Good books for studying the representations of women in literature for my NEA?

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lusablack
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#1
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I have left my NEA choice to the last possible moment and have decided to study presentations of women. However, I have read very few classics and want to know which of these texts could possibly work best:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1880)
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1811)
- Emma by Jane Austen (1815)
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margret Atwood (1985)
- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857)
- Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (1891)
- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
( One or both has to be pre-1900)
or any other recommendations would be useful.
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redmeercat
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Any of the Jane Austen's would work really well - they focus on the lives of women in Georgian England through a sort of ironic humour. Pride and Prejudice is about 5 sisters whereas Sense and Sensibility is mainly about 2, so might be easier to discuss in a comparative essay (fewer characters, etc) but honestly, any of Austens would be great! I might be tempted to compare one to a Margret Atwood, although you'll have to check if that's allowed cos I'm fairly sure A Handmaid's Tale is on the syllabus for some A level students. Little Women might also work well, esp considering the role of women in the family and relationships between sisters. It's a lovely book, too!
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lizzie03
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I also did my NEA on presentations of women, specifically Esther in The Bell Jar compared with Ophelia in Hamlet. I think Shakespeare was great for context if you would consider it, and it added an extra dimension comparing a novel and a play, but I can definitely recommend The Bell Jar, I found it so interesting!
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SupposedlyIronic
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Depends on your exact focus. All of them could work well. What about the representation of women will you focus on? Power? Sexuality? Madness? Think about all of this and you could easily do a fantastic NEA.

(Original post by lizzie03)
I also did my NEA on presentations of women, specifically Esther in The Bell Jar compared with Ophelia in Hamlet. I think Shakespeare was great for context if you would consider it, and it added an extra dimension comparing a novel and a play, but I can definitely recommend The Bell Jar, I found it so interesting!
I loved 'The Bell Jar'! I read it in 2 days while listening to Hot Fuss by The Killers on repeat and cried most of the way through 💀

I loved some of the imagery she used. Fantastic.
Last edited by ashtolga23; 9 months ago
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