Bleak House By Charles Dickens Book Summary Sir Leicester Dedlock, an idle, fashionable aristocrat, maintains his ancestral

home in rural Lincolnshire and also a place in London. Lady Dedlock, his wife, "has beauty still" at or near fifty but is proud and vain. She keeps a secret unknown even to Sir Leicester. When she was young, she bore an illegitimate child, a girl, to her lover, Captain Hawdon. What she does not know, however, is that the child is still alive. This daughter, now an adult, was given the name Esther Summerson by the aunt who raised her. When the aunt (Miss Barbary) dies, kindly, retired John Jarndyce was appointed Esther's guardian. At the time of the story, Esther is twenty and is traveling to Mr. Jarndyce's home, Bleak House (which is cheerful and happy — not bleak). On the journey, she has the companionship of his other two wards, Ada Clare and Richard Carstone. Ada, Richard, and Mr. Jamdyce are parties to a complicated, long-standing, and by now obscure legal suit called Jarndyce and Jarndyce. Various aspects of this entangled suit are heard from time to time in the High Court of Chancery in London. The issues involve, among other things, the apportionment of an inheritance. At Bleak House, Esther notices that Richard Carstone has some weaknesses of character yet remains likeable; she forms a deep friendship with him as well as with the beautiful Ada. She also notices that the two young people rather soon find themselves in love. One "muddy, murky afternoon," while looking at some legal documents, Lady Dedlock becomes curious about the handwriting on them. She asks Mr. Tulkinghorn, the Dedlocks' attorney, if he knows the hand. Tulkinghorn, a corrupt and self-serving but clever lawyer, does not, but eventually he discovers that the hand is that of a certain "Nemo." A pauper without friends, "Nemo" has been living in a dilapidated "rag-and-bottle" shop owned by an old merchant, Krook. Tulkinghorn finds "Nemo" dead, seemingly from too much opium. One person who knew the dead man is little Jo, an urchin street sweeper. At an inquest, Jo tells Tulkinghorn, "He [Nemo] wos wery good to me, he wos!" Lady Dedlock knows that the handwriting is that of Captain Hawdon. So, disguised as her own maid (Mlle. Hortense), she finds Jo, who shows her where Hawdon is buried. Tulkinghorn, looking always to his own advantage, continues his keen interest in "Nemo" and is watchful of Lady Dedlock. The maid Hortense detests Lady Dedlock and helps Tulkinghorn ferret out the

lady's secret. Tulkinghorn reveals to Lady Dedlock that he knows about her child and Captain Hawdon. He promises to keep his knowledge to himself, but later he tells her that he no longer feels bound to do so. Mille. Hortense, feeling used by Tulkinghorn, turns against him. A short time later, Tulkinghorn is found shot to death. A detective, Mr. Bucket, is hired to investigate. The suspects include Lady Dedlock and George Rouncewell, son of the Dedlocks' housekeeper. Mr. Bucket tells Sir Leicester about Lady Dedlock's dealings with Tulkinghorn and says that she is a suspect. Sir Leicester has a stroke but is compassionate and fully forgiving of his wife. Bucket later discovers that the murderer is Mlle. Hortense. Richard Carstone, insolvent, uncertain of his future, and temperamentally indecisive and insecure, futilely expends much time and energy on the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit. He secretly marries Ada Clare as soon as she turns twenty-one. Meanwhile, Esther and young doctor Allan Woodcourt are attracted to each other but she accepts a marriage proposal from Mr. Jarndyce. The waif Jo contracts smallpox, and both Esther and her maid Charley catch it from him; Esther survives but with a scarred face. Shortly afterward, she learns that Lady Dedlock is her mother. Feeling disgrace and remorse, Lady Dedlock dresses like an ordinary working woman and wanders away. After an intensive search, Esther and Detective Bucket find her lying dead in the snow at the gates of the paupers cemetery, where Captain Hawdon is buried. The case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce is concluded at last, but legal fees have consumed all the money that Richard Carstone would have inherited. He dies, and, soon afterward, Ada gives birth to a boy, whom she names Richard. John Jarndyce releases Esther from her engagement, and she marries Allan Woodcourt. Two daughters are born to them, and Allan tells his wife that she is "prettier than ever." Bleak House By Charles Dickens About Bleak House Bleak House is a long novel. This does not mean that Dickens style is wordy or that the book could be abridged without losing the effects that Dickens wanted to achieve. None of Dickens' contemporaries thought that the book was too long. In fact, short novels were unusual in the Victorian era (18371901). The tempo of life was slower then. Most men, whether in cities or on the farms, lived close to their work: There was no daily massive rush of commuters. Most women were in the home all day and, as a rule, had more

than enough time to do what needed to be done; this fact in itself kept the pace of domestic life slower than anything familiar to us today. People seldom traveled and, if they did, rarely did they go very far. By today's standards, life was quiet in Dickens' era. Railways existed, but cars, trucks, planes, radio, movies, and television didn't exist. Most shops and places of public entertainment closed early. No crackling neon signs put any "buzz" in the night. At night, one could read or play cards — provided one could afford to burn the oil or candles; it was cheaper and easier to be inactive from sundown to sunup. On Sundays, everything was closed but the church doors and the park gates. Far fewer people were tyrannized by the deadlines that today's technology has made the rule of the workplace. As a result of this slower pace of life, Victorian people generally had what contemporary psychologists call a "low threshold" — meaning that in order to feel pleasantly stimulated, they didn't require loud, gaudy, psychedelic, fast-moving, or ever-changing stimuli. Young people had, as always, their problems, but one of them was not a tendency to "burn out" early. In Victorian England, patience and easygoing ways were far more common than nerves and distractedness. What this meant for literature is that proportionately more people had more time for reading, and, at the same time, they were psychologically well prepared for the art of reading. Reading is a quiet, completely unsensational activity, and it demands a certain patience. Time and patience are what the past, including the Victorian days, is all about. Of course, there are other reasons why the Victorians read so assiduously. Dickens' era had a rapidly growing middle class, one that read and one that was large enough to ensure a constant demand for the printed word. The middle class was still trying to "prove itself" — to show the world that it was at least as fit to govern as the aristocracy. To establish and maintain its good name, this class had to show itself moral, sober, knowledgeable, responsible, and even, if possible, literate and refined like the lords and ladies. Knowledge and refinement were to be gained mostly from books, magazines, and other printed matter. To read was to gain, to become, to advance: Such was the unconscious motto of a great part of the Victorian public. One should also note that most reading material was quite inexpensive in Dickens' London.

sometimes even aggressively visible. those outside the established Church of England) were evangelical. scientific. a humorist — the comic Sketches by Boz and Pickwick Papers were his first books — but soon found himself caught up in the intense popular demand for clarification and advice. among other things. strict moral behavior. It was the public clamor for illumination that caused more and more poets. evangelicals wanted to be (at the very least. at all levels. Dickens himself began his writing career as an entertainer. Their approach to temptation and evil was like the approach to a contagious disease. . His third book. the unfortunates who had "fallen" were to be avoided and denounced. the author might provide distinctly wicked characters. inadequate wages. Rampant industrialization and the enormous. exemplars of righteousness — and to live only amongst other such models. vast increases in the incidence of alcoholism. and new approaches to the study of the Bible were vigorously challenging traditional interpretation. the proliferation of slums. they felt a need to make such behavior highly. and economic. The era was also a period of the breakup of traditional beliefs. New theories of biological and geological evolution were being proposed. venereal disease. was heavily Protestant. Generally. unsafe and unsanitary working conditions. novelists and essayists to devote much of their time to thinking about — and speaking out upon — the issues of the day. to seem) not just "good" people but models of goodness. religious. When it came to reading works of fiction. Urban crowding. People wanted firm guidance on these and other issues. Most of the "dissenting" churches (for example. largely unplanned growth of cities brought many difficulties. began a series of social messages that ended only with his death. The Victorian middle class. child labor. periodic widespread unemployment with little provision for the unemployed. and tuberculosis are only the most obvious ones. Those who could or might provide it were the writers. For the sake of context and contrast. Evangelicals emphasized. of intense debate and confusion over values and concepts — moral. Controversy raged over what should be done about the situation. Methodism and Congregationalism. the evangelical in every Victorian wanted the author to offer characters whose purity made them paragons. Oliver Twist (1838).Victorians also read because they needed answers to new problems. Most of Dickens' readers had strong religious and ethical convictions. and even the established church had been notably influenced by evangelical religion. The epoch was one of rapid and large-scale social change.

" or at least admirable.these needed to be converted to virtuous ways. Most of his books and stories are well stocked with "pure. by no means. always. and. to be (or even to pose as) morally grave or cautionary or ethically obsessed. on the whole. does he represent an example of a Victorian author conforming unquestioningly to the expectations of religion or religiosity. not quite real or interesting. But such characters satisfied his own desire to contemplate an idealized femininity. or both. and when he wants to write pure entertainment — a ghost story or an adventure tale without any "edifying" value — he does so. partly as a result of such exaggeration. He also shares the tendency of many in his audience to idealize and sentimentalize Woman. Villains are reformed or punished. are likely to be artistically uninteresting) was to concentrate. in fact. seek to ingratiate itself with the middle-class world. or punished. anyone or anything that perpetrated them. Story endings are happy. Thus. but very often the good women (and girls) are Pure Goodness and. he personifies prolific creativity. and through mocking tones. and his first impulse is to celebrate. much of the time. and so his fiction does. Though Dickens deplored injustice and needless suffering and satirized. and. he defers to the sexual puritanism that was conspicuous in Victorian society. of course. in his day. Dickens himself was a nominal Anglican rather than an "evangelical. he was by nature too much in love with life. Nevertheless. to remain popular and make money. some of the most monstrous characters in his books are females." He was not pious and not even a regular church-goer. these characters helped sell the books. Strongly evangelical habits of mind did not predispose readers either to understand or to identify with morally in-between characters. He probably could not have brought himself to stay with the theme of social reform if he hadn't been able to do so creatively — through exciting incidents and vivid characters that were fun to create. characters. on child characters. too fun-loving and spontaneous. Like Shakespeare and Mozart. He reserves the right to create morally in-between characters (Richard Carstone is an obvious example). sometimes bitterly. Children might be but . wry or hilarious cracks. Dickens was determined. He was realistic enough to recognize that not all women were pleasant. Though Dickens is known to have had no objection to the bawdy elements in his much-loved Fielding and in other eighteenth-century writers. On the other hand. being so. One way he got around his evangelicized readers' desire for fictional characters who were paragons of virtue (and who.

which marks the end of Dickens' youthful ebullience. "Dickens" is an almost mythical name. Tulkinghorn. they can more easily be indulged and forgiven than adults. reflects his frustrations. Dickens ranks with Shakespeare.aren't expected to be perfect. The ending itself is supremely happy. Lady Dedlock lives long enough to be reunited with her daughter. is eliminated. The book's principal villain. optimism and a zest for life — hence. and being naive and inexperienced. and Aristophanes as one of the world's greatest masters of comedy. or much of it. note that Bleak House. a basically comic rather than tragic or pessimistic outlook — tended to prevail but were balanced by a desire to deal with serious and even painful themes. it is not comic achievement alone that accounts for Dickens' unprecedented popularity. is actually in the service of a serious vision of life: The comedy does not exist simply for its own sake but is partly a means of presenting serious material in a way that makes for enjoyable reading. In his lifetime he enjoyed the greatest popularity any English author has ever known. the killer. the comedy becomes subdued. by and large. well before his writing career actually got going. However. In the mature Dickens. Dickens had an imperative reason for creating so many child characters: His own childhood — especially its vicissitudes — haunted him. that prevented Dickens from being merely another amusing but rather superficial author. dingy locales. In many of Dickens' novels. In his childhood and early adult years. in the sense that. he experienced hardship and intense suffering. conjuring up associations even for many people who have read little or none of his work. Thus. His own misfortunes gave him a keen sense of the harsh realities of life and developed in him a ready sympathy for people — especially children and young adults — beset with difficulties and sorrows. Suffering brings out the best in Sir Leicester and George Rouncewell. It is partly this balance. more complicated side. Nevertheless. Obviously Dickens' comic art struck some perennially appealing note. and troubled characters. In Dickens' later novels. and to this day. all ends happily rather than tragically or pathetically. he was accustomed to perceiving human experience in terms of its deeper. He was by that time unhappy in marriage. as well as its lighter side. Of course. Bleak House remains with the genre (class) of comedy. and he thought that his work was having little or no effect on social conditions in England. As an example. despite its dreary atmospheres. this wholeness. the comic element. is brought to justice. Molière. and all along . Hortense.

Another charge is that none of the major characters is a fully developed. Bagnet. Aside from diversified characters and plot lines. of course. It is the city. unity . if any. amusing comment becomes standard fare. and there is plenty of smiling amiability. for example. it combines romance and realism and resembles more than one fictional genre. The book certainly has variety. In it. . almost suffocating. the main setting is the city. not the country. Typical also are several other features of Bleak House. who says that there is a certain monotony about the book: "the artistic . About such indictments. in Mr.the way there are droll characters like Phil Squad and vibrantly laughing ones like Boythorn. it means that despite imperfections. Bleak House is also a novel of social criticism. readers have to make up their own minds. a formation novel). Few. Most of the characters are distinctly "good" or "bad" rather than in-between. and interesting figure. As usual. . by extension. The main point of the novel is the needless suffering caused by the inefficiency and inhumanity of the law and. that brings his imagination to its richest life. irony abounds. too. is satisfying. lifelike. Laughing — rather than bitter — satire is always cropping up. It is also partly a romance and partly a murder mystery (in fact. In part. . Both the social criticism and the comic elements are typical of Dickens' novels. . Chesterton. and. Nor should we overlook the comic contribution of Dickens' prose style. of all forms of institutionalized inhumanity. . K. This acclaim does not mean that the book is flawless. There is the motif and again the motif. the wry. Some readers agree with G." The book has also been faulted for having so many characters and lines of action (plots and subplots) that the intensity of the main action is diluted. Bleak House is generally regarded as one of Dickens' most impressive novels and a masterpiece of world literature. and Mrs. a story dealing with young people's initiation into the adult world. it is in the city that the worst and the greatest number of social problems are manifested. it is the first British novel in which a professional detective figures strongly). though not one of the greatest novels of all time. Bleak House is still widely read and enjoyed. there are many characters. As in almost all of Dickens' fiction. Several are vivid — they "come alive" to our imagination. as personified. Bleak House is what the Germans call a Bildungsroman (literally.

