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Victorian Love

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Gülşen Aldemir

on 3 March 2013

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Transcript of Victorian Love

VICTORIAN LURVE Context "In my childhood it was generally agreed that the adjective 'Victorian' meant stuffy, buttoned-up, gloomy, cold, mawkish, prudish and hypocritical. Victorians wore dark, uncomfortable clothes and had dark, uncomfortable values. They inhabited a world of smugness and draughty corridors. They shrouded the legs of pianos in case the turn of a piece of wood might trigger lascivious thoughts... The curious thing about this prejudice was that a dislike of the taste of the Victorians ran alongside the painful recognition that the country they had created had enjoyed a much better standing in the world than [this] one... It strikes me now that so much of this dislike was the consequence of this fatuous sense of perceived injustice." - Jeremy Paxton Tess of the D'Urbervilles Plot Author Tess was written by Thomas Hardy, who was
born in 1840 in Dorset - where most of the book is
based. His fiction is considered neither traditionally
Victorian nor modernist, but somewhere in between.
Tess was published in 1891 and was not the first of his novels to be the focus of controversy. Hardy was seen to be very sympathetic of the lower classes, especially women who were victims of Victorian society's failings. He became famous for his compassionate and
controversial portrayal of young women victimized by
the self-righteous rigidity and hypocrisy of English
social morality. In Tess, Hardy's view on the
attraction of 'old money' names and status is one
of clear disgust, and this did not go down well
with the Victorian upper classes. Tess is sent to the D'Urbervilles to claim
kin, this goes badly. She's raped by Alec. She
has a baby that dies called 'Sorrow'. She falls in
love with a guy with the incredibly ironic name of
Angel. They get married. He tells her he slept
around once years ago, she tells him she was raped once years ago. He can't handle the fact that she's not a virgin. He leaves for Brasil. She has no money
and her family has no money so eventually Alec
comes back and offers to be... well, a sugar daddy.
Then Angel comes back and regrets everything.
It's a bit too late. Tess kills Alec and runs
away with Angel. They get caught.
She's executed. It's sad. Themes In Tess, and many of Hardy's other works,
there is a recurring theme of the injustice of
life. The events surrounding Tess' tragedy are
almost too cruel to be coincidence. Hardy creates a
moral atmosphere that is not moral and Christian, but immoral and pagan, as illustrated by the pre-christian overtones throughout. Another important theme is the changing of social class in Victorian England. The three main characters (Tess, Angel and Alec) all illicit
confusion regarding their social classes and this is the
primary catalyst for most of the events that take
place in the novel. Another theme is men
dominating over women,
which isn't very nice. Why this book is
so important... Thomas Hardy challenged Victorian views on sexual
morality by encouraging the reader to sympathise with a
working class 'fallen' woman. Hardy's willingness to describe
the rape, and his defiant insistence that Tess herself remains pure in spite of it, made the novel controversial. This made it very difficult to get the manuscript published anywhere, but eventually a magazine agreed on the condition that some parts would be censored. He was finally presented with the
opportunity to publish it as a book in 1891 and he did so, adding
the subtitle 'A pure woman' to 'Tess of the D'Ubervilles' just to
clear up any confusion surrounding his views on Tess. It's
important that people like Hardy questioned the
injustice and double standard applied to women who
had sex outside of marriage, or Victorian views
on women might have survived. North and South Author Plot Themes Extract Extract Author Plot Themes Extract Alice's Adventures
in Wonderland Margaret Hale is raised in the south with her cousin Edith,
but when Edith marries, Margaret returns to Hampshire County
in the South of England to live with her mother and her father, a
country clergyman. Their life is disrupted by her father's confession that
he is no longer able to remain true to the Church of England and will leave
his position to become a tutor in the northern industrial town of Milton. Her
mother Mrs Hale is also diagnosed with a terminal illness. Margaret takes charge
of most of the practical aspects of the move and then assumes charge of her
mother's illness and some household work. As well as learning more about her own
