Armstrong outlines a shift in political power that is a change in how and where we locate desire. This shift is made possible through the deep subjectification of the female character in novels. Thus, social change occurs with the woman as the vehicle for this change, without her being able to exercise any real political power or agency. Pamela simultaneously reflects and creates this “new woman”. We can understand this lack of agency through the relationship between clothing, writing, and the innermost self in Pamela.
Mr. B searching for letters
-- He is able to access her truest self through her writing, nonconsensually.
--Conflation of identity + sexuality for this new model of middle class women
--Her truest self is represented to us in the way her letters are written.
--Privacy of her letters becomes public
--Dressing across class → mobility (rise of middle class values)
--Middle class values imposed on Pamela as a character, she does not actually exercise political power
Pamela shows us how the rise of new middle class values and power goes hand in hand with the subordination and lack of agency of women.