Ada. Esther. There is the inevitable fascination with eccentrics and grotesque people and places — like Krook and his shop and Mr. Bleak House also breaks away from Dickens' earlier habit of relying heavily on coincidences that add drama and help the author out of plot difficulties but remain cheap and wildly implausible. In Bleak House. virginal. in other cases. or otherwise striking) incidents. there is the sympathetic portrayal of a beleaguered child — here. of course. In this respect. "Pure" — that is. and Allan Woodcourt. In earlier novels. No less characteristic is the abundance of highly dramatic (tense. So are happy endings. Snagsby and the paupers cemetery. Such effusions. And." Untypical also is the emotional restraint. Dickens often allows his characters (or himself as narrator) to express certain sentiments — especially pathos and gushy praise of "goodness" — in exaggerated terms and at length. no main point ever seems to develop. Dickens' novels — especially those prior to Bleak House — are often marred by incoherence: Sometimes the main point they start to make is abandoned. including John Jarndyce." A common method of publishing novels in Victorian England was serialization in monthly magazines. and self-sacrificing — heroines like Esther Summerson and Ada Clare are as Dickensian as anything can be. Dickens published Bleak House in monthly installments in his own highly successful magazine Household Words between March 1852 and September 1853. And. incorruptible. and though Bleak House presents undeserved sufferings and untimely deaths. little Jo. Serialization affected Bleak House in various ways. as is often the case. high-pitched. there is one character who is so benevolent (and well off) that he is able to reward the deserving and bring events to a conclusion that is at least typical of Dickens and of Victorian novels in general.undergo a significant change (development). First. Dickens seldom seems to be "stretching things. the story does end happily for several of the principal characters. Bleak House is atypical: No one can miss the insistent theme of the malaise and misfortune caused by "the law's delay. With some of . serialization meant that Dickens wrote as he went along: He did not outline the entire novel or even plan very far ahead — in fact. acceptable to most readers in Dickens' era. he was often so busy that he could barely meet the printer's monthly deadline for receiving the manuscript of the forthcoming installment. seem sentimental or even maudlin today.

inventive wording. symbolism adds both impact and unity to a literary work — or. sustained. and present-tense narration contribute enormously to keeping the reader's interest. The best way around this difficulty was for the writer to create really memorable scenes and characters. Dickens managed to avoid these pitfalls of the serial method. is tightly woven." but these terms are somewhat misleading because they imply conscious manipulation by the author and also imply that effective symbolism is external and might be learned by anyone in a classroom or from an instruction manual on how to write. It may have encouraged his already well developed taste for caricature — highly simplified but striking character portrayal — and for grotesquerie: Both are inherently attention-getting. images used in such a way as to suggest a meaning beyond the physical facts of the images themselves. Thus. Symbols are often used to foreshadow later events in a story. . to any piece of writing. serialization may have prodded Dickens to offer striking material and suspenseful narration. in this case at least. At its best. and it helps unify because it repeats in a different form the motifs that are being presented through plot and character portrayal. of evil ultimately bringing ruin upon itself. and the prose style is consistently effective. The magazine readers had a whole month to let their memory of the previous installment grow dim. Serialization may even have worked to Dickens' advantage. Themes or motifs are often presented through symbols — that is. Two quite effective symbols in Bleak House are the fog and "the Roman" who points down from Mr. though complicated. arresting. In Bleak House. The plot. Skillfully handled. this haste and extemporaneity resulted in some loose plot construction and in patches of writing that lacked polish. In Bleak House. for that matter. Unusual prose style itself is one way of producing a vivid impression. symbolism comes straight out of the individual writer's unconscious artistry: It is instinctive and individual and often a mark of genius. energetic irony. dynamic sentences. It has the impact (also called "power") of the concrete. Tulkinghorn's ceiling and symbolizes the theme of retribution.Dickens' novels. Symbolism is commonly called a "device" or "technique.

the "technique" of foreshadowing lends unity to the story because it prepares us by dealing with things that will be developed later on. obsession/emotional manipulation versus real love. secrecy. desire. Mrs. guilt. gratitude. July 1861 as a novel in 3 volumes. Magwitch. and such themes carry into the story. an English orphan who rises to wealth. religious attitudes of the time." unable to "see. moral redemption from sin. social commentary First Published: December 1860–April 1861 in weekly installments to a magazine. Joe Gargery. ambition. gradually becomes "lost. wealth and its equal power to help or corrupt. Victorian Literature. abandonment. Richard Carstone. Joe. awareness and acceptance of consequences from one's choices. Estella. shame. Type of Work: serial story turned novel Genres: bildungsroman. It also introduces one of the more colorful characters in literature: Miss Havisham. Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Great Expectations at a Glance Charles Dickens's Great Expectations tells the story of Pip." in the mental and spiritual fog generated by the High Court of Chancery. deserts his true friends. the Victorian work ethic (or lack thereof) Motifs: sense of location. the corruption and problems of the educational and legal systems. personal responsibility. class structure and social rules. Charles Dickens set Great Expectations during the time that England was becoming a wealthy world power. Miss Havisham. yet people lived in awful conditions. Machines were making factories more productive. the need for prison reform. criminals. the effect of the increasing trade and industrialization on people's lives.In turn. for example. child exploitation. The Bleak House fog is a complex symbol that foreshadows several motifs of importance. Jaggers and Wemmick Major Thematic Topics: good versus evil. and around the marshes of Kent Main Characters: Pip. November 1862 as a whole novel Setting: Early 1800s. snobbery. and becomes humbled by his own arrogance. England. London. social expectations .

with its implication that Pip and Estella will marry. Pip. Pip discovers a second escaped convict.Major Symbols: Miss Havisham's house. to play with her adopted daughter. The convict scares Pip into stealing food for him. money Movie Versions: Great Expectations (1946). Many of the novel's chapters end with a lack of dramatic resolution. Joe Gargery. in regular installments of a few chapters each. Great Expectations was first published in a popular magazine. many critics have objected to its happy ending. the village blacksmith. like Joe Gargery. Miss Havisham.D. Pip's pompous Uncle Pumblechook arranges for Pip to go to the house of a wealthy reclusive woman. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. these critics have said that such a conclusion is inconsistent with the characters as we have come to know them. The house is a strange nightmare-world. is often hard to sympathize with because of his snobbery and the resulting bad behavior he exhibits toward some of the other characters. and The Catcher in the Rye by J. Returning with these the next morning. Miss Havisham's fiancé jilted her on her wedding day and she still wears her old wedding . Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Book Summary Part I Pip is an orphan living on the Kent marshes with his abusive sister and her husband. Pip is accosted by an escaped convict. In fact. Great Expectations (1999) The three most important aspects of Great Expectations:    Great Expectations is a bildungsroman. Dickens originally wrote an ending in which Pip and Estella meet and then part forever after a few conciliatory words. While exploring in the churchyard near the tombstones of his parents. Shortly afterward. or coming-of-age novel. Over the years since the novel's publication. Like much of Charles Dickens's work. which was intended to encourage readers to buy the next installment. Other examples of this form include Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. both convicts are recaptured while fighting each other. an enemy of the first one. Salinger. as well as a metal file to saw off the convict's leg iron. Estella. Great Expectations is unusual in that its main character.

Pip is attracted to her even though she is not educated and polished like Estella. he realizes how money changes things. He gets a new suit of clothes and is amazed at how differently he is treated by Mr. However. the Pale Young Gentleman. Pip accuses her of being jealous of him when she suggests Joe does not need improving. but now that he has seen "genteel" life. Pip had looked forward to that for years. Pip does earn a kiss from Estella when he beats one of the relatives. his leaving work early instigates a fistfight between Joe and Joe's assistant. One evening. Pip is on his way to London to become a gentleman. in a fistfight. The man has the file that Pip stole for the convict years before. Pip continues to go there for several months to play with Estella and to wheel Miss Havisham around. he views the forge as a death sentence. He has a conversation with Biddy and asks her to work on "improving" Joe. at night school. a local pub. a powerful London lawyer. The house has been left as it was on her wedding day and even the old wedding cake is still on the table. Part II . After a number of months. During this time. The man gives Pip two one-pound notes. When Pip gets Trabb's shop boy in trouble for not treating Pip with respect. Biddy comes to live with them to help out. Orlick resents Pip and hates Pip's abusive sister. Biddy." Pip is overjoyed and assumes the windfall is from Miss Havisham. Although the visits are emotionally painful and demeaning. On his way home from that visit. Jaggers. the tailor. Pip continues to visit Miss Havisham on his birthday and on one of these occasions. Miss Havisham pays for Pip's blacksmithing apprenticeship with Joe. Pip finds out his sister was almost murdered and is now mentally crippled. Mr. Pip is immediately attracted to Estella in spite of how she and Miss Havisham treat him. he hides his feelings from Joe and performs his duties. Estella is beautiful but haughty and tells Pip that he is coarse and common.gown. By the end of the week. although she's now elderly and wheel-chair-bound. He also meets her toady relatives who want her money and hate Pip. and by Uncle Pumblechook. visits Pip and Joe and informs them that Pip has "great expectations. he encounters a strange man at the Jolly Bargemen. Pip tries to better himself to win Estella's admiration by working harder with his friend. Trabb. Dolge Orlick. who wants to prepare him for Estella. Biddy's grandmother runs the night school.

who. Pip is disgusted and devastated. and realizes that the stiff legal clerk has a different. and joining a group of useless rich men called the Finches. Handel. Pip's sister dies. Pip's world changes dramatically with the arrival of a ragged stranger whom Pip realizes is the convict from the marshes years ago. Pip is embarrassed when Joe visits him in London with a message from Miss Havisham and cannot wait for Joe to leave. in his happiness to see his "gentleman. secretly arranges to set Herbert up in business with a merchant named Clarriker. Pip now knows that Miss Havisham has not been preparing him for Estella. Pip discovers. Mr. Pip is to study with Herbert's father. Miss Havisham informs Pip he is to accompany Estella to London where she will live with a wealthy society woman. He also realizes he deserted Joe for a convict's money." does not notice. Mr. The convict made a fortune in Australia and has risked death to return and tell Pip that he is the source of Pip's expectations. Wemmick brings Pip to the apartment of Herbert Pocket. Pip also realizes that he is harming Herbert financially with their debts. During this time. When Pip returns home to see Miss Havisham. On a stormy evening back in London. had been sent to Australia and was to never return to England under penalty of death. is the Pale Young Gentleman he fought at Miss Havisham's. something Magwitch. Part III .In London. especially later. Pip meets with Jaggers and his clerk. Pip spends part of his time with Herbert and part of his time with the Pocket family. He returns for her funeral and is remorseful over his abandonment of Joe and Biddy. He also makes friends with Jaggers' clerk. Matthew Pocket. he spends his time visiting with Estella. kinder personality at home. and with Wemmick's help. In London. Pip and Herbert become good friends and Herbert nicknames Pip. Pip is convinced Miss Havisham intends Estella for him. he avoids Joe's forge. Wemmick. and that with his money coming from a convict he can never have Estella. The convict." Startop and Bentley Drummle. Also living at the Pocket's family home are two other "gentlemen students. Drummle and Pip do not get along. whose name is Magwitch. Wemmick. He promises he will visit more often and is angry when Biddy implies that she does not believe him. spending too much money with Herbert. to learn how to be a gentleman. when Drummle becomes involved with Estella.

Matthew Pocket. either. Pip later learns from Herbert that Compeyson was the same man who broke Miss Havisham's heart. Estella and Miss Havisham have an argument that shows she cannot love Miss Havisham. Compeyson drowns and Magwitch is hurt. He professes his deep love. Pip visits with her and Miss Havisham and pleads with her not to do this. He goes to the marshes. Miss Havisham realizes the depth of the damage she has done and is heartbroken. he visits with Joe . Compeyson and Magwitch struggle and fall into the river. Pip also gets an anonymous note to come to the marshes where someone has information about Magwitch. Pip starts to leave then returns to see Miss Havisham's dress on fire. They return to London and carry out their escape plan with Magwitch. During this conversation. Afterward. working with Herbert in his business. who intends to kill him.Magwitch explains to Pip that he has come to give him his full inheritance as thanks for his help on the marshes years before. Pip by now has figured out Magwitch is Estella's father. he feels responsible for the danger the man is in and will find a way to get him safely out of the country. Trabb's shop boy led them to the marshes. He saves her but she is very ill afterward. Pip leaves shortly afterward for eleven years in Cairo. Rescue comes from Herbert and Startop who had followed him from London. She begs his forgiveness and agrees to Pip's request to help fund Herbert Pocket's new business. Pip decides he will take no more of Magwitch's money. leaving a large amount of money to Mr. Joe also pays off Pip's debt. He visits and cares for Magwitch until the man dies in prison. where he is captured by Orlick. However. He returns home and visits Miss Havisham before going to the marshes. Pip is crushed to hear that Bentley Drummle is to marry Estella. Pip also gets very sick and is himself arrested for not paying his debts. When he returns. Returning to London. Joe comes and nurses Pip back to health and tells him Miss Havisham has died. which she cannot fathom. Pip attends Wemmick's wedding. Herbert and Pip hide Magwitch and devise an escape plan. and tells her that he would be happy if she married another as long as it was not Drummle. but Compeyson has informed the authorities and they are caught. then imprisoned and sentenced to die. He tells Pip about the other convict. Pip learns from Wemmick that Compeyson is watching Magwitch. He arrives just in time to celebrate Joe and Biddy's wedding. Pip goes home. intending to make amends with Joe and marry Biddy. a man named Compeyson. Before returning to his forge.

