Female Social Roles In Victorian And Modern Literature English Literature Essay

During the period between Victorian and modern age, female societal functions have changed significantly ; nevertheless, they still have remained some convention inherited from its old coevals. To analyze adult females and society of their clip, Charlotte Bronte in 19th century and Virginia Woolf in 20th century could supply the contemplation in a clear and realistic manner. However, there are similarities and differences in female societal functions in their ages. The purpose of this survey was to compare and contrast Bronte and Woolf ‘s portraiture of adult females and their coevalss in footings of professions, matrimony, and awareness. It is concluded that even though the Victorians pioneered to give the emancipation of adult females, they were barely abandon the domestic matrimony in Bronte ‘s fiction. On the other manus, Woolf had claimed adult females rights should be developed by economic independency, but she did non deny marriage. This may be involvement women’s rightists, socialists and literature readers, particularly who want to cognize more about adult females modern times.

Contentss

Abstraction

Introduction

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1. Working Women in the Literature of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf

1.1 Similarities

1.2 Differences

2. Wifes and Mothers in the Literature of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf

2.1 Similarities

2.2 Differences

3. The Awareness of Women in the Literature of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf

3.1 Similarities

3.2 Differences

Decision

Mentions

Introduction

Female societal functions have changed dramatically from Victorian age ( 1837-1901 ) to modern age ( from 20th century to the present ) , and literature would reflect in a graphic manner the relation between adult females and their epochs. Writers such as Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf are peculiarly influential on the literature and the coevalss in Victorian and modern age. As the female authors, which are non valued in their coevalss, Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf have more intimacy and concern to the adult females in their society.

Before and at the beginning of 19th century, a theoretical account of muliebrity was the ‘perfect lady, ‘ which was inherited as a Victorian ideal of adult females. Family and morality were the base of Victorian society, and misss were all taught to subject to the authorization and marriage ( Vicinus 1972 ) . The construct of ‘The Angel in the House, ‘ which was referred to the incarnation of Victorian adult females, was prevail in the Victorian society. As a consequence, adult females in Victorian Age were regarded as incompatible and excluded in many professions. Showalter ( 1999 ) points out that the first professional activities of Victorian adult females are either in the place or in muliebrity. From the 19th century, nevertheless, the prevalence of instruction attributed to the gradual lifting incidence of working adult females. Besides, by the battles of persons and women’s rightists, the obstructions to the entry into professions for adult females, whose exclusion and mutual exclusiveness in work had been debated, were removed in the beginning of 20th century. ( Swindells 1985 ) Meawhile, the construct of morality and household was strongly suspected by the critics and women’s rightists, who argue that there is no ‘The Angel in the House. ‘ Within a century, non merely female societal functions but besides female consciousness had been emancipated from restraint, though some conventional impressions had still remained.

The intent of this paper is to compare female societal functions in Charlotte Bronte ‘s Victorian fiction and Virginia Woolf ‘s modern literature in footings of three facets: working adult females, married womans and female parents, and consciousness of adult females. Womans and professions in Bronte and Woolf ‘s literature will be compared and contrasted foremost. Then the similarities and difference of married adult females their work will besides be examined. Finally, how female consciousness is portrayed in their work and its development from Victorian to modern age will be discussed.

1. Working Women in the Literature of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf

1.1 Similarities

Nineteenth century is a important period for modern age because of the gender attitude and patterns and professional construction which people inherited were formed. Besides, despite of the fact that the entry of Victorian adult females with professions had non happened in important Numberss ( Swindells 1985 ) , the thought of professionalism in Victorian age besides stimulates the inspiration of the modern-day novelist, Charlotte Bronte and the modern author, Virginia Woolf. Due to the fact that adult females have gained more entree to instruction since the in-between 19th century, both Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf have positive stance on adult females professions because “ adult females experience merely as work forces feel ; they need exercising for their modules and a field for their attempts every bit much as their brothers do. ” ( Bronte 1985:141 )

Womans and professions are presented in Charlotte Bronte ‘s novels. The most prevalent business for immature misss in the middle-classes in Victorian Age is governess, as Charlotte Bronte ‘s Jane, the knowing heroine, in Jane Eyre. To cite from Francoise ( 1974:155 ) , “ aˆ¦she is wholly free in her work, that her dealingss with her student Adele are goodaˆ¦ , she deplores Adele ‘ Gallic flirt and frivolousness. Mr. Rochester has adequate books in his library for her instruction methods. ” In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte depicts the background of a governess ‘ life in her employer ‘s household.

