Essay on Elizabeth Gaskell's "Wives and Daughters"

Essay on Elizabeth Gaskell's "Wives and Daughters"

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Elizabeth Gaskell was the most established female figure in Victorian British Literature. By the time she blossomed into a literary career, she was thirty-eight years old. Most of her novels centered on the plight of the working people in England struggling to survive and dealing with the social stigma of class and wealth. Even though she received harsh criticism from critics for having sympathy for the poor, it didn’t deter her from a successful writing career, nor deny her talent as a writer. In her last work Wives and Daughters; Gaskell implements her satire writing style to examine social issues in England. In August of 1864, Cornhill Magazine published her first novel called, Wives and Daughters.
Brief Summary of Wives and Daughters:
In the story of Wives and Daughters, Molly Gibson is the much-loved daughter of a widowed town doctor. Dr. Gibson is yearning for a companion as well as a mother figure of his seventeen-year-old daughter Molly.
Squire Hamley and his disable wife are close friends to Molly and her father. On occasion, Molly would spend time with the Hamley’s who lover as if she was one of their own children. The Hamley’s have two son’s inspiring to be scholars of science at Cambridge University. Squire and his wife, dote on their oldest son Osborne because they consider him to be a genius with a guarantee successful future and riches. On the other hand, Roger is portrayed as a passive vessel that won’t amount to nothing more than a good lad with no grand success in his future. The youngest son Roger returned home from Cambridge to report news about the oldest son, Osborne and his failure to meet the standards of the scholars at Cambridge. When Molly’s eyes met Roger’s lovely face, she quickly became ench...


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...skell puts Molly’s reputation as a respectable young lady on the line by insinuating that she was behaving unfashionably with Mr. Preston. For the women of the Victoria era, a large burden was placed upon their shoulders, which nobody can carry or maintain their entire life. While the novel provides plenty of insight into the different characters with a splash of comedy, it still addresses critical and social roles women contend with in a male dominated society in the 1800’s.
In most of her novels, Gaskell was expressing the need for social reform if people were going to be able to survive.



Works Cited

Gaskell, Elizabeth. Wives and Daughters. Ed. Angus Easson. USA New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Gaskell, Elizabeth. “Gender Matters.” Victorian Web.
. Web. 25 August 2000.
www.wikiepedia.com

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