The industrial revolution in early nineteenth-century England (the industrial revolution started about one hundred years later in the United States) made things worse. Laborers were in greater demand than ever. often carrying loads while walking in water that . Aside from being underfed. or injured. Children late for work were often beaten. sick. Until the last one hundred years or so. they were whipped. and if they worked too slowly or fell asleep at the machines. they were hit with a strap. Orphanages — and even parents — would give their children to the owners of cotton mills and other operations in exchange for the cost of maintaining them. and Great Expectations brings some of these conditions to light. the government didn't establish a minimum age. plentiful. children were considered by most societies to be the property of their parents. factories. At that time. and a two-mile walk home. Mines. He also meets with Estella. The coal mines were worse. families put their children to work on their farms or in whatever labor was necessary for survival — only children of the wealthy and powerful escaped this fate. little Pip. Critical Essays Children and 19th-Century England For thousands of years. If they were caught.and Biddy and meets their son. There was no family time and some of them did not get supper because they were too tired to wait for it. sometimes severely. exhausted. She is a widow now after years in an abusive marriage to Drummle. discovered children working from six in the morning to nine at night with no breakfast. one hour for lunch. investigating textile factory conditions for Parliament in 1832. She and Pip part. Children as young as five or six were forced to work thirteen to sixteen hours a day for slave wages and barely any food. children spending so many hours a day over factory machines often had bowed legs and poorly developed limbs and muscles. and not enough men or women could fill their needs. and easy to control. but the implication is that this time they will be together. The Sadler Committee. Children were cheap. with young children having to travel through the mines without any light. Children who were "bound" to companies often tried to run away. wage. and shops needed help. or working hours. They had little protection from governments who viewed children as having no human or civil rights outside of their parents' wishes.

The main reason for employing women and children in the mines was that they would work for less than a man would accept. as we had been before. and medical care. afterwards at quiet times when I sat looking at Joe and thinking about him. laws were passed that outlawed infant abandonment and failure to provide shelter. "I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born in opposition to the dictates of reason. then." Chapter 7 "In the little world in which children have their existence. there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt. Study Help Famous Quotes from Great Expectations Here are examples of some of the most famous quotes from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (1861). In addition." Chapter 9 ." Chapter 8 "If you can't get to be oncommon through going straight. and bad water. Laws for mandatory schooling. as injustice. rotting animal and vegetable wastes in the streets. they had the unpleasant option of life on the streets. with its raw sewage. I had a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my heart. and the length of the workday for children. clothing. minimum age for working. They also had to find food and a place to stay out of the rain and cold. and morality. Small wonder. rats. did not come until the twentieth century. and against the arguments of my best friends. disease. Turning to crime for survival was not an act of greed so much as one of pure need. however. Parliament regulated working conditions. that Magwitch turned to crime at a young age. These will help you gain a deeper understanding of this complex and sophisticated story by one of Britain's greatest writers. food. In 1884.was up to their calves." Chapter 4 "We were equals afterwards. national laws in Britain protected children in their own homes. but. If a child was not "lucky" enough to be employed in these manners. whosoever brings them up. religion. As the century progressed. you'll never get to do it through going crooked.

no man who was not a true gentleman at heart. ever was. what would it signify to me. one [man's] a blacksmith. being coarse and common. if nobody had told me so!" Chapter 17 " . more aware of my own ingratitude.' said Estella. . but the two together make me. The success is not mine. a true gentleman in manner . that it should have reappeared on two occasions. more gentle. 'I must be taken as I have been made. . that in my childhood out on our lonely marshes on a winter evening I should have first encountered it. the more the grain will express itself. and one's a coppersmith. of thorns or flowers." Chapter 27 " . Never has that curtain dropped so heavy and blank." Chapter 32 "'So. but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day. . no varnish can hide the grain of the wood. to shut me out from anything save dull endurance any more." . . . the failure is not mine." Chapter 38 . ." Chapter 9 "There have been occasions in my later life (I suppose as in most lives) when I have felt for a time as if a thick curtain had fallen on all its interest and romance." Chapter 14 " . . overlying our hard hearts. . and one's a whitesmith. . and that the more varnish you put on. as when my way in life lay stretched out straight before me through the newly-entered road of apprenticeship to Joe. that it should in this new way pervade my fortune and advancement. it [felt] very sorrowful and strange that this first night of my bright fortunes should be the loneliest I had ever known." Chapter 22 " . . that would never have bound you. starting out like a stain that was faded but not gone. than before--more sorry. since the world began. Divisions among such must come. for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth. think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold." Chapter 19 " . how strange it was that I should be encompassed by all this taint of prison and crime. and one's a goldsmith. I was better after I had cried. . . ." Chapter 18 "Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears. and must be met as they come. .

I suppose." Chapter 59 Hard Times By Charles Dickens About Hard Times Hard Times. Not only does the working class. found vengeance in. and we went out of the ruined place. No wisdom on earth could have given me the comfort that I should have derived from their simplicity and fidelity. the more he admired me and the fonder he was of me. wounded. I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor. and generously. that. and who had felt affectionately." Chapter 39 "The imaginary student pursued by the misshapen creature he had impiously made. and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me. she had shut out infinitely more. spurned affection. or how to comfort her. horribly cruel." Chapter 49 "For now my repugnance to him had all melted away. That she had done a grievous thing in taking an impressionable child to mould into the form that her wild resentment. her mind. But I think she did not. But that. I knew equally well. because my sense of my own worthless conduct to them was greater than every consideration. known as the "Hands." "I knew not how to answer. and recoiling from him with a stronger repulsion. is aptly titled. had grown diseased. gratefully. so. shackled creature who held my hand in his. and. and in the hunted. the evening mists were rising now. undo what I had done." Chapter 54 "I took her hand in mine. a social protest novel of nineteenth-century England. she had secluded herself from a thousand natural and healing influences." have a "hard . brooding solitary.I would not have gone back to Joe now. I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe. if she had reflected on the gravity of what she did. to practice on the susceptibility of a poor boy. and to torture me through all these years with a vain hope and an idle pursuit. never. I knew full well. in shutting out the light of day." Chapter 40 "It would have been cruel in Miss Havisham. in seclusion. pursued by the creature who had made me. as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge. I would not have gone back to Biddy now. towards me with great constancy through a series of years. for any consideration: simply. I saw no shadow of another parting from her. was not more wretched than I. as all minds do and must and will that reverse the appointed order of their Maker. never. and wounded pride. that. but I could never.

and world expansion but also a time when people struggled to assert their independence. each reaps. Man. In theory. The Whigs prepared the way for the great economic reform of the age. No British sovereign since Queen Elizabeth I has exerted such a profound influence on an age as did Queen Victoria (1837-1901). government. rose in power and prosperity and gave his voice to government. There were great intellectual and spiritual disturbances both in society and within the individual. who finally brought that repeal through Parliament. Since Charles Dickens wrote of the conditions and the people of his time. and each garners what is left. but the Church of England was revivified by the Oxford Movement. The third book. so do the other classes as well. it is worthwhile to understand the period in which he lived and worked.time" in this novel. Not only was it an era of reform. literature. the repeal of the Corn Laws." exemplify the biblical concept of "whatsoever a man soweth." Dickens paraphrased from the book of Ruth. . entitled "Garnering. Not even in politics were the issues clear-cut. yet most of the literature is idealistic and romantic. Dickens divided the novel into three separate books. Sir Robert Peel. The nineteenth century was an age of continual change and unparalleled expansion in almost every field of activity. people of the period committed themselves on the whole to a hard-headed utilitarianism. represented en masse as the laboring class. She presided over the period rather than shaped it. Each of his major characters sows. and the Roman Catholic Church was becoming an increasingly powerful religious force in England. The prophets of the time deplored the inroads of science upon religious faith. but it was a Tory leader. achievement in science. The literature of the period reflects the conflict between the advocates of the triumphant material prosperity of the country and those who felt it had been achieved by the exploitation of human beings at the expense of spiritual and esthetic values. industrialization. in which Ruth garnered grain in the fields of Boaz. that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). "Sowing" and "Reaping. evangelical Protestantism was never stronger and more active. two of which.

In 1819. and Germany was emerging as a great power. however. Studies of the working and living conditions in England between 1800 and 1834 showed that 82 percent of the workers in the mills were between the ages of eleven and eighteen. This political pattern was broken when the Reform Bill of . or the cotton mills in order to survive. The first great "Victorian" reform antedated Queen Victoria by five years. though productive of much good. Whole families. The factories were open. Children were exploited by employers. thus. had to enter the factories. this law was not enforced. Their fingers were smaller and quicker than those of adults. These studies. marked by the Industrial Revolution. for a pittance a day a nine-year-old worked twelve and fourteen hours in the mills. Until 1832 the old Tudor list of boroughs was still in use. The Industrial Revolution. As a result. a child labor law was enacted which limited to eleven hours a day the working hours of children five to eleven years of age. from the youngest to the oldest. for picking out the briars and burrs from both cotton and wool. was also a century of political and economic unrest in the world: America was torn by the strife of the Civil War. not equipped with any system of heat and ventilation. the lords who controlled these boroughs (known as rotten boroughs in history) sold seats to the highest bidders. France was faced with the problem of recovery from the wars of Napoleon. the Health Act was passed to provide two hours of instruction for all apprentices. Overcrowding in the cities as a consequence of the population shift from rural to urban areas and the increase in the numbers of immigrants from poverty-stricken Ireland resulted in disease and hunger for thousands of the laboring class. But with the fall of Napoleon.This century. the returning soldiers added not only to the growing numbers of workers but also to the hunger and misery. employers preferred to hire children. large towns of recent growth had no representation in Parliament. tied to the machines. or in the coal mines pulling carts to take the coal from the shafts. resulted in some attempt to bring about reforms in working conditions and to alleviate some of the dire poverty in England. A surplus labor supply caused wages to drop. In essence. the woolen mills. In 1802. created deplorable living conditions in England. barnlike structures. the coal mines. while some unpopulated localities retained theirs. presented to Parliament. Many of these studies proved that 62 percent of the workers in the fabric mills had tuberculosis. With the advent of the power loom came unemployment.

By 1849. Under this law. bitterly resented this law. The demands of the Chartist Movement were the abolition of property qualifications for members of Parliament. Debtors' prison. the Emancipation Bill ended slavery in British colonies. the unpopularity of the Poor Law. an example is Mr. subsequent legislation provided half day or alternate days of schooling for the factory children. The undemocratic character of the Reform Bill of 1832. as revealed in Dickens' David Copperfield. With this bill came a new type of Parliament — one with representatives from the rising middle class-and several other important reforms. failed. Even though chattel slavery was abolished. they had two alternatives as the machines took more jobs and the wages dropped — either steal or starve. was a penalty worse than death. The Poor Law of 1834 provided for workhouses. If the people rejected this rule of body and soul. and the unhappy conditions of the laborers led to the Chartist Movement of the 1840s. thus cutting down the working hours of children fourteen or under. equal electoral districts. children between the ages of nine and thirteen could not work for more than nine hours a day. salaries for members of Parliament. indigent persons. Conditions in prisons were even more deplorable than in the workhouses. with heavy compensation to the owners. industrial slavery continued. annual election of Parliament. Night work was prohibited for persons under twenty-one years of age and for all women. Bumble in Dickens' Oliver Twist. one which prohibited the employment of children under the age of nine. the most formidable working-class movement England had ever seen. Only after rioting and a threat of civil war did the House of Lords approve the Reform Bill. accustomed to living where they pleased. Chartism. The Chartists had no way to identify their cause with the interests of any .1832 abolished all boroughs with fewer than two thousand inhabitants and decreased by 50 percent the number of representatives admitted from towns with a population between two thousand and four thousand. the living conditions were so bad that these workhouses were named the "Bastilles of the Poor. In 1833. were subjected to the inhuman treatment of cruel supervisors. equal manhood suffrage. which compelled them to live with their families in workhouses In fact. dependent upon the government dole." Here the poor people. and voting by secret ballot. Also in 1833 came the first important Factory Law.

Ultimately. With the repeal of these laws. Gradually the laboring classes won the right to help themselves. two workingmen candidates were elected to Parliament in 1874. a person at one extreme be-comes a millionaire and at the other. there were four hundred and thirty-eight offenses punishable by death. As the country awoke to the degradation of the working classes. The political life of the nineteenth century was tied up with its economic theories. however. three years later he published Das Kapital. R. which had occurred during the Chartist Movement. influenced by Carlyle. a book of ." Dickens. Trade unions were legalized in 1864. industrial reform proceeded gradually but inevitably. Thomas Carlyle called this system of economy "the dismal science. this principle meant that the government should allow the economic situation to adjust itself naturally through the laws of supply and demand. a beggar.influential class. was later elaborated upon by Jeremy Bentham and T. The doctrine of laissez-faire (let alone). When Victoria became queen. The Utilitarians. In 1846. With this system. the main factor in improvement of conditions for labor was not outside sympathy but the initiative taken by the workers themselves. led the repeal of the Corn Laws of 1815. Karl Marx founded the first International Workingmen's Association in London in 1864. With the softening of the penalties and the stressing of prevention and correction came a decrease in crime. Even though writers of the period protested human degradation under modern industrialism." In other words. first projected by Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. Sir Robert Peel. the prime minister. castigated it again and again. which were nothing more than protective tariffs in the interest of the landlords and farmers to prevent the importation of cheap foreign grain. though. During her reign. Malthus. whose doctrine of Utility was the principle of "the greatest happiness for the greatest number. the death penalty was limited to two offenses — murder and treason. most of the ends they sought were achieved through free discussion and legislative action. came a period of free trade and a rapid increase in manufacture and commerce which gave the working class an opportunity to exist outside the workhouses. They learned that organized trade unions were more constructive to their welfare than riots and the destruction of machines. in spite of the advocates of laissez-faire and industrial freedom. helped bring about the repeal of the Corn Laws and to abolish cruel punishment.

