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By Anne Brontë

Written while women—and staff generally—had few rights in England, Agnes Grey exposes the brutal inequities of the inflexible type process in mid-nineteenth century Britain. Agnes comes from a good middle-class relations, yet their monetary reverses have pressured her to hunt paintings as a governess. Pampered and guarded at domestic, she is unprepared for the cruel truth of a governess’s lifestyles. on the Bloomfields and later the Murrays, she suffers lower than the snobbery and sadism of the egocentric, self-indulgent upper-class adults and the shrieking insolence in their spoiled youngsters. Worse, the original social and financial place of a governess—“beneath” her employers yet “above” their servants—condemns her to a lifetime of loneliness.

Less celebrated than her older sisters Charlotte and Emily, Anne Bronte was once additionally much less drawn to spinning wildly symbolic, romantic stories and extra decided to attract reasonable photos of stipulations in Victorian England that desire altering. whereas Charlotte’s Jane Eyre includes a governess who finally and improbably marries her corporation, Agnes Grey bargains with the particular stories of middle-class operating girls, reports 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)

Example text

The trip proved her last; Anne Brontȵ died on May 28, 1849, and was buried in Scarborough. The World of Anne Brontȵ and Agnes Grey 1820 Anne Brontȵ is born on January 17, in Thornton, York- shire. She is the sixth and last child of Patrick and Maria Branwell Brontȵ; her father is a curate. The family moves from Thornton to Haworth. Percy Bysshe Shelley舗s Prometheus Unbound and Walter Scott舗s Ivanhoe are published. George III dies, and George IV is crowned king. 1821 Maria Branwell Brontȵ dies of cancer.

This, then, is where we can begin to understand Anne舗s novel: Governesses occupied a social position that was both intensely marginal (in their own families, in society at large) and intensely central (in that they were concerned with the care of children). We see this from the start of Agnes Grey舗s career. She begins in the center of her loving (if economically unstable) middle-class family, the beloved younger child of loving parents. Once she leaves to take up her first position with the Bloomfields, she is cast adrift in a family that hardly seems to be aware of her existence, except to plague and abuse her.

Even Agnes舗s parents舗 marriage, though one of enduring love, is far from faultless: As Agnes herself observes, her father舗s original economic improvidence is compounded by his inability to rouse himself to any action to repair his fortune, thus dooming Agnes herself to this life of genteel penury. ) There are two particular incidents that reinforce this message with chilling force. The first is when Agnes finds Master Tom Bloomfield in possession of some fledglings he has taken from their nest; with the encouragement of his uncle, he is determined to torture and torment them.

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