In Virginia Woolf ‘s point of view, it was possible that adult females are kept off from academies and institutes, but adult females can non be forbidden from utilizing the pen, paper and composing desk. Katharine Hilbery in Virginia Woolf ‘s Night and Day is the deduction of her blessing of female professionals. During the daylight, Katharine helps her female parent compose the life of her gramps Richard Alardyce, who is a well-known poet, and she develops her involvement at dark. In add-on, Katharine Hilbery is expected to be a author to inherit the endowment of her household estate. Virginia Woolf uses Katharine as her thought of a women’s rightist: matrimony is non the lone finish for adult females.

As the incidence of working adult females has increased, authors as Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf create their ain heroines refering the relation between female and professions. Though they belong to the two coevalss that female capablenesss are frequently denied, Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf portion the same point that adult females can make every bit good as work forces in careers. However, there are some different development of their novels which represent Victorian and modern political orientations of adult females who have occupations, and they would be discussed in the undermentioned subdivision.

1.2 Differences

In the late Victorian age, the conventional societal functions of adult females, who start to demand their ain public assistance and seek for more constructive functions in society, met great challenges ( Vicinus 1972 ) . Therefore, there has been a rise of the figure of adult females who have professions since Victorian age. In the literary work of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf, there are different deductions and stances of working adult females ‘s concluding result.

Womans in Charlotte Bronte ‘s fiction are affected by the political orientation that matrimony is the ultimate end for adult females in Victorian age. Francoise points out that Jane in Jane Eyre, ends up by get marrieding after being independent and free for a clip, and that she gives up the undertaking of a coach and enjoys the moral satisfaction. Jane besides indicates that Victorian married adult females in working-class were still minority. Another heroine in Charlotte Bronte ‘s Shirley, Shirley Keeldar, who longs for prosecuting an business, would ne’er roll from the domestic theoretical account finally:

“ Caroline, ” demanded Miss Keeldar suddenly, “ do n’t you wish you had a profession — – a bargainer? ”

“ I wish it 50 times a twenty-four hours. As it is, I frequently wonder what I came into the universe for. I long to hold something absorbing and compulsory to make full my caput and custodies, and to busy my ideas. ”

“ Can labor entirely do a human being happy? ”

“ No ; but it can give assortments of hurting, and prevent us from interrupting our Black Marias with a individual tyrant master-torture. Besides, successful labor has its recompense ; a vacant, weary, lonely hopeless life has none. ” ( Bronte 1977:235 )

This transition represents the confrontation of love and professions in Victorian age. Though Carolean wants to hold a richer life by working, professions for her still can non be prior to love and marriage. The map of work is to “ forestall us from interrupting our Black Marias with a individual tyrant master-torture. ” As Vicnus ( 1972: eleven ) pointed out, ‘many immature adult females suffered the stabs of unanswered or false love, as described by Caroline. ‘

On the other manus, Virginia Woolf claims that adult females must be economically independent to develop their professions. In A Room of one ‘s Own, Virginia Woolf peculiarly points out the troubles that adult females as vocational authors have met. The fanciful heroine, the talented Shakespeare ‘s sister, is neglected and rejected by the society. If she has the room of her ain, her creativeness would be valued.

