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DANIKA ROCKETT UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE ENGLISH 371 Victorian Laws & Customs The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.

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Presentation on theme: "DANIKA ROCKETT UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE ENGLISH 371 Victorian Laws & Customs The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë."— Presentation transcript:

1 DANIKA ROCKETT UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE ENGLISH 371 Victorian Laws & Customs The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

2 Victorian Reform 1832, 1867, 1884 Reform Acts: More men can vote  Based on class/income 1864 Contagious Diseases Act: Accused prostitutes subject to gynecological exams and institutionalization 1870 Married Women’s Property Act: Women can receive some of their inheritance and can keep their own wages if they work 1878 Matrimonial Causes Act: Wives can file for legal separation and custody if their husband was found guilty of assault

3 Keep in mind when you read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall When does most of the action take place … ? Prior to 1839:  Divorce requires an Act of Parliament and is very expensive  Wives/mothers do not have legal rights over children  Husbands can legally abuse wives (and children) Prior to 1868:  Women could not attend universities Prior to 1872:  Woman could not train as professional artists (although some did) Prior to 1882:  Wives have no rights to their own inheritance or property

4 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Anne Brontë Used pseudonym Acton Bell Her sisters were famous authors, too: Charlotte Brontë (Currer Bell) and Emily Brontë (Ellis Bell) Attended the Clergy Daughter’s School Worked as a governess  Not a good experience Her brother was a severe alcoholic Wrote in a realistic style rather than a romantic one  She presented the multifaceted ways that women were oppressed Tenant (1848) was wildly popular, but disturbing Anne (left):

5 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Genres Epistolary novel Temperance novel Social critique It is utterly unfit to be put into the hands of girls … ~An early critic

6 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Vol. I : Characters Present day: 1848 J. Halford, Esq. Gilbert Markham, Gilbert Markham, 24 Mrs. Markham, mid-40s Rose Markham, 19 Fergus Markham, 17 Eliza Millward, 22 Miss (Mary) Millward, 28 Rev. Millward, 50s Mrs. Graham (Helen), 25 Arthur Graham, 5 Mrs. Wilson, mid-40s Jane Wilson, 26 Mr. Lawrence, Helen, 18 Mr. (Arthur) Huntingdon, 25 Annabella Willmont, 25 Esther Hargrave, 18 Millicent Hargrave, 20 the Maxwells (Helen’s aunt and uncle, 50s

7 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Vol. I : Plot The letter to Halford A Discovery An Interview A Controversy The Party The Studio Progression The Excursion The Present A Snake in the Grass A Contract and a Quarrel The Vicar Again A Têtê-À-Têtê and a Discovery A Return to Duty An Assault An Encounter and Its Consequences The Warnings of Experience Further Warnings The Miniature An Incident

8 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Vol. I: Themes Temperance  The Reverend, p. 19  Helen, pp. 30 – 31  Mr. Lawrence, p. 42 – 43 Social expectations for men and women  At home, p. 12 – 13,  Being unmarried, p. 27  Femininity in men, p. 33  Occupation, p. 47  Courtship, p. 56  Accepting gifts, pp  Women living alone, p. 95 Social customs  Church, p. 14  Visiting, pp. 28, 35  Manners, p. 37  Music, p. 41  Dance, p.44  Gilbert and Helen’s meetings  Inviting scandalous people to parties (p. 80)  Entering parties (p. 143)

9 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Vol. I: Themes Gossip  pp. 13 – 14  p. 37  p. 42  p. 51  p. 62  pp. 77 – 82  … “you know, there must be some foundation” (p. 89).  p. 96  p. 102 Treatment of children  p. 13  p. 18  p. 19  pp. 28 – 35  Femininity, p. 36  Boys v. Girls, p. 57

10 Themes, cont.: Attitudes about Marriage Warnings/Advice  p. 44 – 45  p. 58  p. 131 Then you must each fall into your proper place. You’ll do your business, and she, if she’s worthy of you, will do hers; but it’s your business to please yourself, and hers to please you …. (p. 58) You see what it is for women to affect to be different to other people. (p. 89)

11 In-class Essay Question (Choose 1) ½ - 1 page Use quotations from the book to support your essay 1. Mrs. Graham and Miss (Mary) Millward become friends. Miss Millward vehemently defends Mrs. (Helen) Graham, for example, on page 78: “I shouldn’t believe a word of it—I know Mrs. Graham too well.” Why do you think these particular women become friends? Do they have anything in common? 2. Helen Graham is considered very unconventional by Victorian standards. How does Helen’s character compare to that of some other women in the book? 3. Gilbert is a prominent character for most of Volume I. Do you think he changes in any way from the start to the finish of this section? How?


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