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Miss Julie: Historical Context

Harry, Aubrey, Johana and Farheen
by

Harry Cai

on 30 October 2012

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Transcript of Miss Julie: Historical Context

HISTORICAL CONTEXT Johan August nStrindberg Socialism Darwinism Woman's Suffrage Siri von Essen Frida Uhl Harriet Bosse Johan August Strindberg -Siri von Essen = Miss Julie
-Both aristocrats, create bond with
men of lower class
- feelings about marriage portrayed
in play - at 8 years old, Strindberg was
going to kill himself b/c of his
feelings for a girl
- parallels Jean's story that he tells
Julie
- “There was no hope of winning you,
of course, but you stood for how
hopeless it was ever to escape from
the class in which I was born.” “Friendship can only exist between persons with similar interests and points of view. Man and woman by the conventions of society are born with different interests and different points of view.” - August Strindberg “Why is it so painful to watch a person sink? Because there is something unnatural in it, for nature demands personal progress, evolution, and every backward step means wasted energy.” - August Strindberg - Miss Julie written in Sweden, 1888
- Age of Liberty: 1718 - 1771
- power shift from Monarch to Parliament
- increase of civil rights
- tax-paying females allowed to vote
- 1758: only allowed vote in national
elections
- 1771: women's suffrage destroyed - 1862:
vote granted
to women - unmarried women and
widowers allowed in
municipal elections - married women not allowed - 1884: suggestion to allow women to vote
in national elections declined - resents legal and social status of men
- wants to prove she is not inferior to them
- destroys herself in the process Father's traditionalism Mother's suffrage-style feminism - 19th century: pre-natalism
- child bearers, child-care givers, guardians of nation
- Carolus von Linnaeus supported "natural" motherhood - feminism = absurd, no morals or values
- human w/out morals or values = animal
- Julie has no morals & values therefore she has an uncontrollable urge to copulate w/ Jean
- Julie = product of new education for women (provided by her mother), weak religion & morality
- act b/w Julie & Jean = as natural as Diana & pug Henrik Ibsen
- 1879: A Doll's House
- hero of emancipated woman
in Strindberg's perspective Industrial Revolution Evolution by Natural Selection What is socialism? How is socialism related to the work? Darwinism and Early Evolution Change over time based on natural selection
Foundation of naturalism
Humans, like animals, are subject to the environment Social classes are environmental niches Strindberg also saw women like Miss Julie as biological abnormalities
Her outcome demonstrates directional selection
A warning to all such women Miss Julie and Selection Strindberg criticized the upper class through the protrayal of Julie.
The supposedly well behaved nobility turns out to carry out behaviours that were quite disreputable. Strindberg’s time was one of change
Social sturcture of 19th century Europe was quickly transforming
=emergence of new niche (middle class)
=aftermath of industrial revolution
=campaigns for women's suffrage
Caused natural selection to take effect on the human population
=those who are most flexible will take advantage of change
=those who are more suited to the change will thrive Environment August Johan Strindberg
- father born into family of class
- mother was a servant
- personal issues with differences
in class and gender conflicts - three marriages that ended
in bitterness and divorce
--> reflected in Miss Julie through the gender conflicts

- grew to be emotionally sensitive
and deeply affected by this
--> personal issues help build the plot of Miss Julie - Strindberg had three marriages that ended in bitterness and divorce
--> reflected in Miss Julie through the gender conflicts and battle between the sexes
- He grew to be emotionally sensitive and deeply affected by this
--> personal issues relating to the 1800s culture builds up the plot of Miss Julie Culture of the
Late 19th Century Distinction Between the
Class of People
Lower Class vs. Upper Class CLOTHING LIVING
CONDITIONS AVERAGE DAY NATIONALITY/
RELIGION - clothing represented their status
- long, colorful, bright, beaded, patterned
- The Polanaise: draped and layered gown
- fashion was influenced by other cultures mid 18th to 19th century
started in England, and eventually spread to neighbouring countries.
lead to massive changes in a rising lower/middle class
Strindberg wrote the play around the same time the revolution just spread to Sweden
the emergence of the middle class was referenced in the play, but was unsucessful due to capitalist nature at that time. Sadly, socialism isn't all fun and jolly as the first picture
It is based on the idea of social and economical co-operation and to equalize wealth.
Often through government intervention, state enterprices and common, social ownership.
Strindberg was sympathetic to the socialist cause, and many of his work criticizes the upper class and is promoted heavily in socialist countries because of that.
In the non-socialist environment setting of Miss Julie, Jean was financially oppressed and his ambitious goal of starting his own business was not able to succeed.
The estate acts as a microcosm of the current capitalist environment, and Strindberg criticizes it as it let to the tragic ending Jean is a peasant, but wants to rise up in the social hierarchy. What are some examples of his attempt?

Do you think the ending would drastically change if Strindberg wasn’t sympathetic to the socialist cause? How so? LEISURE - matching uniforms for servants in the same household
- black, grey, white or light blue
- women: long dress with white apron / bonnet
- men: plain long pants and shirt - advantage of living
in an upper class home
- job security and sanitary
living conditions
- group of servants stayed
together
- often in small rooms -homes were a symbol of their wealth and status
- houses had: bedrooms, halls, kitchens, living rooms, washing rooms, guest rooms, indoor toilet - immigrants were
mainly servants
( French and German)
- free churches
- more religious than
the upper class - upper class of Swedish descent
- aristocracy of noble families with hereditary titles
- family name symbol of power and social standing
- predominantly of Lutheran faith
- 19th century: legal to leave the Church of Sweden to convert to another religion - don't have much
leisure time
- typically 1 day off/month
- forbidden to sing, make noise, be loud - flaunt statuses to neighbors
- 'status- conscious'
- called balls, other social activities
- parties or gathering twice a week
- drank wine as a symbol of upper class celebration - from 6 A.M to midnight
- different duties for
different servants
- women: assist in dressing,
cooking, cleaning, laundry
- men: grooming, valet, footman, polish silver - spent flaunting to
friends about wealth
- drinking wine
- socializing, parties and gatherings
-wealth and status derived through investment and money management - Values of upper and lower class are very different
- Representation of the 1800s Culture In Miss Julie:
- clear depiction of difference in culture between the two classes
- Miss Julie is unable to live up to the standards of the upper class culture
- Jean goes past his boundaries of a lower class culture and climbs the 'tree' he has been wanting to his whole life
- Miss Julie is stripped of everything which eventually leads to her suicide
- Difference in the aspects of culture between lower and upper class is highly significant to the play.
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