Theme Of Abuse In The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall

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Like modern society, the Victorian Era is not free from stories of abuse whether that be domestic abuse or alcohol abuse, both of which are discussed in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. This book was “an early definer of the crime of spousal sexual abuse, long before that term or its meaning were recognized by Victorian society” (page 3, I Could do with Less Carressing). That is not to say that spousal abuse did not exist, it just was not acknowledged. People would hear of abuse and turn a blind eye to it because it was simply not their business. It was something that was not discussed. Sexuality was becoming a topic in the Victorian period as the discussion of men and women increased. Men were seen as slaves to their sexual appetite, they could …show more content…
Charlotte believed that The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and “the choice of subject was an entire mistake” (page 304, Wuthering Heights). Charlotte then goes on to say that Anne had pure motives but the subject matter was too crude. Charlotte believed that Anne “hated her work, but would pursue it” (page 305, Wuthering Heights). Charlotte made these claims after Anne's death so Anne was unable to defend these claims. However, in the preface for the second edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, she says that she wanted to write the truth. The truth is so rarely the safest option, the truth is hard to pursue. As Anne put it, “to represent a bad thing in its least offensive light...is the most agreeable course...but is it the most honest or the safest? Is it better to reveal the snares and pitfalls of life to the young...or to cover them with branches and flowers” (page 4, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)? Anne had to make a choice as she was writing a difficult subject matter. She had a choice between the honest or the safe path. Anne chose to write the truth, even if it was scandalous. Anne would rather show people the hard aspects of life than to hide the challenges with a beautiful life so that it would be a surprise to whomever walks on it. Charlotte was attempting to protect her sisters name, to defend her, even though it was by denying something her sister worked so hard on. This novel was seen as something that was wicked, so wicked in fact that Anne had to defend how proud she was of her work and the light it shed on a shocking

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