This essay will deal with Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s reliance on the gender politics of male weeping in Aurora Floyd. As Braddon criticism changes its concern from female-oriented transgression to the emergence of diverse masculinities, critics’ readings of Aurora Floyd also shift their concern to the issue of masculinities. Following this critical trend, this essay will explore the ways in which Aurora Floyd presents an ideal form of Victorian masculinity in the character of John Mellish. Different from conventional ideal masculine identities, John Mellish presents as a gentleman who explicitly demonstrates his emotional fluctuation in contrast to James Conyers, a working-class villain, who never expresses his feelings. Particularly, the novel depicts John Mellish’s weeping, habitually done and repeatedly demonstrated, as a sign that a male character is affected by female unconventionality and unruliness. Simultaneously, John Mellish’s weeping is naturalized as a positive means of expressing his interior self and legitimated as a sign of the genuine worth of his male character in protecting his wife. Eventually, his emotional articulation is used to prove the gender superiority of middle-class gentlemen and class hegemony against James Conyers’ defiance and class transgression.
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