Clarissa, Evelina, and A Sicilian Romance

Part 1:

In both Clarissa and Evelina, the narratives are clearly structured around the dominance of a male patriarchy, according to which the role of the woman is clearly defined by the hegemony exerted by the male. In other words, the female heroines of both stories, are forced to conform to the normativities established by this patriarchy, and this creates the main tension of both narratives. What both stories emphasize, however, is the way in which the marriage contract becomes a fundamental tool for the exercising of male patriarchal power. In other words, the control of the freedom to marry who one wants is itself a statement of individual freedom: power in these societies on the level of gender in a certain sense is concentrated in the marriage contract.