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Word Count: 2,134
Composers throughout the ages have often used dichotomy as a tool to depict the rift between good and bad women but their exact intentions are often unclear Examples of this ambiguity may be found in Vanity Fair a BBC television mini-series set in nineteenth century England Fay Weldons eighties novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and Chocolat a single mothers integration into a rural French community by Joanne Harris No true saints or villains exist in the three texts their female characters are neither wholly good nor evil but an ambiguous mixture of both which is open to interpretation This is done through the partial shift of the blame for wickedness or a cause of righteousness to the social surroundings and the past of an individual The reasoning behind womens deeds which they commit in the name of goodness or indeed badness exposed by the composer also blur the composers stance on the dichotomy The power of institutions to affect and sometimes distort perception are also used by composers to reflect the many different and conflicting ways in which people may be perceived Frequently other people surrounding a person and the individuals history have an influence on their development and in some cases are given responsibility for aspects of their character For example while Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair behaves in a seemingly inappropriate way for a good woman by attempting to seduce Jos Sedley her best friend Amelias brother causing friction with the potential parents-in-law Amelia immediately supports Becky saying Miss Sharp has no kind parents to arrange these delicate matters for her offering as an excuse for her behaviour the fact that she has no people around her for support and must take on a multitude of roles including the matchmaking role of her mother and father Interestingly the opening scene of the film is of a young Becky serving drinks to a group of drunken men lying in squalor
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