family's servant, Dixon, who has been with her mother since she was a girl, Margaret becomes friendly with textile worker Nicholas Higgins and his daughter Bessy, who is dying of consumption (tuberculosis) from inhaling textile dust. The
Milton workers' activism and independence appeal to Margaret; she rethinks both
class and labor relations as a result, including charitable relationships. Her strong
opinions and actions bring her into conflict with the family of John Thornton, a
factory owner and self-made man who is also one of her father's students. When
Margaret shields John from a stone thrown by a striking worker, however, he
avows his love for her. A series of obstacles to the relationship include
Margaret's initial rebuff of John and her dishonesty about her exiled
brother's secret return to his mother's deathbed. Before the ending
brings John and Margaret back together--as well as calming the
tension between workers and factory owners--Margaret
experiences not only the deaths of almost everyone she
loves, but also the suicide of one of the striking
workers. She inherits money and buys
the Cotton mill. The perceived difference between the north and South of England is the
main theme of the novel. Margaret is from the South of England, where her life
is easy and free in the countryside of Helstone. When she moves to the industrial
town of Milton, she finds people treat her differently because they presume she has
had an easy life. This is partly true, but in some characters the dislike of the south is mere
prejudice based on no real foundation. This is certainly true of the domineering Mrs.
Thornton, whose mistrust of southerners has little foundation as she has never traveled away
from the northern regions. At one point Mrs. Thornton states that if Margaret was a Milton girl,
she would be the perfect match for her son, but because she is not Mrs. Thornton presumes she
does not have any character.The novel is famous as an "industrial novel" that engages class struggle and suffering in newly industrialized Victorian cities like Manchester (or, as Gaskell calls it, Milton) and as an important female bildungsroman or coming-of-age novel. Margaret's public intervention in the strike ranks among the most exciting moments in Victorian literature.The novel also represents the fabric of daily life, including death, across more than one Victorian
social class. In the "gentle" Hale household, for example, secrecy surrounds Mrs. Hale's illness.
Mr. Hale proves himself unable to take an active role in his wife's care, just as he was unable to
tell her of his loss of faith in the Anglican Church. In the Higgins family, as in the family of the
suicide Boucher, secrecy is a luxury and no one struggles over the right to do what caregiving
can be done in the context of poverty. As illness edges into death, however, the novel stresses
how much the two families share. Mr. Hale's death from heart failure, followed by the
death by stroke of Mr. Bell, Hale's mentor and Margaret's godfather, make
Margaret an independent heiress, in a sense preparing her for marriage to John.
Margaret's development is as much influenced by her experiences with dying
and death as it is by her experience with labor relations. Elizabeth Stevenson was born in London on 29 September
1810, the daughter of a Unitarian minister. After her mother's
early death, she was raised by an aunt who lived in Knutsford in
Cheshire. In 1832, she married William Gaskell, also a Unitarian
minister, and they settled in the industrial city of Manchester.
Motherhood and the obligations of a minister's wife kept her busy.
However, the death of her only son inspired her to write her first novel,
'Mary Barton', which was published anonymously in 1848. It was an
immediate success, winning the praise of Charles Dickens and Thomas
Carlyle. Dickens invited her to contribute to his magazine, 'Household
Words', where her next major work, 'Cranford', appeared in 1853. 'North
and South' was published the following year. Gaskell's work brought her
many friends, including the novelist Charlotte Brontë. When Charlotte
died in 1855, her father, Patrick Brontë, asked Gaskell to write her
biography. The 'Life of Charlotte Brontë' (1857) was written with
admiration and covered a huge quantity of firsthand material
with great narrative skill. Gaskell died on 12 November
1865, leaving her longest work, 'Wives and Daughters'
incomplete. 'Mr. Thornton,' said Margaret, shaking all over with her
passion, 'go down this instant, if you are not a coward. Go
down and face them like a man. Save these poor strangers, whom
you have decoyed here. Speak to your workmen as if they were
human beings. Speak to them kindly. Don't let the soldiers come in
and cut down poor-creatures who are driven mad. I see one there who is.
If you have any courage or noble quality in you, go out and speak to them, man to man.'

