2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

"Blushing Virgins and Wanton Whores": Diverse Portrayals of Women in The Monk
Brittany R. Nielsen Watson
Dr. Bob Mielke, Faculty Mentor

In Matthew Lewis's The Monk, we see conflicting portrayals of the roles and duties of women. These depictions create both a model for emulation and a warning for men and women of the consequences transgressive behavior can cause. When comparing Lewis's characters Matilda and Antonia to the Biblical personalities of Eve and the Virgin Mary, a parallel can be drawn in the duality of the woman as both a temptress and a symbol of virtue. By showing us the two archetypal women--virgins and whores--Lewis forces the reader to exalt the righteous and dispel the sinful, while being wary of the validity of both.

Keywords: feminist theory, The Monk, gothic novel


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 43-3
Location: OP 2117
Time: 1:45 pm

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