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Essay from the year 2014 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0 (A in England), Oxford University, language: English, abstract: The aim of this essay on Margaret Cavendish's novel "The Contract" is to approach the text from a new perspective and to attempt a close reading of the narrative strategies in the novel and the way the mode of narration mirrors society's wish to capture and determine social relations. Research has already shown that "The Contract" is "the earliest extended critique in English prose fiction of the marriage market from a woman's standpoint" (Donovan 59). Attention has been drawn to the political references and allusions made in "The Contract", and to the gender issues that are being raised in the novel. Concerning the former, Victoria Kahn has reminded us that romances were used politically during the reign of Charles I and the Protectorate (527) and has emphasized the analogy between the marriage contract and "the hierarchical, inequitable political relations of sovereign and subject" (527). This analogy is especially valid in the contemporary context of the engagement controversy (1649-1652), "when parliament sought to secure alliance to the new government of Cromwell after the execution of Charles I" and a statement of engagement had to be signed by all male citizens (535). According to her, "The Contract" raises questions about the validity (529), the different sorts of contracts, and the motivation of people to sign contracts (526). Kahn has shown that The Contract is a comment on "contemporary debates about political obligation", a comment that argues for a form of political obligation "that is based on love rather than on filial obligation" (529), and which ironically makes the royalist Cavendish "draw near to the parliamentarians' theory of an original and revocable contract between the people and their ruler" (530).