The New Woman through Structuralism in Sarah Grand’s "The Heavenly Twins"

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Structuralism is an approach that seeks to decode the encoded whole consisting of a system to explore a textual work’s deep structure from the surface structure. This study tries to analyse the ‘New Woman’ in Sarah Grand’s “The Heavenly Twins” (1893) according to the structuralist approach. This novel is analysed synchronically. In terms of syntagmatic relation while Evadne Frayling marries George Colquhoun, Angelica Hamilton-Wells marries Mr. Kilroy. As for paradigmatic relation, homology of relationship is seen between two couples since there are unhappy marriages not only between Evadne and Colquhoun, but also between Angelica and Mr. Kilroy. In terms of syntagmatic relation while Angelica surrenders herself sexually to her husband after the death of her friend Tenor, Evadne surrenders herself sexually to her second husband after the death of her first husband Colquhoun. Syphilis and disguise in the novel’s surface structure are closed signs. However, in the deep structure these signs turn to be explicit signs as follows: When the signifier is syphilis, the signified is reprobate and death; when the signifier is disguise, the signified is freedom. In terms of the novel’s deep structure, the harmony performs on binary oppositions between Evadne and Angelica as follows: ignorant/educated, imprisoned/free, ill/healthy. Although the novel is over, the melody goes on since Evadne and Angelica can get only the role of a wife and a mother in patriarchal society. As for the novel’s deep meaning, women and men have no innate difference for mental capacity, but women face prejudices by patriarchal society because the male-dominant society does not provide women to take the same education as men.


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Structuralism, Feminism, ‘New Woman’, Sarah Grand, “The Heavenly Twins”.


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Alkan, H. (2022). The New Woman through Structuralism in Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins. Ekev Academy Journal, 89, 69-79.