Sir Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830-33) established a continuous history of life on this planet. therefore. In 1884. in 1891. free common education for all became compulsory. Second.modern communism. Sir Frances Galton did pioneer work in the field of heredity. a group of Oxford men. The Origin of Species maintained that all living creatures had developed through infinite differentiations from a single source. both religion and science affected the thought and the literature of the period. the Elementary Education Bill provided education for all. In the nineteenth century. In 1833. This one work had the most profound influence of all secular writings on the thinking of the period. the telephone. The second half of Queen Victoria's reign was one of prosperity and advancement in science. Man became curious about and interested in the unknown. In 1870. headed by Beatrice and Sidney Webb. the Fabian Society appeared. Following its publication. and other upper middleclass intellectuals. Inventions such as the steam engine. began the Oxford Movement with the purpose of bringing about in the Church a reformation which would increase spiritual power and emphasize and restore the Catholic doctrine and ritual. Once the rights of the workers were recognized. The Fabians believed that socialism would come about gradually without violence. Darwin's evidence had left no . a vicar of St. George Bernard Shaw. nothing had changed in religious beliefs regarding origin and creation. Poet George Meredith and economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill worked for "female emancipation. New scientific and philosophic research in the fields of geology and biology influenced the religious mind of England. Politics and economics do not make up the whole of a nation's life. there were three schools of thought concerning Man's origin: first. the movement carried on its reforms primarily through a series of papers called Tracts for the Times." From this period of change came such women as Florence Nightingale and Frances Powers. Begun by John Keble. A series of discoveries with respect to Man's origin challenged accepted opinions regarding the universe and our place in it. Chief among the reformers was John Henry Newman. and the wireless made communication easier and simpler. after the Reform Bill of 1832. Mary's. telegraph. dissatisfied with the conditions of the Church of England. Darwin's evidence did not justify his conclusions. Charles Darwin's Origin of Species gave the world the theory of evolution. education became of interest to Parliament.

Thus. His creative genius was surpassed only by that of Shakespeare. His very description is one of fact: "square forefinger . square shoulders. not poetry for him. Sissy Jupe. titled "The One Thing Needful." In the second chapter. ." and "A Loophole. M'Choakumchild. therefore. Darwin's theories simply reaffirmed the Biblical concepts. Third. alone. whereas Matthew Arnold and Arthur Hugh Clough represent the skeptics and the doubters. ." "Murdering the Innocent. He sows the seeds of Fact. Poets of the era can be classified through their attitudes toward religion and science. Thomas Gradgrind teaches a lesson as an example for the schoolmaster. square coat . not named — with facts. according to critics. Summary Book One consists of sixteen chapters in which are sown not only the seeds of the plot but also the seeds of the characters. Mr. Many later novelists were to feel the influence of this writer." The conflict between the theologians and the scientists raged not only throughout the remainder of the century but was inevitably reflected in the literature of the period. everything had changed and thinking must change. Historians have called Charles Dickens the greatest of the Victorian novelists. whose voice became the trumpet of protest against economic conditions of the age. of sense. . There is only proof. . square legs. not sentimentality. not Fancy. is the only "little vessel" who cannot be filled with facts. of conformity. Later Victorian verse showed less of the conflict than the earlier. Thomas Gradgrind tries to fill the "little pitchers" — who are numbered. therefore. a man who chokes children with Facts. . Dickens' Hard Times is a relentless indictment of the callous greed of the Victorian industrial society and its misapplied utilitarian philosophy. George Bernard Shaw once said that Little Dorrit was as seditious a book as Das Kapital. not curiosity. so shall they be reaped. square wall of a forehead . These chapters. As these seeds are sown. She has lived too long among the "savages" of the circus to perform .room for God in the universe. Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning stand as poets of faith. . "evolution is just God's way of doing things." give the seeds that Thomas Gradgrind sows. such as the statistical description of a horse.

Louisa and Tom Jr. can recite all of the physical attributes of a horse. It was the best of times. there was a loophole: his two children desired to learn more than what they had been taught in the "lecturing castle" or in Stone Lodge. In the third chapter. is protective toward her younger brother. Charles Darnay. Bounderby say?" Here one sees that Gradgrind. 1859 Setting: London and Paris. in different ways as turmoil erupts. At Stone Lodge. Sydney Carton. from April 30 to November 29. though retired from the hardware business and a member of Parliament.. On his way home from his successful lesson to the children. Although he had sown seeds of Fact and seeds of not wondering. is aware of the wealth and influence of the factory owner. Here Bitzer. The main characters in Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities — Doctor Alexandre Manette. Tom. Jerry Cruncher. and Sydney Carton — are all recalled to life. The reader sees here. Therese Defarge. admonishing them by asking. Miss Pross . peeping through a hole at the circus people of Sleary's Horse-riding. A Tale of Two Cities at a Glance A Tale of Two Cities. "What would Mr. by Charles Dickens. later to show how well he has learned his lesson. some of the seeds that Thomas Gradgrind has sown appear not to have taken root. each of the five little Gradgrinds has his cabinets of Facts which he must absorb. political commentary First Published: In weekly installments in All the Year Round.properly in this school. he spies his own children. it was the worst of times in London and Paris. deals with the major themes of duality. Gradgrind scolds his erring offspring. Mr. 1775–1792 Main Characters: Doctor Alexandre Manette. Lorry. or resurrected. Written by: Charles Dickens Type of Work: novel Genres: historical fiction. too. revolution. Ernest Defarge. Lucie Manette (later Darnay). as economic and political unrest lead to the American and French Revolutions. and resurrection. a girl of fifteen or sixteen. Charles Darnay. that Louisa.

nevertheless. A Tale of Two Cities. The comfortable home she creates comforts the men in her life and her devout compassion for others inspires them. Her goodness enables them to . violence. centrality of women. The book is sympathetic to the overthrow of the French aristocracy but highly critical of the reign of terror that followed. is set in London and in Paris and the French countryside at the time of the French Revolution. for instance. or storyteller. Although Dickens may not develop his female characters as fully as he does some of the male characters in A Tale of Two Cities. Additionally. As a result.Major Thematic Topics: duality. and Carton together. Dickens characterizes the men and women who populate A Tale of Two Cities less by what the book's narrator or the characters themselves say. Critical Essays The Centrality of Women in A Tale of Two Cities Curiously. motherhood The three most important aspects of A Tale of Two Cities:    A Tale of Two Cities is told from the omniscient. who is never identified. The narrator. Lorry. the novel seems somewhat modern. aristocratic versus peasant Motifs: darkness. has access to the thoughts and feelings of all the characters. which is one of two historical novels written by Charles Dickens. and more by what they do. As the "golden thread"that binds the lives of Doctor Manette. restricted by society. duality Major Symbols: Madame Defarge's Knitting. or all-knowing. drive the action in their respective spheres of influence. The characters around whom the action revolves in both London and Paris are women: Lucie Manette and Madame Defarge. resurrection. revolution. point of view. Dickens uses women throughout the book to represent the moral climate of a group or family. despite being set in the 18th century and written in the 19th century. Darnay. Mr. the women provide the men in the novel with an emotional foundation that causes the men to act for or react against what the women represent. Lucie is a passive character who influences others through who she is rather than by what she does. one of the aspects readers most commonly overlook when studying A Tale of Two Cities is the centrality of women in the story. Lucie and Madame Defarge.

become more than they are and to find the strength to escape the prisons of their lives. On the other hand, Madame Defarge stands at the center of the revolutionary activity in Paris as an active agent of change, even when she is just sitting in the wine-shop and knitting her death register. Madame Defarge instigates hatred and violence, exemplified by her leadership in the mob scenes and the way The Vengeance and Jacques Three feed off of her desire to exterminate the Evrémonde line. Her patient ruthlessness helps to support her husband when he has doubts about the Revolution. In the end, however, her desire for revenge becomes something Monsieur Defarge reacts against as he recognizes that the killing must end somewhere. Dickens also portrays the other women in the novel as either nurturing life or destroying it. Mothers play an especially important role in this sense, as Dickens differentiates between natural and unnatural mothers. Women such as Darnay's mother, Madame Evrémonde, and Lucie's mother, Madame Manette, represented mothers who die young but leave their children with a sense of conscience and love. Madame Evrémonde's exhortations to Darnay to atone for the family's wrongdoing, for instance, motivate him to risk his life in order to help others. Lucie is also a natural mother, nurturing her daughter and protecting her from harm. The women of Monseigneur's court, however, represent unnatural mothers, who care so little for their children that they push them off on wet nurses and nannies and pretend that the children don't even exist. Similarly, Dickens portrays even the mothers of Saint Antoine who do nurture their children as unnatural in the fact that they can spend the day as part of a vicious mob killing and beheading people and then return home smeared with blood to play with their children. The behaviors of both the aristocratic and the peasant women are destructive in that they either create an environment that lacks love and guidance or they guide the next generation into further anger and violence. About Oliver Twist In his preface to Oliver Twist, Dickens emphatically expressed resentment at the practice in popular literature of depicting rogues, like Macheath in The Beggar's Opera, as dashing figures, leading lively and colorful lives. He considers such misrepresentations as a potentially harmful influence on

impressionable minds. Dickens firmly maintains that the nature and behavior of his seemingly extreme characters reflect truth without distortion, however implausible they may seem. Dickens is frequently charged with offering a view of the world that exaggerates reality. A novelist, however, communicates his interpretation of life through the medium of fiction. His accomplishment grows out of a blend of experience and imagination. In judging the writer's success, we have to grant his purposes and goal. Dickens was fascinated by extreme behavior and attitudes. He had a peculiar talent for exaggeration. For him, real life was the springboard for fancy. Thus the world of story he created is a mirror in which the truths of the real world are reflected. Oliver Twist is a good illustration of Dickens's belief that the novel should do more than merely entertain. It should, he believed, be directed toward social reform. This does not mean Dickens was a propagandist who held forth idealistic goals as cures for the ills of the world. Although he bitterly attacks the defects of existing institutions — government, the law, education, penal systems — and mercilessly exposes the injustice and wretchedness inflicted by them, he does not suggest the overthrow of the established order. Nor will you find any easy answers or pat solutions. Dickens's attitudes and themes reflect a general approval of the English state and society. He could not have had such enormous popularity if he had not in a large measure voiced sentiments and values that motivated the readers of his times. Dickens looked upon almost all institutions with suspicion, including religious movements. In Hard Times, trade unionism is shown to be loaded with the potential for mischief, in the manner of all oppressive forces when those in power fall prey to corruption and abuse. Dickens had little confidence in systems as agencies of good but placed his faith in people. To bring about improvements, he depended upon the release of the goodness that he felt to be inherent in all human nature. Dickens kept a strong belief that people, if they were not stifled, would behave with fairness. As a result, he firmly hated all individuals, institutions, and systems that he regarded as standing in the way of natural human goodness. He does not believe this endowment of human goodness is indestructible. In Oliver Twist, he acknowledges that the trait of goodness in humanity can be irretrievably lost if it is subjected to ungoverned corrupting influences.

For this reason, Dickens lays great stress on environment in the development of character and regulation of conduct. Although he had little faith in the operation of politics, he rested his hopes for progress on education. But schooling must be well conceived and administered. In many of his books, Dickens demonstrates with the full strength of his satiric lash how education, in the hands of the wrong authority figures, can become as bad if not worse than ignorance. It is noteworthy that whenever Oliver Twist's fortunes begin to rise, his benefactors immediately take an interest in his education. Dickens is often accused of being weak or lacking in character portrayal. But in this regard, as in other feats of dramatic exposition, Dickens's distinctive gifts as a storyteller yielded the most remarkable creations. Dickens was more concerned with the outer behavior of people than he was with the exploration of psychological depths. For the most part, his characters are considered "flat" because they don't reveal varied facets of personality or develop as the narrative unfolds. Instead, they remain unchanged through the course of events and interaction with other characters. Since they are not gradually built up into complex human beings, characters may sometimes suddenly act contrary to expectations. Some of Dickens's more eccentric characters may seem overdrawn, but they usually discharge a serious function in his fiction. They are not to be looked upon as representative types of actual humanity. Second-rank characters regularly are given some identity tag or trait when they are first introduced, often by being labeled with some idiosyncrasy. They are readily remembered thereafter by the recurring peculiarity of speech or behavior, even when they have little to do with the mainstream of action. Thus, Dickens's secondary characters are usually the most memorable. His unsavory figures also tend to stand out more than the models of rectitude and propriety. This is because it is more difficult for a writer to dramatize or signify by a phrase or gesture. As a result, Dickens's protagonists are frequently pallid, unconvincing figures who lack the vitality and individuality that distinguish the villains and secondary characters. Dickens loved the operatic and demonstrative narrative intensity that has been called melodrama. His characters reflect this. The principals fall into two groups whose natures are predominantly white (virtuous or proper) or black (villainous and mean-spirited bordering on violent) . The serious characters between whom the essential conflict takes place therefore embody the extremes of virtue and viciousness.

