The Mill on the Floss

Topics: Victorian era, Victorian literature, Charles Dickens Pages: 11 (4241 words) Published: April 5, 2009
The Victorian era of the United Kingdom was the period of Queen Victoria's rule from June 1837 to January 1901.[1] This was a long period of prosperity for the British people and calamity for many of its dominion subjects, as profits gained from the overseas British Empire, as well as from industrial improvements at home, allowed a large, educated middle class to develop. Some scholars would extend the beginning of the period—as defined by a variety of sensibilities and political concerns that have come to be associated with the Victorians—back five years to the passage of the Reform Act 1832.

The era was preceded by the Georgian period and succeeded by the Edwardian period. The latter half of the Victorian era roughly coincided with the first portion of the Belle Époque era of continental Europe. Nineteenth century Britain saw a massive population increase, leading to increase in Poverty.

Victorian literature is the literature written in the UK during Queen Victoria's reign. This period, inspite of the economic and social difficulties that it faced has produced some of the best known writers and most treasured novels of all time. A great deal of poetry was also written during the Victorian Era, by Tennyson and Browning and other poets which have also become a legendary asset to literature. Some important Victorian novelists are Emily, charloette and Anne Bronte, George Eliot, Charles dickens, Jane Austen and poets like Alfred lord Tennyson, Robert Browning and Christina Rossetti.

During the Victorian era, the woman’s place was considered at home. As the mother, as the wife, as the sister. A woman was essentially a home maker and was not ever considered for education, management or business. As a result, the intelligence of most women was supressed.There was rigid societal versions of the ideal Victorian women and most women during their upbringing were pushed forcefully into this mould. Those who did not fit were considered 'unworthy' and held at a low stand. Society gave no space for a woman to flourish as an individual. There was no emphasis on her individual faults, or gifts. The Victorian woman was looked at through a particular frame. Women were kept away from the Public sphere. The Victorian era, 1837-1901 was seen as the domestic age where a woman's place was treasured at home. Queen Victoria came to represent a kind of feminity which was associated with motherhood and respectability. The Victorian woman was never seen as intellectual or professional but as mother, wife and daughter. Where was the woman to express her feelings? Where was she to reflect her opinions? No place in even family judgments was considered for women. It is not that they were all not loved and ill-treated...Many of them lived life in great comfort. But women were never seen as individuals, just as bits of furniture that were arranged and whose main purpose was to look beautiful and add elegance to the environment. If this purpose was served, the woman held no other importance. Other than the queen, who was the ideal woman?

The ideal Victorian woman was one who was completely assigned to the private sphere, she did not know what was going on outside her home and she did not question. She worked her household chores and was presentable and pleasant to the men of the house. She accepted her place in the sexual hierarchy. Her role was that of helpmeet and domestic manager. She was pious and respectable; she had no time for leisure and enjoyment. Her life was devoted to her family, particularly the men. However, as many romantic fictions show…the woman was not a weak, dumb passive creature. She was upright, busy and responsible towards her family and its development. Even though she was completely separated from the public sphere of politics, business and economics she played an important role at home. The home was seen as the haven from the outside world. It was seen as the escape. The woman created this escape. Without a woman, a...
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