Contents Index

make others so

The aspirations to happiness of all the major characters of the novel take very different paths. Although less effectual than the principal male characters in bringing their dreams to reality, it might be said that the women characters are all more directly engaged in increasing the actual store of happiness in the world, whereas the men in general attach themselves to a theoretical concept that rules their destiny with often destructive results. Justine's emphasis on a practical ethics may also go beyond conventional gender roles, reflecting the down-to-earth necessities of a servant who has no choice but to work for and with others to increase human comfort.