Paper on Frances Burney’s Evelina

I wrote this paper to explore the début of a young woman in 18th century society who goes through adventurous experiences and acts as a guide for us on how to behave as a lady in the 18th century. However, more so than that, Frances Burney narrates how Evelina finds her way up and down the social ladder, to which I make the argument that by the end of the novel, Evelina has successfully made her way up.

In this paper, I traverse the various forms of company that Evelina has had throughout the novel, as well as where she has been and with who. As well as how Evelina’s interactions with different individuals from differing levels of the social hierarchy frames her position in the social ladder. This notion is particularly very key, as Evelina starts off with a blank slate in society – this is because she has no title, and no name associated with her. In the 18th century, it was very important to know who you were related to, in order to decide one’s status. Due to Evelina’s special circumstances, it is truly interesting to see the lengths that must be taken to ensure her potential position, as well what she goes through to keep it.