For most working class women marriage was not a matter of emotion but a matter of necessity for survival. Wages were so low for the working class that women would never have any form of meat in their diets and were forced to rely on low quality foods to survive, such hardship is described by a textile worker who lamented on contents of her pantry: “butter we never have. A roast of meat none of us ever sees (Smith, p.147). In “The Struggle for The Breeches: Plebian Marriage” Anne K. Clark explains that marriage was seen as an opportunity for working class men and women to pool their wages together (Clarke, p.121). Frau Hoffman expresses this notion when she discloses the groom’s fir...
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...age between her mother and father in which she remarks that her “father had particularly admired [her] mother for her sweetness” (Beeton, p. 67). Also the barmaid from the primary sources does receive help from a male figure who accompanied her home and made sure she was not “molested” (Beeton, p. 260). An elderly working woman, Frau Hoffman, describes a rather positive and long marriage between her and her husband and stresses that a woman must “be faithful and good to her husband and honor and love him” (Beeton, p.364). But due to the extreme poverty found in the working class, the conditions in factories, and the evidence in popular songs for the abuse of women it can be assumed that many working class women did not experience pleasant marriages and their economic and legal vulnerability allowed for negative male relationships to occur for a majority of women.
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