When particularly aroused by an offense against humanity. Pathos must be utilized with care. Many of the technical flaws in his works were imposed by historical circumstances. In his humor . He liberally indulged in humorous riffs solely to ornament the story and amuse his audience.The novels of Dickens are marked — many would insist marred — by an erratic looseness of construction that may confuse readers who are more used to unified works. can defeat the writer's designs. rambling tales. But whatever faults Dickens may have. Shrewd novelist that he was. He fully recognized that in order for the world to receive his message. In the case of Dickens. The plot is woven out of an involved central intrigue that can be hard to unravel because of the distractions of subordinate and irrelevant incidents. it may be difficult to discover what the center of a work is — what it is precisely about — which should be expressible in a succinct statement. He was not only a confirmed moralist but a supreme storyteller. That meant that he had subtly to attract his readers by taking into account their tastes and desires. Dickens may introduce the exaggeration of caustic irony — saying the opposite of what he really meant. Dickens provided his readers with lively diversion while soothing their consciences with moral flavoring. the novel had not yet reached the state of development and acceptance it was later to reach. When the effort to portray tragic intensity lapses into melodrama and sentimentality. otherwise readers may resent having their feelings exploited. In addition. The novel as a literary form was still developing . Fiction was looked upon as light reading and at the time was not always considered respectable. but trusting the reader to "get" the true intent — that resolves into open sarcasm. People who read novels expected to be entertained. When Dickens began Dickens followed the eighteenth-century tradition that favored long. Dickens's exuberance also carried him beyond the bounds of moderation. the form of Dickens's . they are the faults of genius. his books had to be read. the effect upon the reader is reduced. but he seldom lost sight of his intentions. He also made use of humor for satiric effect by exaggerating weakness or vice to reduce it to maximum absurdity. particularly in the rendition of great crucial scenes. freely embellished with uplifting attributes. The resort to melodrama.

many Englishmen enthusiastically welcomed the overthrow of the old order. The author sometimes knew no better than his readers what was to happen next. If I can only work out the idea I have formed of her. which lasted until 1815. . Critical Essays Early 19th-Century England During much of the long period beginning with the French Revolution (1789-92) and the following Napoleonic era. Dickens supported the best of which Victorian England was capable. writing about Oliver Twist. His works represented the blending of his genius with a tradition he inherited from the times in which he lived. while at the same time leading up to a height of suspense in anticipation of the next issue. On November 3. . He had no opportunity for revising and polishing his efforts after a novel was finished. Early in the French Revolution. the author had intended to have Rose Maylie die. 1837. England was caught up in the swirl of events on the continent of Europe. he confided to Forster that he had not yet "disposed of the Jew Fagin. Serialization prescribed an episodic structure rather than a tightly contrived plot conveyed by a dexterously linked story. and of the female who is to contrast with her. and a work might never be planned as a whole. Dickens observed to his friend and biographer. sometimes barely keeping ahead of the typesetters. In spite of his occasional grouchiness." In that same work. with resultant conflict at home. who is such an out and outer that I don't know what to make of him.books was partially dictated by the needs of serial publication. Each installment needed to be in some degree an independent entity with its own center of interest. And each succeeding generation has affirmed the original judgment by paying homage to the generosity of his spirit and the immensity of his creative achievement. his extraordinary popularity can leave no doubt that he was the reigning literary figure of his day. John Forster: "I hope to do great things with Nancy. For Dickens. keen partisanship divided English society. when the novel was almost completed. but he later rejected the opportunity for a pathetic scene and allowed her to recover. . Whatever imperfections Dickens's writing may contain. But as the violence and terror in France reached extreme heights. this episodic format meant that he was often writing the installments of a particular novel to keep up with the publication schedule of a magazine. ." In September 1838.

destroying the machinery that they believed had replaced them in the labor market. resulting in a general jubilation. Helena for the remainder of his days. After the long period of bloody conflicts. the prolonged economic struggle between France and its enemies deprived England of most of its markets for manufactured goods. became commonplace. with the inevitable retaliation by the authorities. the year of Charles Dickens's birth. Although the upper classes had relatively little need to sacrifice. 1819. At the same time. one of England's major problems had been the support of paupers. but officials openly gave support to the action. In 1815. Once again violence and destruction swept the land. when England was at war with France. Direct relief had been in operation since the days of Queen Elizabeth. the destruction of manufacturing equipment was made punishable by death. peace was restored." In St. on August 16. Their hardships were multiplied when the government issued paper currency. which produced inflation. a regiment of cavalry charged an orderly assembly of citizens. the working classes were hit hard by rising prices and food scarcity. jobless workers in organized groups known as the Luddites roamed the country. killing eleven and injuring four hundred. The end of war plunged England into the most ruinous depression the nation had ever suffered. Peter's Fields. followed by repressive measures. Fierce public indignation followed the outrage. Napoleon was defeated and confined to the island of St. whose numbers steadily increased. the underprivileged and the liberals were encouraged to agitate for improved conditions. Disorder. Extensive unemployment brought on acute distress during the years 181113. In 1812. particularly later.The upper levels of society — the propertied and governing classes — were naturally alarmed at the way events across the English Channel were stimulating radicalism among the populace. In 1811. The heavy tax burden imposed to support military operations bore hardest on those least able to pay. A climax was reached with the "Peterloo Massacre. Manchester. The struggle on the continent led to acute hardship among the English people. For a long time. But optimism and high hopes were quickly shattered. This outlay came to require the . On the other hand. The working classes placed the blame for their woes on the landlords and industrialists.

which now seem barbaric. In the elections brought about by the crowning of William IV in 1830 as king. an increased amount of legislation was enacted to control the hours of labor and working conditions for children and women in manufacturing plants. many of them obviously minor. the slave trade was made illegal. . many of the able-bodied preferred to live at public expense rather than to seek work. In 1800. Abuses became rampant. 400. the Reform Bill of 1832 was passed. From that time on. the Tories (conservatives who supported the established church and the traditional political structure) lost control of the government. After the defeat of Napoleon. In 1833 came the beginning of child-labor laws.000 veterans were added to the hordes of the unemployed. The objective was quietly achieved through gradual transition and with generous compensation to former slave-owners. With the power now in the hands of the Whigs (favorers of reform). One result of these circumstances. At the same time. Slavery also came under attack by humanitarian forces. In 1829. In 1808. only 15 crimes carried the death penalty. When the practice of supplementing starvation wages with relief payments developed. aggravating the crisis. the way was opened for an era of accelerated progress.imposition of crushing parish taxes. prominent crusaders were campaigning relentlessly for abolition of capital punishment. there was an undercurrent of strong forces striving for improvement. and the independent worker who wanted to be selfsupporting was frustrated in his efforts. The bill eliminated many inequities in representation. unscrupulous employers took advantage of the situation by lowering wages. were punishable by death. slavery was entirely abolished in British land possessions. In spite of determined opposition in the House of Lords. Among the most urgently recommended steps was parliamentary reform. By 1837. The pressure of public opinion supported the efforts of reformers to rectify many old abuses. In contrast to ugly appearances on the surface. the first Catholic was admitted to Parliament. 220 crimes. was that juries often refused to convict the accused. In 1834. and the middle class was enlarged.

A new concept was adopted to deal with the vexing issue of poverty. The Poor Law of 1834 provided that all able-bodied paupers must reside in workhouses. Inmates of the workhouses became objects of public stigma, and to further heighten the unpopularity of the institutions, living arrangements in them were deliberately made harsh. In one way, the plan was successful. Within three years, the cost of poor relief was reduced by over one-third. However, the system was sharply censured, and the increased prevalence of crime has been attributed to it. Dickens made the Poor Law of 1834 a conspicuous target of denunciation in Oliver Twist. On June 20, 1837, Queen Victoria came to the throne of England as the long period of middle-class ascendancy was gaining momentum. At that time, Dickens's hugely popular character, Mr. Pickwick (The Pickwick Papers) had already captured a devoted following. At the same time, the trials and ordeals of Oliver Twist were engaging the sympathies of a large, eager audience. The inauguration of the Victorian Age found twenty-five-year-old Charles Dickens firmly established on the road to literary fame that would take him to ever greater eminence throughout his life. Bathsheba Everdene has the enviable problem of coping with three suitors simultaneously. The first to appear is Gabriel Oak, a farmer as ordinary, stable, and sturdy as his name suggests. Perceiving her beauty, he proposes to her and is promptly rejected. He vows not to ask again. Oak's flock of sheep is tragically destroyed, and he is obliged to seek employment. Chance has it that in the search he spies a serious fire, hastens to aid in extinguishing it, and manages to obtain employment on the estate. Bathsheba inherits her uncle's farm, and it is she who employs Gabriel as a shepherd. She intends to manage the farm by herself. Her farmhands have reservations about the abilities of this woman, whom they think is a bit vain and capricious. Indeed, it is caprice that prompts her to send an anonymous valentine to a neighboring landowner, Mr. Boldwood, a middle-aged bachelor. His curiosity and, subsequently, his emotions are seriously aroused, and he becomes Bathsheba's second suitor. She rejects him, too, but he vows to pursue her until she consents to marry him. The vicissitudes of country life and the emergencies of farming, coupled with Bathsheba's temperament, cause Gabriel to be alternately fired and

rehired. He has made himself indispensable. He does his work, gives advice when asked, and usually withholds it when not consulted. But it is her third suitor, Sergeant Francis Troy, who, with his flattery, insouciance, and scarlet uniform, finally captures the interest of Bathsheba. Troy, who does not believe in promises, and laments with some truth that "women will be the death of me," has wronged a young serving maid. After a misunderstanding about the time and place where they were to be married, he left her. This fickle soldier marries Bathsheba and becomes an arrogant landlord. Months later, Fanny, his abandoned victim, dies in childbirth. Troy is stunned — and so is Bathsheba, when she learns the truth. She feels indirectly responsible for the tragedy and knows that her marriage is over. Bathsheba is remorseful but somewhat relieved when Troy disappears. His clothes are found on the shore of a bay where there is a strong current. People accept the circumstantial evidence of his death, but Bathsheba knows intuitively that he is alive. Troy does return, over a year later, just as Boldwood, almost mad, is trying to exact Bathsheba's promise that she will marry him six years hence, when the law can declare her legally widowed. Troy interrupts the Christmas party that Boldwood is giving. The infuriated Boldwood shoots him. Troy is buried beside Fanny, his wronged love. Because of his insanity, Boldwood's sentence is eventually commuted to internment at Her Majesty's pleasure. Gabriel, who has served Bathsheba patiently and loyally all this time, marries her at the story's conclusion. The augury is that, having lived through tragedy together, the pair will now find happiness. Critical Essay Hardy's Philosophy and Ideas Hardy is primarily a storyteller and should be viewed more as a chronicler of moods and deeds than as a philosopher. Yet a novel such as Far from the Madding Crowd, which raises many questions about society, religion, morals, and the contrast between a good life and its rewards, is bound to make the reader curious about the author who brings them up. Hardy lived in an age of transition. The industrial revolution was in the process of destroying the agricultural life, and the subsequent shifting of population caused a disintegration of rural customs and traditions that had meant security, stability, and dignity for the people. It was a period when fundamental beliefs — religious, social, scientific, and political — were

shaken to their core and brought in their stead the "ache of modernism." The new philosophies failed to satisfy the emotional needs of many people. As a young man, Hardy read Darwin's Origin of the Species and Essays and Reviews (the manifesto of a few churchmen who held radical theological opinions), both of which were to influence his views toward religion. He found it difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile the idea of a beneficent, omnipotent, and omniscient deity with the fact of omnipresent evil and the persistent tendency of circumstances toward unhappiness. When one thinks of Hardy the novelist, that aspect of his work that comes to mind most readily is his frequent use of chance and circumstances in the development of his plots. But the reader must learn to view Hardy's stories in the light of the author's fatalistic outlook on life, for Hardy fluctuates between fatalism and determinism. Fatalism is a view of life which acknowledges that all action is controlled by the nature of things, or by a Fate which is a great, impersonal, primitive force existing through all eternity, absolutely independent of human wills and superior to any god created by man. Determinism, on the other hand, acknowledges that man's struggle against the will behind things is of no avail, that the laws of cause and effect are in operation — that is, the human will is not free and human beings have no control over their own destiny, try as they may. Hardy sees life in terms of action, in the doomed struggle against the circumstantial forces against happiness. Incident, for example, plays an important role in causing joy or pain, and often an act of indiscretion in early youth can wreck one's chances for happiness. In Hardy's novels, then, Fate appears as an artistic motif in a great variety of forms — chance and coincidence, nature, time, woman, and convention. None is Fate itself, but rather all of these are manifestations of the Immanent Will. The use of chance and coincidence as a means of furthering the plot was a technique used by many Victorian authors but with Hardy it becomes something more than a mere device. Fateful incidents (overheard conversations and undelivered letters, for instance) are the forces working against mere man in his efforts to control his own destiny. In addition, Fate appears in the form of nature, endowing it with varying moods that affect the lives of the characters. Those who are most in harmony with their environment are usually the most contented; similarly, those who can appreciate the joys of nature can find solace in it. Yet nature can take on sinister aspects, becoming more of an actor than just a setting for the action.

and when he realizes that Phillotson. under whom she is now teaching. partly because of his aspirations but also partly because of the presence there of his cousin Sue Bridehead. At Melchester he intends to pursue theological study and eventually enter the church at a lower level. . They do not get along at all. for time is a great series of moments. he learns the trade of ecclesiastical stonework. He meets and falls in love with her. who leaves Marygreen for Christminster to take a university degree and to be ordained. wants to follow the example of his teacher Mr.Besides the importance of nature in Hardy's novels. He meets. woman is helpless in the hands of Fate and carries out Fate's work. desires. There is tremendous importance placed on the moment. whom he helps in her bakery. who deceives him into marriage by making him think he has got her pregnant. and to provide a means by which he can support himself at the university. Jude is puzzled by Sue because her ideas are different from his and she will not return the feeling he has for her. He studies very hard on his own to prepare for the move. and eventually Arabella leaves him to go with her family to Australia. one is. for example — and which work against him can be changed by man. Man is not hopelessly doomed. and marries Arabella Donn. The joys of life are transitory and the moments of joy may be turned to bitterness by time. Jude is in despair. Jude is being raised by his great-aunt. woman becomes an agent in her own destiny. an eleven-year-old boy. Jude the Obscure By Thomas Hardy Book Summary Jude Fawley. but she flees the school when punished for staying out all night with Jude. but those things that are contrived by man — social laws and convention. Phillotson. Though delayed. one should consider the concept of time. though the fact of his being married causes him to feel guilty. In short. Sue will not return his love. is used by Hardy as one of Fate's most potent instruments for opposing man's happiness. Woman. Jude does get to Christminster. also. In her search for love. according to Hardy. Sue is there at a training college and is to marry Phillotson when she finishes. is interested in Sue. the motivating passion of her life. powerless to change the workings of Fate. This plus the fact that he has made no headway on getting into the university and realizes he never will causes him to give up that part of his dream and leave Christminster. Closer to primitive feelings than man.

arriving on a holiday. preferably with Jude.Shortly after he tells her he is married. and they live in many places as Jude works where he can find employment in anything other than ecclesiastical work. Little Father Time. revives her interest in Jude. They now have two children of their own and another on the way. spends the night with her. and learns that she married in Australia. again and sends to Jude her and Jude's son. who is now in Marygreen. and when she encounters Phillotson. Sue comes to Marygreen for the funeral. Only when Arabella appears and seems to threaten her hold on Jude does Sue allow intimacy. and Jude vows to go on seeing her in spite of his aim to discipline himself to get into the church. she announces her marriage to Phillotson and asks Jude to give her away. who is back from abroad. and Jude is upset by his return to the city that has meant so much to him and gives a speech to a . he burns his theological books and will profess nothing. Sue asks Phillotson to let her live apart from him. now ill and not working regularly. When opinion turns against Jude and Sue and he loses a job because of their reputation. After living together a year at Aldbrickham Jude and Sue have still not consummated their relationship. which he decides to give up. but he only allows her to live apart in the house until an instance of her repugnance to him causes him to decide to let her go. When Jude's aunt dies. and though they repeatedly plan to be married they never go through with it. Having seen Sue in Kennetbridge. When he next encounters Sue. They do return to Christminster. therefore. whose husband has died. Arabella. The kiss Jude and Sue exchange when she leaves for Shaston causes him to think he has reached the point where he is no longer fit for the church. Arabella marries Cartlett. she tells him he was wrong to let Sue go. her Australian husband. but she will not yet allow intimacy. and after seeing her later and not being able to get her back he decides to divorce her to give her complete freedom. and there she admits to him she is unhappy and can't give herself to Phillotson. Phillotson is dismissed from his job at Shaston when Sue never returns. He sees Arabella again. wants to return to Christminster. she tells him perhaps she shouldn't have married. Jude. Sue goes to Jude and they travel to Aldbrickham. they decide to leave Aldbrickham.

