Pamela; Or, Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson The epistolary novel genre within world literature is indebted to Samuel Richardson’s contributions. To be specific, his epistolary novels help the readers to have a peep into the minds of the main characters and to have a deeper understanding of human emotionality and psychology. Still, his heroines do not try to yield to fate, but tries to fight and become victorious in the end. In the novel named Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded, the novelist makes use of the main characters (say, the female protagonist and the antagonist) to unveil the relationship between love and social status.
First of all, the novel forced me to ponder upon the relationship between love and social status in older times. Earlier, I was not aware that love and social status are correlated. But now, I realize that people in older times considered social status is an integral part of relationships, especially in love affairs. But the novel helped me to realize that the female protagonist (say, Pamela Andrews) utilized her marriage to have upward social mobility. In the work by Samuel Richardson, the female protagonist states that “When the royal family of Stuart allied itſelf into the low family of Hyde (comparatively low, I mean,) did any-body ſcruple to call the lady Royal Highneſs and Dutcheſs of York? ”(247). To be specific, the female protagonist did not try to drag her husband (say, the antagonist named as Mr. B) to her social status. Instead, she uplifts herself to the next step of the social ladder. So, I consider that the novel changed my view on love affairs, disregarding social status.
My view on the world and human affairs is based on reasoning and emotionality. I agree with the female protagonist’s view because she did not try to yield to her abductor. Instead, she tried to resist his approach. Besides, her letters to her parents unveil her mind and attitude towards love affairs, marriage, social status, future, desire to have upwards mobility, and courage. As pointed, I did not consider that marriages, not love affairs, can help an individual to have upward mobility in society. The female protagonist’s view on life changed my view, especially human relationships.
A challenge on personal views and opinions:
The novelist utilized the female protagonist as his mouthpiece to share his unique views on love affairs and marriages. The novel communicated with me because the same is in the form of a series of letters. This helped me to go deeper into the female protagonist’s mind and her approach to her public domain. On the other side, the antagonist is symbolic of male masculinity and sexuality. To be specific, he considers that abduction can change the female protagonist’s mind. But the female protagonist’s capacity to not to yield proves to be effective in the end. So, the novel changed my ideas and opinions on human relationships, marriage, and human sexuality.
The novel proves that how human beings make use of their social status to force the unprivileged people to be under them forever. This is not good because one’s pleasure must not be another’s grief. I consider that people must interact beyond their social status because it helps to realize the essence of humane concern. If one is not ready to go beyond the limits of one’s social status, one will be forced to be the victim of social division. Still, abduction and forcing an individual to marry is unethical and inhuman. So, I consider that the female protagonist’s decision is based upon her reasoning ability and I provide importance to the same.
The most important aspect of the novel is that it denies the influence of social status in love affairs and marriages. If the female protagonist considers the antagonist’s social status as important, she might have yielded to him. The novelist provides ample importance to the characterization of the female protagonist. To be specific, other characters are portrayed as mere ‘satellites’. This approach to characterization, i.e. providing importance to the female character and her views is revolutionary because the world provides less importance to femininity. The concept of motherliness or motherly tenderness hinders the progress of womenfolk, but the novelist totally ignores this concept. So, I consider that the novel is beyond a traditional epistolary novel because the female protagonist grabs the attention and sympathy of the readers. But the style of the novel limits the scope of the development of other characters because the readers are forced to focus on the female protagonist’s words in the form of letters.
Personally, I enjoyed the text as a work of art because the same helped me to realize the importance of decision making in real life. From a different angle of view, the novel is similar to an autobiography because the female protagonist’s letters unmask her personal life. So, the readers are allowed to be with the female protagonist and her unique views on human relationships.
My overall reaction/opinion is that this work is helpful to understand the relationship between social status and marriage. I wish to read more on this theme because the same is related to human psychology. Besides, the author makes use of letters to unveil the human mind entangled in problems within private/public domains. I recommend this work to those who like to know more about human psychology and femininity because the same helps to perceive life from a different angle of view.
Richardson, Samuel. Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded. London: Harrison and Company, 1786. Print.