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Sororophobia: Differences Among Women in Literature and Culture$
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Helena Michie

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195073874

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195073874.001.0001

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“There Is No Friend like a Sister”: Sisterhood as Sexual difference

“There Is No Friend like a Sister”: Sisterhood as Sexual difference

(p.15) Chapter 1 “There Is No Friend like a Sister”: Sisterhood as Sexual difference
Sororophobia: Differences Among Women in Literature and Culture

Helena Michie

Oxford University Press

The chapter begins with a recounting of Willing and Rae's dramatization of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, which contains a subplot with sororophobic themes that is common in the literature of the era. In the Victorian world, the concept of sisterhood is founded on the differences between women—most notably sexual—and their attempts to bridge this chasm of difference. Sisterhood is seen as a safe, neutral haven which enables the unification of seemingly irreconcilable interests. The chapter briefly discusses the limited sociological material on sisters and their relationships. Then, with readings from Collins, Rossetti, and Hardy, the chapter further examines sisterhood as a structure for the containment and representation of sexual differences among women. In the last section, the chapter presents a different though similarly complex manifestation of sororophobia in George Elliott's anti-melodramatic Middlemarch in contrast with the typical Victorian marriage plots.

Keywords:   Willing and Rae, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, George Eliott, Middlemarch, sororophobia, sisterhood, women, sexual, Victorian

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