Week 32 Results & Week 33 Goals: Clockwork Prince, a feminist perspective

Yet again, I am a few days late on my posting. I apologize. I’ll be moving back into my dorm soon though, so hopefully the schedule of university will keep me on track with my blog! We shall see.

As for the results from last week, I have indeed completed Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. In my opinion, the book had a lot of potential. It incorporated several elements that I adore in storytelling, such as a Victorian London setting, a female lead, magic, supernatural creatures…There was a perfectly awesome battle already set up to take place: the good guys at the Institute versus the evil Magister and his army of clockwork soldiers. It was supposed to be bad ass. Instead, that plot line was dropped in favor of the convoluted love triangle between main character Tessa, brooding Will, and innocent Jem. Not only this, but there was a flood of anti-feminist ideals throughout the entire book. Tessa’s “love” for both Will and Jem–and even her appreciation of other male characters’ looks–relied on the stereotypical maternal instinct of protectiveness. She often points out the vulnerabilities of the male characters, especially Will and Jem. Even when she was considering Sophie’s attraction to Gideon, she says,

“She could see now what Sophie liked in him–the vulnerability under the impassive countenance, the solid honest beneath the handsome bones of his face” (page 461).

The only way she found a male attractive was if there was some obvious weakness. It is a poor reason to find someone attractive, yet it is the most discussed aspect of each character. Tessa admits that each of the male characters are handsome, but she rarely discusses it. In fact, she tends to brush it off as coincidence that these two gorgeous boys are throwing themselves at her. It may have been a ploy to make Tessa seem deeper than a girl who falls for vain reasons such as looks, but it comes off as snooty. It’s actually worse because she’s still being anti-feminist and being snooty at the same time! As I said in my Goodreads review, a woman, and a strong character, should love for more than a stereotypical instinct of their sex.

Another anti-feminist aspect of the book was the fact that every female was involved in a relationship or was pining for one. There were no strong, single female characters. Tessa was stuck being “in love” with two gorgeous, broken boys. Charlotte was married to Henry, and even though she felt he did not truly care for her, she acted defeated and did not fight for herself. Even the maid, Sophie, has her romantic issues. First, she is in love with Jem. At the same time, Thomas is in love with her. The scarred but once beautiful parlor maid of course does not even understand his affections and ignores him. Then, she falls in love with Gideon Lightwood. In fact, Sophie might be getting the most action. Jessamine longed for a rich husband who was not a Shadowhunter, and she is so desperate to live her dream that she is willing to betray the Institute and deceive herself. While Jessie is characterized as a weak and vain character, she is hardly worse than Tessa herself. I think Clare tried to make Tessa better by making her have a fondness for books and make her a bit insecure, but really, she is just as anti-feminist as Jessie for they both are driven by their want for a relationship.

While it is not anti-feminist, I did find the ending very cheesy. Jem and Tessa announce their engagement and Charlotte announces her pregnancy at the same time; it’s just very romantic-comedy-ish. It’s like, “And everything was happily ever after. The end.” It just seemed a bit too forced for me.

Sometimes I really wish I wasn’t an English major who found it fun and natural to point out these aspects in everything. I can’t even watch commercials anymore. (STORY TIME.) Today I was watching a show with my mom. One of the commercials was about two sons who were so pleased by their mother’s choice in snacks that they redid the entire backyard just for her. It was supposed to be cute and light-hearted. However, I began to rant to my mother almost immediately. I said, “I love how they tried to make this family seem easy to relate to by making them bi-racial. The mother is white and the sons are Hispanic. They’re trying to get points for making a ‘modern family’ since not all couples are the same race. It would have worked, too, if they didn’t have Hispanic children doing yardwork.” My mother almost died with laughter and said, “Only you would point that out.”

Anyway, point of the story is, I often ruin perfectly acceptable things for myself just by seeing underlying things, such as anti-feminism. I’m sure if I wasn’t an English major that I would have thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you aren’t tainted by my point of view, then I’d suggest you check out the story too. I apologize if I ruined it for you.

As for my goals, I want to finish Ash by Malindo Lo and Perfect by Ellen Hopkins this week. I’m running out of time before I go back to campus and I want to return my library books by then. *cough* That’s not going to happen because I only finished one of the books. I’m just going to renew them all again, but I want to get as many done as possible first.

On a completely unrelated note, I have started a new blog on Tumblr called Harry Potter: Examined. I’ve decided to combine my love for Harry Potter and literary exploration by delving into the Harry Potter series with a critical eye. I’m going to be writing about characters, themes, symbols, and more. Plus, my theme is SO AWESOME. At least check it out and let me know what you think! You can find it at http://www.harrypotter-examined.tumblr.com.

Talk to me guys! I feel like I’m talking to a wall. Are you out there?

Jen xx


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