Concerning Belinda by Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd
“Concerning Belinda” is a novel written by Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd and published in 1914.
It is a character-driven novel that explores the themes of gender roles, social norms, and the power dynamics of relationships.
The novel is centered around the character of Belinda Warren, a young woman who is trying to navigate the expectations and limitations placed on women in early 20th century society. Belinda is a complex and well-drawn character, who is intelligent, independent, and spirited. She is determined to make her own choices and live life on her own terms, despite the societal pressure to conform to traditional gender roles.
Belinda’s story is told through a series of letters, written by various characters in the novel. These letters offer different perspectives on Belinda’s life and experiences, and they provide a nuanced and layered portrayal of the character.
One of the main themes of the novel is the tension between individual freedom and societal expectations. Belinda’s desire for independence and self-determination puts her at odds with the restrictive gender norms of her time. She struggles to find a balance between her own desires and the expectations of her family and society.
Another important theme of the novel is the power dynamics of relationships. The novel explores the ways in which men and women interact with each other, and how these interactions can be shaped by societal expectations and gender roles. Belinda’s relationships with the men in her life are complex and fraught with tension, as she tries to assert her own desires and needs within a system that is stacked against her.
Throughout the novel, Brainerd also addresses issues related to class and privilege. Belinda is a member of a wealthy and influential family, and her experiences are shaped by her position of privilege. However, the novel also acknowledges the struggles of those who are less fortunate, and it critiques the ways in which the upper classes often exploit and ignore the needs of the working class.
One of the strengths of “Concerning Belinda” is its well-drawn characters. Belinda is a complex and fully realized character, and the other characters in the novel are also well-drawn and nuanced. The novel offers a sensitive and insightful portrayal of the ways in which individuals interact with each other, and how these interactions are shaped by societal norms and expectations.
Overall, “Concerning Belinda” is a thoughtful and engaging novel that explores important themes related to gender, class, and power. The novel’s complex characters, nuanced portrayal of relationships, and insightful critique of societal norms make it a fascinating read for anyone interested in exploring the complexities of human relationships and identity