How Does the Context in Which the Texts Are Set Shape the Values Which Are Explored Within Them?

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The Great Gatsby Pages: 3 (873 words) Published: March 25, 2011
How does the context in which the texts are set shape the values which are explored within them?

As each generation and era passes, new vales and morals are derived from the youths of these periods, and these are then inherently passed down to the next. Although the next generation may not conform to these values and disregard them, there remains a subtle link between them. This feature is also inherent in texts throughout time. The context in which a text is set, undoubtedly helps to shape the values which are explored within it. Two texts, in particular, exemplify this notion of context shaping values, those being The Sonnets from the Portuguese, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Context is defined as the circumstances that from the setting for an event. In the case of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets From the Portuguese, context plays a major role in the shaping of the values that are inherent throughout the text. Born and raised in the Regency Period, Barrett Browning grew up in a reasonably wealthy family that had derived their money from sugar plantations and slave labour in Jamaica. Unusually though, Barrett Browning, received a very good education, which obviously helped her in the writings of her sonnets, and is frequently referred to. The Regency Period, expressed quite distinctive art, literature and fashion, which obviously had some impact on Barrett Browning’s writings. When she started writing her poems in 1844, which were not intended for publication, she was under the influence of another context, the Victorian Period. Women of this time had no sexual rights and were deemed to be ‘social ornaments‘ rather than an equal. Marriage became a man’s prerogative yet a woman’s destiny and it provided social acceptance for a woman. Mrs Beeton, an expert on the duty of women during this period stated “the function of the mistress of the house is to resemble those of a general army and be ready to...
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