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Rules about Marriage and Property in the Victorian Era

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Ben Dover

on 20 November 2013

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Transcript of Rules about Marriage and Property in the Victorian Era

Rules about Marriage and Property in the Victorian Era
Basic Rules of Marriage
-Marriage: business first, love second
-You were encouraged to marry within the same class
-You could marry "up" in class rank, but marrying "down meant marrying beneath your status (Ziegenfuss)
-The husband of the engaged couple had to first prove "that he could support his new bride in the lifestyle she was accustomed to" (Ziegenfuss)
- After marriage, the man gained control of all of the woman's possessions*
- An unmarried woman gained control of her possessions and inheritance at age 21 (Ziegenfuss)
Basic Rules of Courtship
-The financial positions of both families were the main focus of the relationship (Ziegenfuss)
-Only emotional consideration was considered after the business aspect was settled
-Engagement : 6 months - 2 years (Hoppe)
-During this time they were expected to follow a host of rules*, and if you did not the engagement would most likely be called off and the woman's reputation ruined (not as much the man's (Hoppe)
- Fun fact: there was some liberty given to women in flirting, but it could only be done through fanning* (Hoppe)
Basic Rules of Divorce
-You could only divorce if there was proof of adultery (Ziegenfuss)
-Men could claim for a adulterous third party, but women had to have proof of “engaged in incest, bigamy, or excessive cruelty” (Marriage and Divorce)
-"Men were viewed to “take care” of their wives, and thought that their fidelity should not matter; women on the other hand, if caught cheating, were seen as disrespecting the “care” of their husbands" (Marriage in the Victorian Era)
-Divorce was extremely expensive, so it wasn't seen as practical in any form (Hoppe)
-80,000 prostitutes in 1887 (London)
-3% of gen pop
-prostitution was considered the same as drunkenness, blasphemy, and other petty crimes
-Ok for men to do such things
Connection to Jane Erye
What was Important to Woman
Money/ Power were almost always the most important.
A man was the only true source of financial and social stability in a woman's life.
Woman were extremely careful in finding a suitable husband.
Love was rarely a part of marriage.
Connection to "Jane Eyre"
"...she loves him, or, if not his person, at least his purse. I know she considers the Rochester estate eligible to the last degree; though (God pardon me!) I told her something on that point an hour ago which made her look wondrous grave:" (Bronte 213).
Connection to "Jane Eyre"
"He kissed me repeatedly. when i loooked up, on his leaving arms, there stood the widow, pale, grave, and amazed. i only smiled at her and ran upstairs." (Bronte 275).
Love in the Victorian Era
Few marriages were out of love
Marriage for some woman was a method of survival
Sex outside of marriage was considered adultery
Adultery was not uncommon
A Woman's Role in Marriage
Primarily focused on providing children for the man.
It was social taboo for a married woman to work
Very strict divorce rules
All property, money, and children belong to the husband in any marriage
Connection to "Jane Eyre"
"Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex." (Bronte 119).
Works Cited
-Boticelli. The Birth of Aphrodite. 1486. Http://www.pinterest.com/pin/228909593531700827/. Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
-Craik, Elizabeth M. "Women and the Law in Victorian England." PVM's Homepage. Ed. Elizabeth M. Craik. St-Andrews, 1984. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~bp10/pvm/en3040/women.shtml>.
-Dali, Salvador. Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War). 1936. http://thesoundoftrees.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/a-digital-soft-construction-with-boiled-beans/. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.
-De Tocqueville, Alexis. "Democracy in America." 1835.
-Eyck, Jan Van. The Marriage of Giovanni Arnofini and Giovanna Cenami. 1434. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kraftgenie/4504242105/. National Gallery, London.
-Fowles, John. (Italicisis) French Lieutenant's Woman (End Italicisis). 1969.
"Historical Analysis: Women as the "the Sex" During TheVictorian Era." Historical Analysis: Women as the "the Sex"

During TheVictorian Era. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
- Hoppe, Michelle J. Courting the Victorian Woman. Ed. M Hoppe. Marvelicious, 1998. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article009.html>.
-"Middlemarch: Family & Social Rituals." British Literature Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
-"Penn Special Collections-Keffer-Hippopotamus Polka." Penn Special Collections-Keffer-Hippopotamus Polka. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
-"The Victorian Web: An Overview." The Victorian Web: An Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
-Ziegenfuss, Jen. "Marriage in the Victorian Era." Marriage in the Victorian Era. Ed. Jen Ziegenfuss. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/agunn/teaching/enl3251/vf/pres/ziegenfuss.htm>.

Rochester had multiple mistresses and a few children. One of his wives was from the carribean. Therefore he married beneath his class.
Rules of sex
-Frowned upon by the christian religion.
-Society saw no wrong being done.

-If women had been know to have committed adultery, they were not suitable for marriage.

-against the rules for a woman to have realtions with
other men

-men could have multiple wives

-if a woman committed adultery, they were considered "ruined" or "fallen"
"Once more I took off my handkerchief-once more I thought of the cakes of bread in the little shop. Oh, but for a crust! For but one mouthful to allay the pang of famine!" (323).

What a Man Wants
Pages 137-138
Mr. Rochester is a lil' bit tipsy
He wants the Jane
Sex w/o Marriage
Might as well go to London and be a prostitute (French Lieutenant's Woman)
Obvious gain
Fertility = Power in Aristocracy ("Democracy in America")
Frequency of STIs
Syphilis (Jenna's Presentation)
Chapters 31-32
Sinjin wants Jane, but he WANTS Rosamond
Jane = good
The Hilary Clinton
Rosamond = bad
The Monica Lewinsky
Men did have both (French Lieutenant's Woman)
London prostitute on the side
The Good or the Bad?
"The Birth of Venus" c. 1486 by Boticelli
The Quote
"'You examine me , Miss Eyre,' said he: 'do you think me handsome?'" (138)
i.e. let's go back to my "adobe" *wink wink*
The Quote
"'That I should like to have it is certain: whether it would be judicious or wise is another question.'" (403)
Symbolic talk if I ever heard symbolic talk (and the amount of times that I've flirted with closeted gay men: I've heard symbolic talk)
"Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War)" 1936 by Salvador Dali (add accent over the "i")
Provide for family
Sinjin's husband instincts
Sinjin wanting to give Jane mo' stuff (391)
Sinjin wanting Jane to keep all the money fo' herself (418-421)
Aristocracy vs. American way
("Democracy in America")
Man's Role in Marriage
"The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami" 1434 by Jan van Eyck
The Quote
"'But perhaps your accommodations - your cottage - your furniture - have disappointed your expectations? They are, in truth, scanty enough; but-'" (391)
He wanna put a ring on it.
Conqueror I might be of the house, but the inmate would escape to heaven before I could call myself possessor of its clay dwelling-place...if you would, seized against your will, you will elude the grasp like essence... (Bronte 370)
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