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Understanding ‘George Egerton’s’

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1 Understanding ‘George Egerton’s’
"Wedlock" A tragic short story written in Feminism’s earliest years

2 Contents Biography Biography (contd.1) Egerton’s Works
Historical Context “Wedlock” Plot Plot (contd.1) Plot (contd.2) Themes and Ideas TI1 TI2 TI3 TI4 Importance to Feminist Literature

3 Biography of ‘George Egerton’
Mary Chevalita Bright: nomme-de-plume of George Egerton Intended to be an artist; finances prevented schooling Traveled extensively in youth Chose to write

4 Biography (contd.) Married three times:
1888: H.H.W. Melville; 1891: Egerton Clairmonte; 1901: Reginald Golding Bright Labeled the voice of the “advanced” New Woman of the Victorian Period Considered controversial writer and “erotomaniac” More information on ‘George Egerton’

5 Egerton’s Works Keynotes: 1893 Discords: 1894 Symphonies: 1897
Fantasies: 1898 Wheel of God: 1898 Rosa Arorosa: 1901 Files in Amber: 1905 His Wife’s Family: 1908 The Backsliders: 1910 Camilla states her Case: 1925

6 Historical Context Victorian period, rising theory of “New Woman”
Darwin’s Origin of Species, 1859 Struggle for woman’s suffrage Reign of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert British empire expanding rapidly

7 “Wedlock” Printed in Discords in 1894 Known for its “trenchant pathos”
Read “Wedlock”

8 Plot Setting: English suburb, site of new residential development
Family: Mr. & Mrs. Susan Jones and Mr. Jones’ three children from previous marriage Mrs. Jones has child who, because of misfortunate circumstances, lives with her sister Mrs. Jones struggles with alcoholism

9 Plot (contd.) Mr. Jones has promised Susan to get her child, if she agreed to marry They married; he failed to keep his promise Wife embittered Her daughter became deathly ill Husband purposely intercepted correspondence telling of child’s sickness

10 Plot (contd.) Wife finds hidden letter
Rushes to child, who has recently died After attending the funeral, she rushes home Kills Mr. Jones’ three children

11 Themes and Ideas Title Character of female writer
Significance of setting and introduction Purpose of woman’s actions

12 Title “Wed” + “lock” Bond of marriage Abuses of bond
The unfulfilled promises of the “lock” The influences of the poor marriage on the woman’s alcoholism

13 Character of Female Writer
Epitome of feminist, “New Woman”? Significance of Susan Jones’ life as “material The impact of class on the relationship between Susan Jones and the woman writer The writer’s insensitive apathy

14 Setting and Introduction
Poorer suburb: employment of slang English A new development settled by old ruins The intelligence of workers: alcoholism can be hereditary The relationship, because of setting, between woman and writer

15 Woman’s Actions Why kill children? Why not kill husband?
The hierarchy of control The disassociation with motherhood

16 Importance to Feminist Literature
Dissected both class and gender Reveals possible inadequacies of the Feminist movement Discusses the bondage of a bad marriage on both partners-- its destructiveness


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