Investigating the significance of disguises : disguise as a double-edged sword- the act of concealing and revealing in Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Eliza Haywood’s works are often contentious and are daring in nature, and are often construed as rebellious works with fantastical elements. Due to this eccentric nature, I will argue in my paper that readers are tilting to consider Haywood’s works as having a feminist stance and a slant towards women’s empowerment. This forms the first part of my paper, where I will work within the prose Fantomina, together with a feminist approach, to demonstrate how readers will observe Haywood’s employment of femininity as a disguise for empowerment, being an act of defence. In terms of elucidation, I define the term femininity as encompassing the physical, mental and emotional aspects of a woman. This induces readers to take on an observant role in their act of reading for its upfront approach. They may be inclined to believe the continuous acts deceptions are seen as defensive measures, which are thoroughly employed to achieve female empowerment. In the second part of my paper, however, I will argue that such an approach to the observant reading of Fantomina proves to be with limitations, hence inadequate and one-dimensional. Instead, I will propose that the prose needs to be taken with an investigative approach together with socio-political considerations which encourages the reading of the text to be one that is not just of a defensive nature but also an offensive one, against one’s identity as well. This will promote the appreciation of the prose in its capacity to use of disguise as being one that is a double-edged sword, having the ability to reveal as much as it conceals. Given the complexity of the elements, which encompasses the prose itself, Fantomina is a text that is worthy of appreciation on a higher and deeper level.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University