona that outside of literary confines would be ignominious She believes that women began to feel separated from the male dominated society they inhabited even treated as a lower species so when the perpetually advancing Victorian society offered up the opportunity through fictional writing for them to reveal these feelings without being ostracised they seized the advantage Nord puts forward George Eliot feelings that women fell into two categories the first the ordinary lot of womanhood in which belonged the conventional female the second the heterodox female temperament which she equates to having a physical deformity or racial otherness The gypsy encapsulates this otherness entirely Nord then discusses Freuds theory of Family Romance which basically states that the the male child on feeling bitterness or sexual rivalry towards his parents fantasises that he has been adopted and in reality the offspring of parents of higher social standing This primarily has the effect claims Freud of raising the childs image of himself and lessening the childs regard
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