Sue returns to Phillotson at Marygreen and marries him again. Jude's idea of Christminster permeates not only his thinking but the whole novel. thinking of it as a penance. she agrees. and on the holiday the following year. is a different matter. It is by this ideal that he measures everything. From his first view of it on the horizon to his hearing the sounds of the holiday there coming in his window as he lies on his deathbed. and he hangs the other two children and himself. Two symbols of major importance are Christminster and the character of Little Father Time. Jude learns of this. Edlin are present to stand watch by his coffin. Little Father Time. They are useful to discuss. It finally represents to him literally all that he has left in life. though she still finds him repugnant. since the first is an instance of a successful symbol and the second an unsuccessful one. As a further penance.street crowd in an attempt to explain what his life has meant. The boy's appearance. And the child Sue is carrying is born dead. and by persistent scheming she gets him to marry her once more. It is a successful symbol because it is capable of representing what it is supposed to and it does not call attention to itself as a literary device. Despairing talk by Sue triggers off a reaction in Little Father Time. They get along about as before. Jude and Sue have reached the point where their views of life have about reversed. Only Arabella and Mrs. Of course. Jude dies. Christminster represents to him all that is desirable in life. Arabella comes to Jude. his persistent gloom. his inability ever to respond to anything as a child-all of these call attention to the fact that he is supposed to . Sue then gives herself to Phillotson. while Arabella is out enjoying the festivities. other characters as well are affected by Jude's idea of the place. Such a minor symbol as the repeated allusion to Samson and Delilah reinforces the way Jude's emotional life undermines the realization of his ambitions. his oracular tone. but he will not take heed. He encounters evidence in abundance that it is not in fact what he thinks it is in his imagination. Critical Essays Symbolism and Irony in Jude the Obscure The symbolism in the novel helps to work out the theme. and though ill Jude goes to see Sue and they declare their love for each other. and when Phillotson writes to ask Sue to come back to him. Jude becoming secular and Sue religious. however.

An example of the first is Jude's occupational choice of ecclesiastical stonework in medieval Gothic style in a time when medievalism in architecture is dying out or the way Arabella alienates Jude by the deception she has used to get him to marry her the first time. failure. change. Critical Essays Hardy on Religion In Tess of the d'Urbervilles. . we gain insight into Hardy's view on religion as he uses his characters to make observations that may have been quite disconcerting to his Victorian readers. Robert Schweik. both the reader and the character are aware of it. or the way Arabella's calling on Jude in Aldbrickham in order to reawaken his interest in her helps bring about Sue's giving herself to him. And Hardy makes the child carry more meaning than he is naturally able to. An example of the second is Jude's dying in Christminster. This position is made clear in the scenes with Tess and Sorrow. Struggling to break free of the old. He is fate." Hardy's greatest dispute was with the dogma or beliefs of the church. in others. Certainly it is appropriate in a novel which has the kind of theme this one does. The use of irony is of course commonplace in fiction. Irony is particularly appropriate in a novel of tragic intent. of course. relates that Hardy became interested in religion on a personal level — that the subject of infant baptism particularly affected him. a Hardy critic. the characters experience the old sufferings and failure nonetheless. he "became an agnostic. the city that has symbolized all his hopes.represent something. in which events do not work out the way the characters expect. Hardy could see no harm in baptizing an infant if doing so makes the family of the child feel better about their child's salvation. etc. In some of the instances the reader but not the character recognizes the irony. This is not to say that Hardy abandoned his views on religion. and a number of effective instances of it in Hardy's novel are to be found. instead. but also blighted hopes. Hardy had once wanted to become a minister but abandoned that idea when he could no longer afford to attend the university. [and] he remained emotionally involved with the Church.

Take the casual remarks by Angel's brothers. as we would have imagined a nineteenth-century writer to do. but is not given a proper Christian burial. Tess. the temple of monoliths used for sun worship and possibly human sacrifice. Hardy argues. The sign painter who wanders the countryside uses the simplest texts he can find to put on his religious signs. celebrated the end of the winter and the beginning of summer. with few exceptions. drunks. however. Tess should have been allowed to bury Sorrow in a proper manner. Tess says to Angel about the pantheon." Also. They are quite involved in themselves. Hardy's portrayal of the "traditionally" religious people is not particularly complimentary. in Chapter 1. Also. Felix ("all Church") and Cuthbert ("all College"). So now I am at home. when Sorrow is christened in the proper manner." . If religion is as shallow as Hardy predicts. Hardy seems to argue. She learns that her own ceremony is the same as if it were performed in church. "And you used to say at Talbothays that I was a heathen.The scene is played out in Chapter 14 when Tess baptizes Sorrow. "Ah — that's another matter. then the sign painter and his art are the worst form of shallowness. Some rituals. Both brothers are clerics without compassion. the positioning of pagan and Christian rituals makes for an interesting look at the dichotomy that exists in the smaller rural areas. journeys to Stonehenge. not be relegated to the part of the cemetery that has unbaptized infants." In the true sense of charity. now obscured by the passage of time. on the subject of a proper Christian burial. When Tess asks if he believes in the text about "sin not your own seeking. The burial is carried out under the cover of darkness. changing their beliefs and values to match the times. Hardy's point is that Sorrow's burial should have been treated as any other burial. to protect Tess and to shield her from the scorn of churchgoers. The position of the church is too harsh. and the damned. The May Dance. before she is literally sacrificed for the good of society. not biblical or modern sagas. possibly in the same mold as the Vicar in Marlott. with dogmas that do not mesh with a modern society. In Tess. Also. the local vicar replies. were assimilated into Christian ceremony. Hardy recollects the earlier ancient Greek tragedies by invoking the name of Aeschylus. the principal writer of Greek tragic drama. not during the daylight hours. for instance. Hardy quite possibly sees religion abandoning the people. Druids and other pagans of the area would have celebrated that date with a ceremony of sorts. to close his work.

for the title character. which Tess seems to understand. but the skepticism of an outsider. a simpler and deeper understanding than her education would allow. Alec is the worst kind of convert. About Tess of the d'Urbervilles Introduction Hardy began Tess of the d'Urbervilles in 1888–89 and considered such names as Love." Essentially. for example. Also. which came through emotional responses rather than intellectual ones. The signs put up by the sign painter and Alec's conversion all point to a faith that is fleeting at best. nor all believers false. and his perspective on religion is limited. Hardy contracted with W. not all clergy are poor representations of religion. depending on the material's reception and the publisher's willingness. Similarly. These seem to be "religious views on a poker chip" — philosophical entreaties to urge folks to turn to the Bible for aid. 1889. who believed that salvation came through grace and belief. Hardy saw this in the common folk he knew and was loathe to think that their religious beliefs were so shallow that they did not understand the deeper meanings of the texts they had read.he replies. But these signs seem to miss the deeper meanings of the scriptures. and Sue. Cis/Cissy. Eventually. Hardy had been working on this manuscript with the intention of submitting it for serial publication. the sign painter saves the hottest sign messages for rural districts. F. Thus we see Hardy from two separate perspectives. He is described as Paulist or Pauliad. where the ordinary folk would be frightened and cowed into submission. in which only a few chapters would be released at a time. However. he is not educated enough to think of a reasonable answer. from Paul of Tarsus. "I cannot split hairs on the burning query. has an uncomplicated religion. one who uses biblical allusion with the knowledge of a believer. but realistic when she realizes that she must pay for her sins when confronted by the police. he decided on Tess. Angel's father. these chapters would then later be combined in book form. He is part of the evangelical movement who practices what he preaches. and a good message. Tillotson & Son in 1887 for a serialized story to be delivered in four installments between 1887 and June 30. . a sinner who renounces his former ways but becomes a sinner again at the slightest hint of temptation. She is as powerful as any clergyman when she baptizes Sorrow. Reverend Clare is a good man. with good intentions. Tess. not just the superficial meanings espoused by others. Likewise.

1891. Coleridge). The publishers suggested revisions of certain scenes and complete deletions of others. and after reading Morris' review.Hardy also negotiated with Harper's Bazaar in America for the story at about the same time. By 1900. published the letter sent to Hardy rejecting the serial when it was proposed to Macmillan's Magazine." Others thought the novel "not to their personal tastes in some respects." Novelist Henry James called Tess "chock-full of faults and falsities and yet [possessed of] a singular beauty and charm. if this sort of thing continues no more novel-writing for me. and he worked on revisions up until the time of his death in 1928.T. but justly appreciated its greatness in others. In late 1892. "Well. The Saturday Review called the novel "an unpleasant novel told in a very unpleasant way. the novel appeared as a serial on July 4. Harper's Weekly called Tess "artificial" and "not in the reality of any sane world we recognize. and the two parted ways amicably. Herbert Coleridge (grandson of S. that Hardy overlooked the positive reviews. Hardy had an offer to publish the serial in the Graphic (London) Illustrated Weekly Newspaper. Mowbray Morris. After a successful reception as a serial." The Atlantic Monthly called Tess "Hardy's best novel yet. a literary magazine whose contributors included — in addition to Hardy — Tennyson." It seems. Fortunately. Hardy continually tinkered with the subsequent editions. Early Reviews Although the first reviews of the novel were generally good." Another critic. the entire set was combined into one volume and sold well. Tillotson & Son realized that it had a racy novel on its hands when editors became aware of the serial's content. Tess of the d'Urbervilles was published in book form and consisted of three volumes. leaving the book unpublished. which sold 300. After much revision. Bret Harte. and Mowbray Morris." It was the hint of a vow that Hardy would .000 editions in England in one year. but Hardy refused. It appeared on July 18 in America in Harper's Bazaar. however. later critics charged that the book had some serious defects. in England (in the Graphic and the Nottinghamshire Guardian and Midlands Counties Advertiser) and Australia (the Sydney Mail). Hardy authorized a paperback version of the novel. Hardy wrote.

The changes that occurred during the Victorian era affected the lives of every person living in England in both great and small ways. Queen Victoria decreased the powers of the monarchy to empower the members of the prime minister's cabinet. Tess continued to sell well in Hardy's time and has spawned a great wealth of literary criticism that continues even today. and with them. only a few years later. The population in England doubled during Victoria's reign. given the right to vote) and. England became the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world through its colonial acquisition and by harnessing the power of the Industrial Revolution. Queen Victoria ruled England from1837 until her death in 1901. opening the way for the island to become a source for both raw materials and finished goods to an ever-increasing international market. and people moved from small towns to large cities in search of work. unlike the monarchies in most other countries. He would write only one more novel. During her 63-year reign. As England quickly moved from an agriculture-based society to one that would produce many of the world's goods. and the economy of the country changed from agriculture-based to industry-based. worked hard to pass meaningful reforms. Her prime ministers were her greatest assets. Britain ended restrictions on foreign trade. the British monarchy has been able to endure. These tumultuous . The balance of traditional class distinctions shifted as more people prospered.fulfill. through this. Victoria. The negative critics have been silenced. Jude the Obscure. As a result. Historical Context The Victorian Era when Hardy lived was a time of great change. gained influence in government. factories replaced individual workshops. interested in the welfare of her people. The Parliament passed labor laws that improved labor conditions. More people were enfranchised (that is. amassing wealth and power that had been unthinkable in the years prior to this era. and Tess continues to be read and reread as a classic of English literature. Mobility and the transport of goods were increased with the invention of steamships and the development of a railway system. and reformed the civil service system. Still. established universal schooling for all children. and she earned the respect of her subjects.

however. The Middle Church movement cared less for tradition and believed that faith could be expressed in various ways. religion. Individual and biblical bases of faith were hallmarks of this movement. including through social action. They also believed in spreading the gospel around the world by any means necessary. The High Church movement was designed to align the Church of England with the "Catholic" side of Anglicanism. which suggested that species evolved from common ancestors that could be found through scientific research.changes resulted in an examination of the traditional ways of thinking and acting. The Low Church Movement believed that evangelicals were a force that could reform the church from within and without. as well as social reform. Hardy's protagonist finds herself in a world where she . The agnostic movement. In Hardy's work. religious liberals and conservatives battled over fundamental questions of faith and religious practice. The growing reliance on science to explain the nature of man and his relationship with his world opened the doors for further examination of traditionally held beliefs. took hold and gained momentum. we can see that this debate was one that he entered into. The result was a schism in the church that fostered three movements: the High Church movement. which relied on scientific evidence and reason to find universal truths and which held that the existence of God could not be empirically proven. as people began to see the church as an agent for social change as well as an agent for personal salvation. and so on — came under increasing scrutiny. One area that was particularly affected by the changes in England was religion. The thinking here was that traditional practices were the standard by which faith could be expressed and that supreme authority resided in the Church. the question became how — and even whether — the church should best fulfill these missions. and the Low Church movement. The publication of Darwin's Origin of Species (1859). In Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The Church of England was traditionally conservative and offered a literal interpretation of the Bible. the Middle Church movement. Evangelicals tackled serious issues of the day: housing and welfare of the poor. From these ideological splits. and the foundations of English society — family. challenged the belief that God created each species individually and separately from every other species. class divisions. During the Victorian period.

and Anne — wove romantic elements with tragic heroines and heroes in Wuthering Heights. considered the issues that had become a part of the English "discussion. discusses intellectual and religious issues of the day. and Bleak House. In The Mayor of Casterbridge. Jude Fawley. suffers from a desperate misery of body and mind and dies. Lord Tennyson. and Agnes Grey. Each contributed his or her work to the body of general human knowledge and. gambling. In each. so called because the action in each story takes place in the Wessex region. looks for meaning in life. a respected man. Michael Henchard. these are both facts and representatives of certain meanings or . and honor in his novels Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness. destroys him. Jane Eyre." Tennyson's In Memoriam. David Copperfield.M. Charlotte. faces a spiritual and physical deterioration that. The main character in Jude. a victim of fate. and Joseph Conrad. the moon. Tess of the d'Urbervilles is one of Hardy's Wessex novels. the main characters are dealt a cruel fate that they must overcome or be crushed by. to one degree or another. like Tess in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Literary Context The body of Victorian literature is tremendous and would be difficult to categorize with only a few authors. Hardy's contemporaries included the likes of Charles Dickens. water are those singled out for comment. physical impairment (eyesight). Rainbarrow. in the end. and searches for the truths that mankind has sought for centuries. The Brontë sisters — Emily. a storm.questions religion. Like any symbol. questions faith. Matthew Arnold took the discussion of worldly happiness versus religious faith in his poems "The Scholar Gypsy" and "Dover Beach. Many of these are aspects of the setting. Paris. Forester." Dickens criticized the treatment of the poor and children. William Thackeray challenged Victorian society at all levels in Vanity Fair. heroism. an epic poem on the loss of dear friends. Other of the Wessex novels include The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Matthew Arnold. the courts. and the clergy in Oliver Twist. E. Robert Browning. The Return of the Native By Thomas Hardy Critical Essays Symbolism in The Return of the Native Hardy uses a number of symbols in the novel: Egdon Heath. Conrad wrote on the psychology of guilt.

