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VIRTUE VERSUS VICE IN JANE AUSTEN’S 'MANSFIELD PARK' AND ANITA BROOKNER’S 'LOOK AT ME' – A COMPARATIVE STUDY (Pages 95-104) by Dr. B. Janaki in THE ENGLISH RESEARCH EXPRESS / ISSN:2321-1164 (Online); 2347-2642 (Print)

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ERE.2014/3Rd.Qr-11/95.104/184
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The main objective of this paper is to spell out the juxtaposition of the two types of women, plain looking yet virtuous and physically attractive yet morally shallow present in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and Anita Brookner’s Look at Me. In their fiction, the virtuous heroine presents a contrast to one other female character known for her manipulative beauty that operates the sexual markets, especially in the way she attracts the hero. The Austenian novels, which recommend moderation and reasonable self-control, reflect the morality of the pre-Victorian time, founded on reason in the name of social order. In the second half of the twentieth century, such reasonable behaviour is meaningless, because society is dominated by materialism, individual desire and free competition. This ironic version in poetic justice points to the change in moral rules upholding behaviour between the two centuries. In Brookner’s twentieth-century text, the upper class men choose the frivolous sexy women than the serious reliable heroines which continues to be prevalent in twenty first century too. Both Jane Austen and Anita Brookner employ foil characters to bring out the characteristics of the two extremely different types of women and also their status in the society. Keywords: Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Anita Brookner, Look at Me, Pre-Victorian Morality, Poetic justice & Foils

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