Pamela

Pamela

Fasick, Laura. “Sentiment, Authority, and the Female Body in the Novels of Samuel Richardson.” Essays-in-Literature. Fall 1992, 19:2, 193-203.
Laura Fasick is concerned with the relationship between the attempt to split the female mind and body and authority. She argues that Richardson has constructed Pamela as a virtuous character whose body and soul move as one and that to deny the body inevitably diminishes female authority. One example from the novel that she cites is when Mr. B refuses to allow Pamela to breastfeed. By asserting domination over her body, Mr. B is attempting to control her. “Whereas Pamela in the first volume has opposed Mr. Bs patriarchal power with a claim for her autonomous worth that relied on the dissolution of gender and class hierarchies, she now draws her authority from him. His stature as a model husband proves her excellence as a wife and thus her expertise as an advisor in domestic matters” (195). Fasick traces the development of the link between body and authority through both Pamela and Clarissa. She concludes by saying that to “accept a version of the body that strips it of moral meaning apparently entails an acceptance of a version of moral presence

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