These are heath folk (locals. The night sky is lit by a number of these bonfires. profiled against the sky. other figures. living near the heath) come to start a Fifth-ofNovember bonfire. returning now and then to check on the signal fire she has had built before her grandfather's house. but she has not seen him since his interest in Thomasin. They are successful if they enable an author to convey meaning without forcing it. those which are not are connected with the melodramatic scenes at the end of Book Fifth. being led by Diggory Venn. who was to have married Damon Wildeve that day. Mrs. thinking them to be newly married and wanting to celebrate. . replacing her. the mysterious figure Venn saw earlier. a reddleman (seller of a reddish powdery dye used by sheep farmers to identify their flock). Most of the above symbols are appropriate and successful.significance. A longtime admirer and once rejected suitor of Thomasin. standing on Rainbarrow. Soon he encounters a horse-drawn van. virtually treeless. Venn accidentally learns of the meeting between Eustacia and Wildeve. The Return of the Native By Thomas Hardy Book Summary Across Egdon Heath (a "vast tract of unenclosed wild . (Captain Vye is the chance acquaintance of Venn's). . the reddleman notices the figure of a woman. Yeobright takes Thomasin with her to see Wildeve at the inn he operates in order to demand an explanation of his failure to marry her. "like an organic part of the entire motionless structure. When Wildeve is able to get rid of them he starts off to see Eustacia Vye." and then. Eventually. As he continues walking alongside the van. Wildeve does finally arrive. Venn thinks he can . the largest of the many Celtic burial mounds in the area. the locals come to serenade Thomasin and Wildeve. a local custom. Symbols are appropriate to a work of fiction if they can be both at the same time. an older man makes his way. covered in briars and thorn bushes"). Eustacia watches for Wildeve on Rainbarrow. windswept stretch of brown hills and valleys. Wildeve was once Eustacia's lover. When their bonfire has burned out. Symbols are useful guidelines that can help to demonstrate an author's theme. standing atop Rainbarrow. a somber. In the van is a young woman whose identity Venn rudely conceals from the elderly hiker. The young woman traveling in Diggory Venn's horse cart is Thomasin Yeobright.

in her own person this time. does not attend. Eustacia succeeds in meeting Clym while she is in costume. Yeobright argues against. Wildeve's interest in Eustacia revives when he hears of her approaching marriage. She says yes. masks. but she will not answer right away. Eustacia makes clear to Venn that she would like to see Wildeve married to Thomasin. Yeobright's son. Giving up his business career in Paris. Eustacia is fascinated by him. . finds out about the marriage after it has taken place. and elaborate makeup. including Captain Vye's house. Yeobright he would like to marry her niece. Clym sees Eustacia regularly. Mrs. They do marry. Though he is rejected. Venn also informs Mrs. but do not have spoken lines). Yeobright and Thomasin make preparations for Clym's arrival. Yeobright.score points with her. He now resolves to help her and purposely overhears the conversation between Eustacia and Wildeve the next time they meet on Rainbarrow. Venn then calls on Eustacia to get her to help Thomasin. Yeobright disapproves. Clym. who has once opposed the marriage. and is strongly attracted to her. usually on the heath. Now that her interest in Wildeve has paled. and Clym. Clym finds a cottage and moves from home. Wildeve goes immediately to Eustacia to convince her to leave with him. finally telling her he knows about her meetings with Wildeve. Clym has returned to Egdon Heath to set up as a schoolteacher to those who can't afford existing schools. When Mrs. an attraction that Mrs. She arranges to substitute for one of the boys in the traditional Christmas mumming (a play or pageant in which the actors use gestures. who has been away from home. with Eustacia serving as witness. is widely talked about on the heath. for several months and then asks her to marry him. Mrs. though she hopes he will finally give up his plans and take her to Paris. the aunt uses him as a means to put pressure on Wildeve. The news of the arrival for the Christmas holidays of Mrs. he decides he and Eustacia should marry right away and live for a time on the heath. Yeobright is giving. props. During the performance at the party. Mrs. Yeobright and Clym quarrel over his love of Eustacia and he feels forced to leave his mother's house. where Eustacia also hears about his impending visit. leaving his mother disconsolate and bitter. the first performance of which is at a party Mrs. Clym meets Eustacia. thinking Clym's career goals do not show enough ambition. After getting a glimpse of him.

prickly shrub) as a way of making a little money and getting exercise. To his wife's dismay. Her son. develops severe eye trouble and is forced to suspend his work. especially as represented by Paris — and since Clym had business and connections in Paris. and she hopes that. From Mrs. she goes to a gipsying (a dance) and unexpectedly encounters Wildeve and dances with him. She sees Wildeve admitted by Eustacia before she can get there. Mrs. she and her son can repair their relationship. is marrying Eustacia against her wishes. Cantle loses the money gambling with Wildeve. To compensate. Unfortunately. by offering this gift. His constant blaming of himself exhausts Eustacia. protecting Thomasin. when she knocks on the door. Clym's wife looks out the window but doesn't answer. who wants revenge on his wife's aunt for not trusting him with the money. and is bitten by an adder. Yeobright decides to send a gift of money. but even medical attention cannot save her and she dies. she calls on Eustacia. but not understanding that part of it should go to Clym. and they quarrel bitterly.On the occasion of their marriage. who has lately come into an inheritance. Clym sets out to discover what his mother was doing on the heath. Venn he delivers it all to Thomasin. She is later discovered by Clym. Venn. Yeobright starts the long walk to his house on a hot August day. Eustacia and Clym for a time live a secluded life. she has accidentally encountered Wildeve. Eustacia is nearby when Mrs. Mrs. Yeobright's . he takes up furze cutting (furze is a low. who has recently married Damon Wildeve. Once back to normal again. When Mrs. To Eustacia. Eustacia saw him as a way out of her constrained life on the heath. who has set off for her house to attempt a reconciliation. Clym blames himself for her death. stops in exhaustion. Yeobright receives no response from Clym about the money. The older woman tries to walk back home. Thomasin. wins it back from Wildeve. Persuaded by Venn to forget her pride and call on her son. Clym. Venn sees them together and attempts to discourage Wildeve's loitering around Clym's house at night. the village simpleton. Clym. hurrying his study to be a teacher so as to pacify the impatient Eustacia. Yeobright selects as her messenger the inept Christian Cantle. this is a far cry from what she yearns for — the gay life of the great world. The other half of the money is to go to her niece. Yeobright dies but doesn't make an appearance. Clym for some time is ill and irrational because of his mother's death. Mrs. and she tries to find consolation in Wildeve. Eustacia's former lover.

To take an extreme case. Thomasin tries to get back home. come to ask Clym's help. Venn. If a man is convinced. Thomasin. from Venn. Clym. But Thomasin and Venn decide to marry and do. At her grandfather's. who finds out Eustacia has left the house very late at night. only Clym survives. stormy night throws herself in a stream near a weir. While Wildeve waits with a horse cart for Eustacia. her view of things becomes one of the causes for her despair. for example. Eustacia on this dark. and Clym searches for his wife. Cantle. It is an effect that figures heavily in Hardy's novel. After her husband's death. Both Wildeve and Clym try to rescue her. and they become interested in each other. he may be wrong. writes to ask his wife to return to him. She and Captain Vye. has suspicions about Wildeve. by chance not getting Clym's letter before she leaves the house. She leaves his house to return to Captain Vye's. On Thomasin's advice. He accuses Eustacia of cruelty to his mother. Clym learns what happened. On the evening of the sixth of November. finally with Venn's assistance. A bonfire is lit for her when the Fifth of November comes. the relationship between him and Eustacia is effectively over. However. The theme itself contains irony. Eustacia's despair may well be caused by a mistaken view of what life is like. having given up the reddle trade. because man can never know just what sort of universe he lives in. an inadvertent signal to Wildeve. but it is Venn who pulls out both men as well as Eustacia. though she looks upon it rather as a symptom. . Eustacia signals to Wildeve that she wants to go. calls on her. The Return of the Native By Thomas Hardy Critical Essays Irony in The Return of the Native Irony is a literary device in which the difference between intention and performance is shown. Of the three. and a young boy who came across his mother as she tried to get home that day. Thomasin moves into the family home with Clym. When Clym adds the charge of deception of himself as a husband. performing as an itinerant preacher of moral lectures. As a consequence. Clym thinks he ought to ask his cousin to marry him since his mother wished it. now moved back to his mother's house.handyman. who offers to help Eustacia get away from the heath to Paris. Clym is last seen on top of Rainbarrow. Eustacia doesn't know how to occupy herself and once even thinks of suicide. that the gods are indifferent to his aspirations and his life.

On their way home. will speak in the village that evening. If it is said that we are created in God's image. who refuses him. all that we can find when we are unable any longer to believe in the gods we created. though historically there have been many attempted answers. The novel opens in the workshop with an argument among the men about religion. Hardy embodies the idea that we live in an indifferent universe. . Lisbeth. When we say an event has taken place by chance or coincidence. a Methodist preacher with whom Seth is in love. has gone off drinking instead of finishing a coffin he had contracted for. Adam finishes the coffin. He also implies that the universe can be hostile. also works. Critical Essays Theme of The Return of the Native In this novel. therefore. it is simply all we are able to see at the moment. and he and Seth deliver it in the morning." Critics usually refer to Hardy's themes as fatalistic — a view of life that shows human actions being controlled by an impersonal force. perhaps.Hardy himself may have been quite wrong in his way of looking at life. We learn that Dinah Morris. Thias. really describes what we see as we look about us or. chance or coincidence is used as a way of showing his theme on the level of events or plot. that his father. Adam Bede By George Eliot Book Summary Adam Bede is a young workman of twenty-six in the town of Hayslope in Loamshire. Seth. as old as humanity and perpetually without final answer. He is the foreman of a carpentry shop where his brother. Seth goes to the prayer meeting and afterwards proposes to Dinah. Chance and coincidence are two ways in which this seeming indifference expresses itself in our lives. they find the drowned body of their father in a brook. Adam has gone home and found out from his mother. but he does not use this novel as a vehicle to remind us that "it's a jungle out there. The dilemma implied here is. which is independent of both humanity and its gods. Working all night. The indifference of the universe. For Hardy. it may also be argued that we create gods in our own images. of course. we are simply expressing our own view of the matter. Indeed. any view of humanity in relation to the universe is susceptible of irony. Meanwhile. perhaps called Destiny or Fate.

he doesn't realize that her thoughts are all of Arthur. Arthur learns on the same occasion that Hetty will be at the Chase. Irwine. Ashamed of his behavior once more. hoping that confession will cure his passion. Thias Bede is buried. Adam is offered the job as keeper of the woods and he accepts it. Dinah's uncle and aunt. Mr. repulses the offer.Joshua Rann. Stonyshire. Arthur flirts with another of the Poysers' nieces. ride over to see Dinah at the Hall Farm. both from a financial and an emotional viewpoint. Irwine. that evening. and all the tenants of the estate gather for a grand celebration. Adam's marriage prospects look bright indeed. he is in love with Hetty. informs Mr. a place tenanted by the Poysers. There are games in which the townspeople compete in the afternoon and a dance in the evening. Dinah leaves for her home in Snowfield. the local Anglican clergyman. Arthur's twenty-first birthday arrives. Hetty Sorrel. Mr. Adam discovers by accident that Hetty is wearing a locket which looks like a lover's token. Irwine informs Dinah of Thias Bede's death. a thoughtless little thing who feels that no trouble will ever come to her. Irwine and Arthur Donnithorne. Meanwhile. and she is greatly flattered by his attentions. his manor. and he places himself so as to meet her in a grove on the grounds. There is a round of toasts at dinnertime and everyone wishes the popular Arthur well. Irwine speaks to Dinah and is impressed by her religious sincerity. the local schoolmaster. While visiting Bartle Massey. the parish clerk. At the dance. he is ashamed of himself for being attracted to a mere farm girl. he decides to tell his troubles to Mr. Dinah has encouraged Hetty to come to her if she ever needs help. but he dismisses the thought that she is interested in another . the next day. After talking with her. in two days' time. but Hetty. Mr. he loses his nerve and says nothing about Hetty. grandson and heir of the local landowner. that the Methodists are stirring up dissension in Hayslope. He goes to the Hall Farm and finds that Hetty seems more friendly towards him than in the past. But when he speaks to the clergyman at Broxton parsonage the following morning. but he cannot break the spell and later that day intercepts her again in the same grove and kisses her. he learns that the keeper of the Chase woods has had a stroke and that the job may be offered to him. Meanwhile. and she goes to the Bedes' cottage and comforts Lisbeth. and Adam reflects that now he can begin to look forward to marriage. and his hopes rise.

