During the Victorian Era, society had idealized expectations that all members of their culture were supposedly striving to accomplish. These conditions were partially a result of the development of middle class practices during the “industrial revolution… [which moved] men outside the home… [into] the harsh business and industrial world, [while] women were left in the relatively unvarying and sheltered environments of their homes” (Brannon 161). This division of genders created the ‘Doctrine of Two Spheres’ where men were active in the public Sphere of Influence, and women were limited to the domestic private Sphere of Influence. Both genders endured considerable pressure to conform to the idealized status of becoming either a masculine ‘English Gentleman’ or a feminine ‘True Woman’. The characteristics required women to be “passive, dependent, pure, refined, and delicate; [while] men were active, independent, coarse …strong [and intelligent]” (Brannon 162). Many children's novels utilized these gendere...
Another interesting note to mention is that Mrs. Jellyby is one of the few matriarchs within the Victorian age; her husband is described as a “nonentity” by Richard and literally has no voice, which consequently bequeaths Mrs. Jellyby with the power in the household (44). The dynamic of their relationship thus becomes a transgression of the Victorian feminine archetype also, in which the gender balance is traditionally firmly skewed toward the male spectrum. Through Esther’s interactions with the Jellyby children, the two mother figures are juxtaposed, which consequently works to highlight the maternal qualities of Esther. As Ada says, Esther “would make a home out of even this house” (46). These comparisons also help bring to light the image of the Victorian ideal in
During the Victorian era (1837-1901), there was a specific image that women were expected to conform to. This image was called the “Angel in the House,” named after a poem by Coventry Patmore. The poem detailed how the ideal woman should act; submissive, loyal, and pure. This ideal is shown through certain characters in A Tale of Two Cities. Lucie Manette, for example, is almost an exact replica of the Angel. Miss Pross, though she does deviate from the ideal, also represents the Angel. Madame Defarge, on the other hand, is the inverse of the Victorian ideal. By modeling the key female characters in A Tale of Two Cities after the Victorian Angel, Charles Dickens is trying to say that all women should seek to impersonate the Angel.
It is the aim of this piece to consider how two elements are developed in the opening chapters of three classic novels written by 19th century English women: Emma, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre, respectively. The elements to be considered are a) character; and b) character relationships. Consideration will be given to see how each opening chapter develops these two aspects, and the various approaches will be compared and contrasted as well.
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre may be superficially read as simply a sweet romance in which Jane ends up with the man of her dreams after overcoming many obstacles and challenges. But doing so misses the much deeper—richer—messages of Bronte's lasting masterpiece. A more thoughtful reading reveals this novel, especially its heroine Jane, challenging centuries-old gender roles which assume male supremacy, characterizing men as the dominant, more privileged gender, while women are oppressed into inferior and submissive roles. Of course this Victorian novel portrays the expected gender roles of both men and women in 19th century England, but Jane rises out of the patriarchy challenging the social roles assigned her with a personality marked by sass and self-assurance . Ms. Bronte, through Jane, ultimately demonstrates that women can live their lives on equal terms with—or independent of—men.
“Current views concerning Victorian femininity continued to be dominated by the 19th century concept of domestic purity and the association figure of the ideal woman, the ‘angle in the house’, carrying out her mission as wife, mother and daughter” (Swisher). During this era men had ...
Women play a life-changing and life-controlling role in Charles Dickens’ mid Victorian novel, Great Expectations. The main character, Pip, is constantly being moved and affected by the female characters, whether it be the harsh, brutal Mrs. Joe or the gorgeous yet fleeting Estella. Many believe that there are indeed only three types of women in all of Dickens’ works. In the novel Great Expectations, the female characters are in nature one of three things: evil, satirical, or Dickens’ representation of the perfect woman. There are three women that are particularly good examples of these qualities: Mrs. Joe, Mrs. Pocket and Estella.
Gender Bias in Dickens “Charles Dickens preferred workers the way he preferred Victorian women: grateful for favors received, humble, patient, and passive.” (Scheckner) Charles Dickens entered this world on February 7, 1812; he was born in Lindsport, Portsmouth, England. The time period in which he lived and the location in which he dwelled are both important because they had a great effect on his writing. His works were very gender-biased, full of symbolism and irony, and reflected the social structure of his time/place he lived. When looking at Dickens writings such as Great Expectations (1860) and Our Mutual Friend (1865), you see why many have made the claim that the male is supreme and the woman is simply a worker.
...ization of Masculinity in The Woman in White." Novel: A Forum on Fiction 37.1/2 (2003): 158-180. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 10 July 2010.
... She accomplished this by creating a sentimental novel formatted in this way as to appeal to her target audience. Stressing her own fears of her master and of recapture, she used often very direct personal pleas to appeal to the conscience and morality of the women, hoping to spark change in the social order.