In Professions for Women, Virginia Woolf states her sentiments after the beginning of adult females ‘s release from work in early 20th century:

The whole place, as I see it — -here in this hall surrounded by adult females practising for the first clip in history I know non how many different professions-is one of extraordinary involvement and importance. You have won suites of your ain in the house hitherto entirely owned by work forces. You are able, though non without great labor and attempt, to pay the rent. Your are gaining your five hundred lbs a twelvemonth. But this freedom is merely a beginning ; the room is your ain, but it is still au naturel. It has to be furnished ; it has to be decorated ; it has to be shared. How are you traveling to supply it, how are you traveling to adorn it? With whom are you traveling to portion it, and upon what footings? ( Woolf 1942:153 )

In the procedure of doing the entry into the work, adult females had won their ain suites and five hundred lbs a twelvemonth, which Virginia Woolf regarded as necessary. She considered professions for adult females as ‘extraordinary involvement and importance. ‘ The ‘room, ‘ professional work, was no longer possessed merely by work forces. Finally, adult females had the determination to ‘furnish, ‘ ‘decorate, ‘ and ‘share ‘ the room. In amount, adult females in the beginning of modern age had strived for their rights to acquire the entree to the professions, the invention and great advancement in female history.

2. Wifes and Mothers in the Literature of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf

2.1 Similarities

Since most of the literature of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf explore the relation between female and their modern-day epoch, matrimony barely fails to be neglected. Calder ( 1976:59 ) provinces, “ matrimony [ in Victorian age ] was the nucleus of societal life and societal aspiration. ” In the early 20th century, modern society still remains the domesticity and morality inherited from Victorian age. Therefore, female functions in the fiction of both Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf necessarily follow the conventions of the thought of matrimony.

Marriage is a societal success in Victorian age, and being unmarried is considered the failure of adult females ‘s lives. In Jane Eyre, Jane ‘s matrimony with Rochester is domestic, with her entire dedication to her hubby. Jane is in the societal philosophy that a Victorian adult female should be all devoted to her hubby and kids, and that her responsibility is to supply a comfy and domestic life for her mate On the manus, Caroline in Charlotte Bronte ‘s Shirley finds that an single adult female is doomed to be the victim of society, as shown by Miss Mann and Miss Ainsley. Single adult females are in the sacrificed societal position, merely like the homeless and unemployed people. ( Francoise 1974 )

Similarly, Virginia Woolf ‘s adult females are “ dramatis personae in a extremely traditional mold ” and “ still confined to a ‘female domain ‘ ” ( Stubbs1979:233 ) . Mrs. Ramsay in To the Lighthouse leads an well-ordered life and creates the harmoniousness non merely be giving birth to kids but besides by giving a peaceable life for them. In fact, the stableness of the household is based on the nature induing with life, the female parent. In Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa is the hostess set uping the party in her house, and she is besides the symbol of the natural bond to the convention and society despite of the fact that her hubby and her are an unequal twosome. ( Marder 1968 )

In amount, the thoughts of matrimony in the ages that belong to Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf are similar ; that is to state, married womans and pregnancy are the footing of stableness and the nucleus of domesticity. Nevertheless, Poovey ( 1988 ) has indicated that the Victorian subordination of one to another is ever unstable, and the inequality can explicate the outgrowth of the antonym, the assorted motion of women’s rightists. The alteration of the construction and the political orientation of household has implied in Virginia Woolf ‘s later novel, Three Guineas.

2.2 Differences

Marriage in Charlotte Bronte ‘s literature differs from Virginia Woolf ‘s in footings of the adult females ‘s subordination. In Victorian age, work forces control over adult females in relationship and marriage, both of which are suggested in Charlotte Bronte ‘s Jane Eyre. However, this state of affairs has changed in modern age, when masculine power has bit by bit eroded. Alternatively of remaining in the masculine domination, people start to be leery of the value of matrimony in modern age. Virginia Woolf ‘s Three Guineas has indicated the degeneracy of household.

