“Self-sacrifice may be Quite Wrong”: Women’s Education and Finances in The Odd Women (1893) by George Gissing

Samiya Alam, Aimillia Ramli


In late-nineteenth-century Britain, the surplus number of single women presented an internal crisis that accumulated in a number of debates on the subject in various fields, such as economy and education. While much have been written about these in relation to the social context of the time, little have been said specifically about the way single women and their educational and financial positions are presented in late-nineteenth-century English novels. This paper focusses on George Gissing’s (1857-1903) novel The Odd Women (1893) and its portrayal of single women and the parallel roles played by money and education in the women’s decision to remain unmarried. The method applied in this study is based on contextual as well as textual analyses and interpretation of the novel in light of feminist and Marxist literary theories. This study investigates the impact of socio-economic conditions on the lives of single women towards the end of the nineteenth century. The result of this study shows the novel makes a correlation between women’s level of education and financial situation with their choice to remain single.


Single Women, George Gissing, Education, Finances

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.9n.5p.119


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