Charlie‘s Angels: The Female Characters of Great Expectations in Comparison to Mary Wollstonecraft‘s Idea of Women in A Vindication of the Rights of Women


  • Emma Skagen


In the cleverly titled “Charlie‘s Angels,” Emma Skagen reads Charles Dickens‘s Great Expectations in the light of Mary Wollstonecraft‘s A Vindication of the Rights of Women, focusing especially on Wollstonecraft‘s ideas about reason and sensibility in women‘s education, and the “slave–despot” dichotomy.  She richly analyzes a range of female characters in the novel who illustrate the dilemma of romantic (and Romantic era) women. A highlight, for me, is her analysis of Estella as at once a slave, a despot, and (as her name suggests) a star whose “troublesome journey” may “shed light on the Romantic woman‘s dilemma. Perhaps her story is a light that can guide the way to a better female condition.”

Dr. Judith Thompson