He turned and looked at her while she spoke. A dark cloud came over his face while he listened. He set his teeth as he heard her words.

'I will go. Perhaps I may ask you to accompany me downstairs, and bar
the door behind me; my mother and sister will need that protection.'

'Oh! Mr. Thornton! I do not know--I may be wrong--only--'

But he was gone; he was downstairs in the hall; he had
unbarred the front door; all she could do, was to follow
him quickly, and fasten it behind him, and
clamber up the stairs again with a sick
heart and a dizzy head. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through
the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, are two of the
most famous nineteenth-century children's fantasy novels.
They paved the way to a new era of children's literature in
English: books that didn't have to be didactic or moralistic, that didn't teach children lessons. Books that simply created imaginative worlds in which children could let their minds roam free. The result was a style of writing that simultaneously embraced nonsense and logic. Lewis Carroll was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's pen name. He
was an Oxford mathematician. He was apparently incredibly shy
and stuttered. His inspiration for Alice was Alice Liddell. He loved
children and telling stories. He was also an amateur
photographer who liked to tae pictures of children. He was
far more comfortable with children than he was with
adults. Over time, Carroll’s combination of
sophisticated logic, social satire, and pure
fantasy would make the book a classic for
children and adults alike. A lot of crazy stuff happens... "In the name of our love, forgive me!" she whispered with a dry mouth. "I have forgiven you for the same!"

And, as he did not answer, she said again----

"Forgive me as you are forgiven! I forgive you, Angel."

"You--yes, you do."

"But you do not forgive me?"

"O Tess, forgiveness does not apply to the case! You were one person; now you are another. My God--how can forgiveness meet such a grotesque--prestidigitation as that!"

He paused, contemplating this definition; then suddenly broke into horrible laughter--as unnatural and ghastly as a laugh in hell.

"Don't--don't! It kills me quite, that!" she shrieked. "O have mercy upon me--have mercy!"

He did not answer; and, sickly white, she jumped up.

"Angel, Angel! what do you mean by that laugh?" she cried out. "Do you know what this is to me?"

He shook his head.

"I have been hoping, longing, praying, to make you happy! I have thought what joy it will be to do it, what an unworthy wife I shall be if I do not! That's what I have felt, Angel!"

"I know that."

"I thought, Angel, that you loved me--me, my very self! If it is I you do love, O how can it be that you look and speak so? It frightens me! Having begun to love you, I love you for ever--in all changes, in all disgraces, because you are yourself. I ask no more. Then how can you, O my own husband, stop loving me?"

"I repeat, the woman I have been loving is not you."

"But who?"

"Another woman in your shape." Throughout the course of Alice’s Adventures in
Wonderland, Alice goes through a variety of absurd
physical changes. The discomfort she feels at never being
the right size acts as a symbol for the changes that occur
during puberty. Alice finds these changes to be traumatic, and
feels discomfort, frustration, and sadness when she goes through
them. She struggles to maintain a comfortable physical size. Alice encounters a series of puzzles that seem to have no clear solutions, which imitates the ways that life frustrates
expectations. Alice expects that the situations she encounters will
make a certain kind of sense, but they repeatedly frustrate her
ability to figure out Wonderland; like the Hatter's riddle, the
Queen's croquet game, and the Caucus race. Alice continually
finds herself in situations in which she risks death, and
while these threats never materialize, they suggest that
death lurks just behind the ridiculous events of
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a present
and possible outcome. The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at
last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in
a languid, sleepy voice.
"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied,
rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I
WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."
"What do you mean by that?" said the Caterpillar sternly. "Explain yourself!"
"I can't explain MYSELF, I'm afraid, sir" said Alice, "because I'm not myself, you see."
"I don't see," said the Caterpillar.
"I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly," Alice replied very politely, "for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing."
"It isn't," said the Caterpillar.
"Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet," said Alice; "but when you have to turn into a chrysalis--you will some day, you know--and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?"
"Not a bit," said the Caterpillar.
"Well, perhaps your feelings may be different," said Alice; "all I know is, it would feel very queer to ME."
"You!" said the Caterpillar contemptuously. "Who are YOU?"
Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar's making such VERY short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, "I think, you ought to tell me who YOU are, first."
"Why?" said the Caterpillar. Thank you!
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