A Psychoanalytic Liberal Feminist Analysis of George Moore’s “Esther Waters”

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In the nineteenth-century English society, the public sphere was associated with rationality and man whereas the private sphere was identified with morality and woman. Being deprived of education and professions, women were given the roles of wife and mother. Liberal feminism emphasizes the equality of woman with man in legal and social life. In this sense, the standpoints of Mary Wollstonecraft, Harriet Taylor, and John Stuart Mill for women’s position are expressed. The analysis of the unconscious is important for examining the oppression that women were subjected to in patriarchal society. Thus the views of important psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud, Carl G. Jung, and Jacques Lacan are explained. This study examines women’s position in George Moore’s "Esther Waters" in terms of education and marriage with a psychoanalytic liberal feminist approach. Esther has an extramarital sex, has an illegitimate child and financially struggles for her son as a fallen woman. In this study, no matter how Esther tries to draw a libertarian and ‘New Woman’ profile, the patriarchal society in which she lives does not allow her to be liberated and she continues her life by being forced to marry.


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Woman question, Psychoanalysis, Liberal feminism, George Moore, "Esther Waters".


Journal of Literary Criticism (Edebî Eleştiri Dergisi)

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Alkan, H. (2023). A Psychoanalytic Liberal Feminist Analysis of George Moore’s “Esther Waters” . Edebi Eleştiri Dergisi , 7 (2) , 308-317 . DOI: 10.31465/eeder.1338753