A Sicilian Romance

Part 1:

A Sicilian Romance is arguably most compelling in its exposure of the subjugation of the female within highly structured and stratified, i.e., aristocratic, class societies. Hence, in a motif that is familiar to the other stories we have read, Julie is forced to marry someone she does not desire: the autonomy of the female protagonist is thus violated by the demands of a social structure. What the novel thus does best in this regard is force us to think about the relationship between class and gender: are these both forms of control, that ultimately rely upon presuppositions and even violence to re-enforce legitimacy? Would the liberation of the female, i.e., allowing her freedom in determining her future, automatically lead to a destruction of the class system as a whole? It is only when the Marquis dies, the patriarchal figure responsible for Julie’s imprisonment, that she flees: the reuniting of Julia, Ferdinand (her brother), and their mother as a happy family seems to indicate that without the patriarchal figure (who is also monarchy) new arrangements of the family are possible, arrangements that are more conducive to a more “democratic” happiness.