By Anne Brontë
Written whilst womenand employees generallyhad few rights in England, Agnes Grey exposes the brutal inequities of the inflexible type approach in mid-nineteenth century Britain. Agnes comes from a decent middle-class kin, yet their monetary reverses have compelled her to hunt paintings as a governess. Pampered and guarded at domestic, she is unprepared for the tough truth of a governess’s lifestyles. on the Bloomfields and later the Murrays, she suffers below the snobbery and sadism of the egocentric, self-indulgent upper-class adults and the shrieking insolence in their spoiled childrens. Worse, the original social and fiscal place of a governessbeneath” her employers yet above” their servantscondemns her to a lifetime of loneliness.
Less celebrated than her older sisters Charlotte and Emily, Anne Bronte used to be additionally much less drawn to spinning wildly symbolic, romantic stories and extra decided to attract lifelike photographs of stipulations in Victorian England that want altering. whereas Charlotte’s Jane Eyre contains a governess who finally and improbably marries her organization, Agnes Grey bargains with the particular reviews of middle-class operating girls, reviews Anne had herself persisted in the course of her hateful tenure as a governess.
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Additional info for Agnes Grey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
I never care about the footmen; they舗re mere automatons舒it舗s nothing to them what their superiors say or do; they won舗t dare to repeat it; and as to what they think舒if they presume to think at all舒of course, nobody cares for that. 舡 (page 175) Š I shall never forget that glorious Summer evening, and always remember with delight that steep hill, and the edge of the precipice where we stood together watching the splendid sunset mirrored in the restless world of waters at our feet舒with hearts filled with gratitude to Heaven, and happiness, and love舒almost too full for speech.
The four young children, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne, their mother and elder sisters all dead, now in the care of a stern Calvinist aunt. The Reverend Patrick Brontȵ, a failed writer himself, reclusive, brooding, and subject to periods of dark rage. Then, through the agency of a present of toy soldiers, the children begin writing sagas in which the soldiers come to life. All four are gifted, though Branwell drinks himself to an early death, while the three young women precociously develop writing careers舒Emily dying young of the family curse of tuberculosis, and Charlotte living longer, only to die shortly after her marriage.
The modern secular reader, perhaps in the wake of William Empson舗s rewriting (in Milton舗s God, 1961) of Paradise Lost as a tale of sympathy for the devil, prefers religious novels to embrace doubt, disbelief, and disharmony; loss of faith is the inevitable outcome of struggle. In sharp contrast, we have in Agnes Grey a novel in which faith triumphs, and it does so not by separating itself from everyday concerns, but by immersing itself fully in them. Its great success is to discover the sacred in the everyday, thus remaining loyal to both the divine and the human.