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Explain about the role of women in Victorian society.

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Explain about the role of women in Victorian society In this essay I am going to analyse the role of Victorian women in four short stories. The first story that I will be investigating is called the Half Brother I will be comparing this to all five of the short stories. These were times of great change and although we see much that was typical of society occasionally there is evidence of women wanting charges and to have more independence. There are examples of this autonomy in most of these short stories. A brief summary of the story, Helen (the character that I will be discussing) is the narrator's mother; she got married at the tender age of seventeen. In those days Victorian women wanted to get married so they could get taken care of by their husbands, the reason being is that women didn't go to school so they had no academic skills. So if the women didn't get married they would most probably end up in squalor or prostitution. Helens first husband died of consumption. The story was set in Scotland in a rural area. Helen had 2 children with her first husband but unfortunately her one-week-old daughter died of scarlet fever. This left her with her son who is three years older than the narrator. In those days birth control was not available, as it had not been invented, this was why many poor Victorian families were so big. This burden was so painful that Helen didn't shed a tear, in the text it says "looking in her pretty, pale, dead face, without so much as shedding a tear". After this happened Helen's sister Fanny was a caring sister who is selfless came to look after Helen and they took in work from the mills until Helens eyesight was no longer functioning properly. This was a poor situation for Helen as the farm she was living on was in a poor derelict state and she needed money to support her children and herself. ...read more.


Tony being the feeble man that he is obviously said "You don't suppose I could refuse 'ee?" I think the women in this story knew this that's why they always managed to exploit him like they did. Unity really uses aggressive tactics yet enticing way to here what she wants by saying " can you say I'm not pretty, Tony?" This obviously puts him in quandary but he tries to worm his way out by saying " I never knowed you was so pretty before!" Tony asks Unity to hide at the back end of his wagon that he is travelling so that Milly doesn't spot her so Unity follows his instructions accordingly quote "Unity Sallet agreed, and lay down at the back end of the wagon". This shows how Unity or even women in general are perceived as being less important to general public in Victorian times because what kind of woman hides in a back of a wagon so she is not spotted by Milly, this shows how desperate Unity is to get Tony to marry her. I think Tony thinks that he is a lady's man because he has two women at his feet and they both want to marry him but the only reason why he has these women begging for him is because they want to get married and that's the only reason. Now that Milly was on his wagon Tony wanted to get rid of Milly so he had to think up of an excuse because he had seen his old lover Hannah Joliver walking towards them Tony said "Then would ye creep under the empty sacks just here in the front of the wagon". Tony also tries to use some charm by saying "My dear Milly - my coming wife as I call ee". Milly falls for his sweet talk and obliges to what Tony says. Tony sees his father and asks him his opinion about the women with Tony. ...read more.


I loathe and hate it but I cannot leave it" this also shows that she has no self-esteem because she believes that she cannot leave but sadly enough it is miserably true. Nancy is even offered a way out of her poverty to start a new life in a different country but because of her low self-esteem she turned down the biggest opportunity and she just couldn't leave Sikes because of the power that he has over her. When Sikes knew that Nancy had been visiting people behind his back he was extremely angry. His associate, Fagin feared a little for Nancy's safety by saying, " You won't be- you won't be- too- violent Bill? This shows that fagin is afraid that bill Sikes is more than violent and that he should take it easy on Nancy. In Victorian times domestic abuse wasn't an unknown problem but it simply enough men had to show their authority and this is how they done it especially there was no money. When Sikes confronted Nancy he struck her repeatedly until she died in her own pool of blood. After he had killed Nancy he set the house on fire and staggered out with guilt. When they found the Body of Nancy Mr Brownlow offered fifty pounds to the man who catches the murderer alive. Sikes was running away from the murder and the people who were hunting him he found a rope in a loop in put it round his neck fell to his death where his brains were dashed out. I think the reason why Charles Dickens made such a graphic ending to the story was to show revenge on Sikes so it kind of gave a happy but sad ending. The moral of the story was too show how the poor Victorian people suffered in this case Nancy was the one who suffered but because of her poor situation she couldn't get out of her squalor, which was the true life of Victorian times. John Mensah 11B21 ...read more.

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