Masquerade and male desire in Eliza Haywood's fantomina and Gillian Flynn's gone girl
Chong, Yin Min
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
In this essay, I will be examining Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina (1725) and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012), despite their vast difference in era, to discuss how female agency and female empowerment are achieved through masquerade. Both female characters are elite members of society and it is mandatory for these women to uphold certain standards of femininity in order to be deemed desirable. Unfortunately, this puts the desirable woman on a pedestal. In the novels, the heroines struggle between female agency and the mask of femininity, as while they desire to remain in the upper-class strata, they are unwilling to fulfill the standards of femininity demanded of them. Hence in this essay, I will examine the different guises in which womanhood appears in the novels and analyze the ways in which these female characters both construct and deconstruct cultural conceptions of femininity through masquerade. The masquerade exists as not only a physical activity but also a symbolic act to provide the independent heroines in both novels the opportunity to express sexuality and agency as they wish. Thus, women become the engineers and masterminds in the game of masquerade as they attempt to solicit desire and exert agency, while revolting against restrictive standards of femininity.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University