Thursday, November 11, 2010
19th Century Women Writers: An Informal Panel Discussion
The Gender Issues Group organized a panel discussion about 19th Century Women Writers on Thursday, November 11 in Tifft Lounge. The presenters were Raven See '11, Heather Turnbull '11, and Becca Kingman '11. Raven discussed Jane Austen and her Pride and Prejudice character Elizabeth Bennet. Raven argued that the novel was not just a romance novel as is often believed, but depicts the struggle of middle class women of the 19th century in finding autonomy in a patriarchal society. Heather wrestled with the question of whether Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre should have married Mr. Rochester (revealing that she herself wouldn’t marry Mr. Rochester in a million years!), as well as pondering whether Mrs. Rochester was actually the strongest female character in the novel. Becca defended the choice of a lesser known author, Elizabeth Gaskell, to put her family life before her writing career. She admired Gaskell’s challenging task of writing an authentic biography for a maligned Charlotte Bronte. Following the students’ presentations, a large group of students, faculty and staff joined in on the discussion with questions and reflections of their own. The student organized event is part of the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Women's Studies Program at EC.