In Jane Eyre, the subject of command of male power could frequently be seen. In Jane ‘s childhood, she is demanded to name John Reed “ my maestro. ” When she develops the relationship with St. John and Rochester, she insists on her personal will and freedom. However, she expresses her battle and inability to avoid the domination of St. John: “ By grades, he acquired a certain influence over me that took away my autonomy of head: his congratulations and notice were more keeping than his indifference ” ( Bronte 1977:423 ) . As for Rochester, he wholly masters Jane, non merely as an employer but besides a adult male. Jane says, “ for a minute I am beyond my ain command ” ( Bronte 1977:272 ) . She can non defy the attractive force of male domination from Rochester, even when she tries to get away from him. In the terminal, the rebellious and ambitious Jane submits to her maestro, Rochester, and eventually becomes “ perfectly bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. ” ( Calder1976 )

In Virginia Woolf ‘s sentiment, unlike Charlotte Bronte , matrimony to adult females is a manner to demo subordination in masculine society. Once adult females are married, they lose their independency, self-identity and the bond with society. In Mrs. Dalloway, it suggests that it ‘s likely that adult females are the captives in matrimony ; however, Clarissa, the supporter, still can experience at easiness and happen a manner out in marriage by set uping a party at place. May ( 1981:134 ) claims, “ Mrs. Dalloway is about grades and sorts of relatedness and human existences to one another, changing from lonely madness to self-compromising sociableness. ” Virginia Woolf ‘s Three Guineas is based on her observation of the society. In the beginning, the Victorian household ( the Pargiters ) seems stable but bit by bit falls into degeneracy. Finally the members of the three household have been separated, and many of them remained single or even stray. At the terminal if the narrative, the kids and grandchildren gather in a party, which indicates that clip has brought the revolution and dislocation to traditional Victorian society.

From the literary work of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf, we can detect the development of the thought of matrimony from Victorian to modern age. Virginia Woolf, as a female author, examines and criticizes adult females ‘s function in matrimony, which is an ultimate end for Victorian adult females.

3. The Awareness of Women in the Literature of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf

3.1 Similarities

More work chances provided for adult females were the deduction of female ‘s consciousness of the importance of economic independency. Therefore, independent heroines could be seen in Charlotte Bronte ‘s literary work in Victorian age ( Vicinus 1972 ) . Besides, they became the foreshadow of Virginia Woolf ‘s modern literature. Independent heroines are frequently portrayed in their fiction.

In Charlotte Bronte ‘s novels, Shirley and Jane Eyre, the vocal chief female supporters are the theoretical accounts of adult females independency. Shirley Keeldar, who describes herself as ‘a adult female, and something more, ‘ is an economically independent adult female in Shirley. In add-on, Shirley besides suggests that the dependent relation is ever unstable and leads to misery. Like the workers to their proprietors, married womans are maltreated and ignored. In Jane Eyre, Jane will non yield to the world, and it could be seen from her rebellion in childhood to her chase for cognition and love in muliebrity. Jane is non satisfied with the feeling of parturiency: “ Then I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that bound ; which might make the busy universe, towns, parts full of lifeaˆ¦ I desired more of practical experienceaˆ¦ more of intercourse with my kindaˆ¦ ” ( Bronte 1977:140 ) .

Francoise ( 1974 ) besides points out that Jane does non deny her love for Rochester and that she confesses and attentively listens to his word picture of his narrative, as a consequence of her refusal to the traditional feminine functions: trust, modestness and shyness. Harmonizing to Showalter ( 1999 ) , Jane ‘s running off from Rochester is her self-preservation. In Jane Eyre, as cited by Showalter ( 1999 ) , Jane tells herself, “ I care for myself. The more lone, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will esteem myself ” ( Bronte 1977:344 ) . For her, action is ever the manner to independence. Francoise ( 1974 ) claimed that Charlotte Bronte ‘s heroines represented the female noncompliance to conventional regulations and the autonomy of the Angel in the House.

In modern age, Virginia Woolf besides claimed the importance of being economic independent and holding a room for one ‘s ain for adult females. As Virginia Woolf ( 1945:112 ) stated in A Room of One ‘s Own, ‘the wont of freedom and the bravery to compose precisely what we think, aˆ¦then the chance will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare ‘s sister will set on the organic structure which she has so frequently laid down. ‘ If the room of one ‘s ain is a topographic point for the feminine conference, which contains the authorization, political relations, and aggression in male universe, it will be a grave, as Clarissa ‘s Attic sleeping room in Mrs. Dalloway. However, if it is a centre combined with female tradition and civilization ; if people here make attempts to adult females independency, so Shakespeare ‘s sister, the hereafter Virginia Woolf, may look finally. That female portions the equality with male is non a phantasy ( Showalter 1999 ) . In Virginia Woolf ‘s To the Lighthouse, Lily, a female painter, thirstily wants to turn out her ability to Charles Tansley, who claims that adult females can non paint and compose. She represents the adult females of independency and female ‘s desire of catching the gender boundary.

Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf have indicated the female consciousness and independency of their modern-day ages ; nevertheless, it seems that Victorian adult females still fail to be separated from domestic matrimony. The differences of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf ‘s heroines in footings of female consciousness will be examined in the undermentioned subdivision.

3.2 Differences

Though both Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf have portrayed and declared their stances toward adult females awareness, they have endowed them with different features and fates proposing the conventional impressions in Victorian and modern age. In Bronte ‘s novels, nevertheless, female functions finally can non avoid the bond of matrimony, which is considered as the finish of Victorian adult females. On the contrary, Woolf ‘s adult females would non ever follow this form. Furthermore, she has pointed out the defect of Bronte ‘s fiction.

In malice of the fact that most of the heroines in Bronte ‘s novels are passionate, restless, and frequently contradictory in their interior universe, they are frequently tied to matrimony at the terminal of the narrative. Both Bronte ‘s Jane Eyre and Shirley provide the grounds of convention that Virginia Woolf onslaughts. Love and matrimony are important ingredients in the literature in 19th century.In Jane Eyre, Jane is determinedly desired to prosecute the enormousness of cognition. Meanwhile, like Shirley Keeldar in Shirley, she can merely contemplate get marrieding a adult male who can be her maestro ( Calder 1976 ) . Similarly, the two heroines in Shirley, Caroline and Shirley, Hunt for independency ; nevertheless, both of them quest for ideal couples as good. The form of Jane Eyre and Shirley is similar to some extent: those female supporters have no pick but being dominated by work forces at last.

In 20th century, Woolf ‘s Night and Day shows that adult females ‘s consciousness has challenged the societal impression refering female functions and that matrimony to adult females is non the lone solution. Though being in the quandary of the fact that if she should interrupt the convention and disobey the outlook from her household, Katharine Hilbery can make up one’s mind her ain hereafter. Besides, in Virginia Woolf ‘s A Room of One ‘s Own, she argues that Charlotte Bronte ‘s composing inherits masculine manner, “ It was a sentence that was unsuited for a adult female ‘s usage. Charlotte Bronte , with all her splendid gift for prose, stumbled and fell with that gawky arm in her custodies ” ( Woolf 2000:77 ) . Virginia Woolf respects that literature has been authorized by work forces since antediluvian clip ; therefore, masculine sentences are inevitable even in adult females ‘s literary work. Showalter ( 1999 ) has expressed a similar position that female authors had been deprived of the linguistic communication of their ain manner and the consciousness of aspiration, and their want had extended from Victoria ‘s reign to the 20th century. The daintiness and fastidiousness of Woolf ‘s linguistic communication is an enlargement of this feminized manner.

Decision

Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf ‘s portraiture of female characters had reflected the female societal functions in Victorian and modern age. In the passage between 19th and 20th century, the adult females ‘s political orientation and the societal norms had changed, while some of them still had been inherited. They were presented in Bronte and Woolf ‘s literature in a assorted and absorbing manner.

To compare and contrast adult females in the literary work of Bronte and Woolf, the female functions in professions and matrimony and their consciousness were chosen. More and more adult females had had their careers, which meant that they had the economic independency ; nevertheless, Victorian adult females still could abandon it for matrimony. Besides, it was discovered that while domesticity had been valued in both Victorian and modern age, people bit by bit had found the defect of the subordination of married womans. As for adult females ‘s interior universe, self-discovery and thirst for independency were both considered in Bronte and Woolf ‘s literature. Unlike Bronte , Woolf had emphasized the significance of adult females ‘s ain income and feminine linguistic communication. It is concluded that female had gained more freedom in modern age and that Virginia Woolf strongly supported the thought of gender equality and was optimistic toward the future adult females position.

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