H. Rider Haggard’s She
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Stefani [email protected] / Close Reading III5 November 2017Among the many patterns that may be recognized in H. Rider Haggard’s She, two seem to bring to light the true intentions this novel shows under the surface. One reoccurring pattern of misogny and objectifying women and their beauty as a danger to patriarchy and the depiction of Ayesha, the liberated woman as remaining bound by the restrains of a men regardless of her power. Another pattern of race also has an importance in this novel. With this in mind, I ask the following question: How did Haggard’s She explicitly depict the justification of objectifying the female, and the issue of race gender in England’s Victorian era?        Ayesha, “she-who-must-be-obeyed” while seems to be the focus of Henry Rider Haggard’s novel, one could see the contradiction of the story’s narrator is through man’s point of view. The novel’s surface-level feminism hides an anti-feminist ideology. Ayesha is portrayed as a strong and fearing woman, but she is at many times, described only for her beauty (Haggard 153-154). This type of objectifying treatment purposely referenced in “She” is read as a way woman’s beauty could be appreciated to an extent while remaining cautious to its mysterious and mystical powers and it’s perilous intentions towards a male-driven society. Ayesha rules over her subjects of the Amahagger people and possesses both supernatural and reigning power, she lives her infinite life dedicated to awaiting her love, Kallikrates to be reincarnated that which the novel perceives as Leo (Haggard 158). She has spent every night of her existence sleeping next to the cold, mummified body of her lover waiting for his return (Haggard 216). Ayesha willingly gives away her power and authority to Leo as Kallikrates (Haggard 255) showing another instance as to her matriarchal control being overthrown by a man. Although Ayesha has a huge sense of authority, her control still needs to remain under a patriarchal shadow. Another pattern in She focuses the significance of racial purity. Leo and his father, Vincey are proud of their unbroken line of ancestral whiteness (46).  Leo, is described as being godlike in his beauty (Haggard 42-43). Though Holly is from England, the novel reveals that he is of Arabic ancestry. The importance to this would show he is impure. (Haggard 144) Even though, the novel mentions that Holly is impure within the standards of whiteness, he is still more superior to Ayesha for being a woman. ( Haggard 141 ) The novel suggests that Ayesha’s skin tone is used to reference the beauty of whiteness as a more superior shade (Haggard 157). Another example of this racial patterns falls at the end of the novel when Ayesha dies and her white diminishes. (Haggard 261).

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Depiction Of Ayesha And H. Rider Haggard. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/depiction-of-ayesha-and-h-rider-haggard-essay/