meanwhile. She decides to run away and go to Arthur. Hetty. Realizing that she has probably gone . Hetty refuses to believe that Arthur wants to break off the relationship. her spirits give out. she is pregnant by Arthur. Hetty faints in despair. Adam delivers the note. About three weeks later. Dinah has written a friendly letter to Seth from Snowfield. she is convinced that Arthur will marry her. of course. she sets out. Poyser has verbally routed Squire Donnithorne. and the wedding is set for the following spring. Hetty arrives sick. Finally she begins to feel that marrying Adam wouldn't be such a bad idea after all. After she reads it. He is furious. She wants to leave home and go into service as a maid. After five days of traveling. Adam decides to go to Snowfield and bring her back. and Mrs. and she heads back north. and knocks him out. she gets some money from the innkeeper in exchange for the jewelry Arthur had given her. and penniless. of course. Adam forces him to promise to write a note to Hetty breaking off the relationship. Arthur's grandfather. Adam happens to be passing through the grove on the Chase grounds when he finds Arthur and Hetty in an embrace. After much soul-searching. Arthur composes the note and gives it to Adam to deliver. he concludes that there had really been nothing serious between Arthur and her. When Arthur revives. He then leaves to join his regiment in the south of England. and she leaves her coach and wanders out into the open fields. but the next day her courage revives. he and Hetty are carrying on a secret affair. telling the Poysers that she is going to visit Dinah in Snowfield for a week or two. Before she reads the letter. she accepts. Here she is befriended by an innkeeper and his wife who inform her that Arthur's regiment has left for Ireland. After traveling for seven days. He discovers. is a gift from Arthur. He proposes to her. Adam is deliriously happy and spends the next three months making preparations. The locket. When Adam notices that Hetty's friendly attitude toward him does not change. trying to soften the blow to Hetty as much as possible. When Hetty does not return in the expected time. exhausted. and he tries to trace her but to no avail. though. at Windsor. who was bent on making a sharp deal with respect to the Poyser's farm. intending to go to Dinah in Snowfield. starts a fight with Arthur. She spends part of a night by a pond but can't summon the courage to kill herself and so resumes her journey on foot towards Stonyshire. has fits of depression and contemplates suicide. but the Poysers won't let her. that she has never been there. she is in despair.

Adam reluctantly agrees and Dinah leaves. It is harvest time at the farm. Lisbeth tells Adam that Dinah loves him. and left for Stoniton. Adam and Arthur meet by chance in the grove where they had fought. Mr. though Adam refuses to believe it. and the harvest supper takes place with great gaiety. After she leaves. As the trial begins. Irwine and Bartle Massey (who has come to stay with Adam) bring news of how the trial is progressing. which the girl had refused to do before. Mr. He comes the following morning. She blushes when Adam speaks to her. Irwine returns the next day to break the bad news to the Poysers. agrees to shake hands. Adam sits in his room in despair. He asks Adam's forgiveness. That afternoon he goes to the Hall Farm and proposes. Irwine his plans and is shocked to learn that Hetty is in prison in Stoniton for the murder of her baby. and Adam. Arthur is repentant and plans on going off to the wars. Arthur comes riding up with a reprieve. but her sense of duty stops her. She gets Hetty to confess her guilt. She says she will return to her work among the poor and think about it. and the judge pronounces the death sentence. The next day. Irwine explaining the situation. Hetty's guilt seems certain. Then Hetty is taken away to the place of execution. Meanwhile. Irwine go to Stoniton. Dinah goes back to the cottage with him and stays overnight to help Lisbeth. after a short struggle with his pride. who is visiting her relatives again. he resolves to go to Ireland. Dinah then goes and asks Adam to come and see Hetty before she dies. to come and comfort his ailing mother. . found a note from Mr. and gives Hetty the forgiveness she asks for. Eighteen months later. Dinah comes to the prison and gains admittance. Adam visits the Hall Farm to ask Dinah. Hetty's sentence has been commuted to "transportation" (exile). Dinah wants to say yes. Two witnesses give evidence against Hetty. On the evening after the trial. But at the last instant. Arthur has returned home. but when he thinks about it he realizes that he loves her Arthur. the jury returns the verdict of guilty. Meanwhile. He and Mr. Arthur's grandfather has died and Arthur has set out for home from Ireland. and induces her to pray. Finally he goes to the courtroom himself. she has been away and has just returned to the area. He stops at the parsonage to tell Mr. Adam is taken by surprise. while Adam rents a room and stays. the day of the execution.

especially Defoe. the custom of speaking directly to the reader. since it was literally "untrue. where the author refers to his characters as "puppets" and admits almost shyly that he created an artificial world. . Adam becomes anxious to know Dinah's decision and goes to Snowfield. persisted. I will show you the roomy workshop of Mr. complete imitation of reality and let it stand on its own merits.After a month or so. the Egyptian sorcerer undertakes to reveal to any chance comer far-reaching visions of the past. The method derives from the earlier popular conception that fiction. Probably the most celebrated example of the use of the technique is Thackeray's Vanity Fair. as the editor of a journal or the author of a set of memoirs would do. it took the novel about another forty years to take its place as a serious art form which did not apologize for its own existence. modern authors accept Henry James' notion that a novel should create a world unto itself. and. in the year of our Lord 1799. the "dear reader" technique was widely used. After another month has passed. although the nineteenth century gradually came to accept fiction as fiction. a novelist should not take the pose of someone "telling a story" to a group of listeners but should simply present a self-contained. With this drop of ink at the end of my pen. carpenter and builder. he has been to see Arthur. Dinah and Seth are at home with Dinah's two children. The impulse to separate truth from fiction was still alive. they are married amid great rejoicing. We learn that Hetty is dead. Adam comes home. reader. and then the novel ends on a note of domestic contentment. took pains to insist that their novels were really accounts of true happenings. Eighteenth-century authors. as it appeared on the eighteenth of June. Adam Bede By George Eliot Critical Essays The "Dear Reader" Technique in Adam Bede "With a single drop of ink for a mirror. In Eliot's time." The first paragraph of Adam Bede in itself is enough to mark the novel as a pre-modern-century product. With few exceptions. Some years later." was a base deception and morally unhealthy. who has been away all this time and has returned a changed man. This is what I undertake to do for you. He meets her atop a hill and she accepts his proposal. Jonathan Burge. in the village of Hayslope.

we find the following: "On the other hand. A very large part of the character analysis in Adam Bede is handled from this viewpoint. afraid that her readers won't know what to think of her unusual plot. we know the events described are not real. This somewhat insecure way of proceeding indicates once again that Eliot was self-consciously writing a revolutionary novel. She takes the pose of one who is merely recording events which she has heard recounted. in Chapter 17. for instance. to guide his reactions to her story. is first of all a convention. She says in Chapter 17. I must plead. for example: "But I gathered from Adam Bede. she begs us to use our historical imaginations to visualize what Methodism was like in 1799. in Chapter 5. The "dear reader" technique also serves some practical functions. for I have an affectionate partiality towards the Rector's memory." Eliot also uses the method to ask for the reader's sympathy and understanding. Eliot pretends throughout that Adam Bede is a true story. that he was not vindictive. Because the author pretends to be "outside" her own story. she asks us to appreciate her realistic approach. Adam Bede By George Eliot Critical Essays Local Color and Comic Relief in Adam Bede . These two functions work hand in band. she is free to comment in her own voice upon the characters and events she creates. The modern novelist does this too." and goes on to report a conversation which had supposedly taken place years after the events presented in the novel were things of the past. to whom I talked of these matters in his old age.The technique. In Chapter 3. This. he asks us to freely become absorbed in his fictional world rather than insisting that we assimilate the fictional world into the real one. and. and so she constantly analyzes the people and issues involved in it with an eye to controlling our intellectual and emotional reactions to them. she tells them plainly what to think. has the effect of both destroying and supporting the illusion of reality which the novel as a whole creates. It destroys that illusion because the events described no longer seem immediate and present. it supports it by making us believe that we are reading an extremely detailed history of real people and things. Thus the novel hangs rather uncomfortably in the balance between fiction and reality. then. at one and the same time. Eliot is very careful to make us see the point of her story. but in a different way. but we are asked to believe that they are.

often in a slightly sentimentalized or nostalgic form. Probably the most famous example of the use of comic relief in English literature is the knocking at the gate in Macbeth. their speech. these entertaining diversions help keep the reader's interest lively and balance out the fictional picture of our half-tragic. functioning. Eliot builds up suspense by talking of minor matters while delaying the explosion of the inevitable conflict.Local color. Wiry Ben exemplifies the typical attitudes of the Warwickshire town laborer of his day. as noted in the commentaries. Eliot gives a lot of attention to the habits and customs of the local people. or Chad's Bess. refers to depictions of life and character in a particular locality. Micawber and the Artful Dodger are local figures. These people are part of the novel's background. But certain characters function almost entirely as local color figures: Wiry Ben. Bret Harte is probably the best-known American practitioner of the genre. as a literary term. In a sense. for example. Poyser is a typical (though unusually skilled) Warwickshire farmer. Parts of Book III (especially Chapter 25 on the games at Arthur's birthday party) show how people celebrated an important event. halfcomic world. The long descriptions in Chapter 18 put Thias Bede's death in context. Eliot uses both these devices in Adam Bede. Mr. Chapter 53 describes the local ritual of the harvest supper. is the calm before the storm. most of the novel is local color. The operation of the Hall Farm and the description of Sunday morning churchgoing are presented not because they are relevant to the novel's conflict but because they help make up the picture of a realistic. the settings and the speech of the characters obviously belong to a specific time and place. Dickens' Mr. The sections of the novel which concentrate on developing local color serve other purposes as well. where the sight of the drunken porter relaxes the audience after the murder of Duncan. they provide a concrete milieu in which the central action of the story takes place. their peculiar way of looking at things is presented to the reader. An author will seek to relieve the intensity of a serious plot line by inserting comic characters or situations. Craig. physical world. and their environments are local color settings. Book III. for example. The customs of the people. or Mr. Most of Chapters 6 and 18. Comic relief is a familiar term which needs little discussion. describe what ordinary people did and said on ordinary days in the Warwickshire countryside in 1800. if treated as anything other .

" But then again perhaps she would. Eliot does not forget (as she tended to do in later works) that one function of the novelist is to entertain. she gives us the inimitable Mrs. as the names indicate. Perhaps no tenant's wife in 1800 would really tell her aristocratic landlord "you've got Old Harry to your friend. Eliot normally places her local color descriptions so as to perform this secondary function as well. They also serve. in which Mrs. So she provides us with something to laugh at with her Bartle Massey and Wiry Ben and hits a nostalgic note with the harvest supper. as local color and comic relief. concrete world peopled with generally plausible figures. Thus local color and comic relief work hand in hand in Adam Bede. everyday people. delves into her memories of her Warwickshire childhood and creates a specific. by an appeal to the visual imagination. this is a bleak. She projects it back in time past the date of her own birth and perhaps sentimentalizes it a little. of course. Eliot. his funeral would assume too much importance in the story. though she is writing a very serious book. But most of all. thus diverting attention from Adam's real soul-crisis at Hetty's trial. determined to write a realistic novel about common. Poyser "have her say out. Dinah's home town. These patterns point up contrasts and support. and it is both educational and amusing to hear Mrs. or that Chapter 32. And Chapter 53 wrings the last bit of suspense from the plot by "marking time" while Dinah thinks over Adam's proposal. forbidding region in which people eke out a poor . And. to provide comic relief. is located in Stonyshire. Poyser.than a "typical" event. It is obvious that the names of the two counties mentioned in the novel and the names of the two towns where principal characters live are significant. some of the book's central ideas. interrupts the development of Hetty's tragedy. It is no accident that the relatively light-hearted Book III comes after the lines of conflict in the novel have been somewhat grimly drawn and before Adam's fight with Arthur." Adam Bede By George Eliot Critical Essays The Symbolic World of Adam Bede George Eliot communicates the meaning of her novel partially by employing symbolism in the description of the physical world in which her characters live. Snowfield. one wonders whether rural folk in 1800 were really as charming as she presents them. Poyser routs Squire Donnithorne.

and Arthur and Hetty. turns out to be a valid portent of death. by the force of blind circumstances. The Mill on the Floss By George Eliot Book Summary . he must act upon this knowledge. Thus the world of the novel is set up to show that man must recognize that life has its less pleasant side and that suffering derives from the nature of things and from a lack of self-control. on the other hand. she is familiar with the darker side of life. accepting and dealing with it when it cannot he avoided. Irwine." This division is supported by another one — that between controlled and uncontrolled human actions. We noted in the commentaries that the seduction. though a superstition. The "world" of the novel thus divides into light and dark. or hopeful and gloomy areas. but only small neighborhood businesses like Jonathan Burge's workshop. take a much more optimistic view of things and must learn what Dinah already knows. who are not religious at all. realistically recognizes the existence of evil and is patient and humble. This area of human experience is symbolized by the tapping at the door in Chapter 4 which. Arthur and Hetty. on the other hand. and knows how to deal with it. and by God. the fight between Adam and Arthur. Hayslope in Loamshire. Dinah lives in Stonyshire. Dinah. the completely religious on the rocky hills or else work in a factory. form one of the two primary causes of suffering in the novel. accepts human suffering as necessary and inevitable. Religion in George Eliot's novels seems to mean a respectful attitude towards the great unknown. avoiding evil whenever possible. Taking this world to represent life. These actions. prompted by "natural" urges rather than by a "civilized" use of intellect and will. is a pleasant spot where the farmers are prosperous and the workers comfortable. we can see that Eliot is dividing experience into the pleasant and the unpleasant — giving us symbols for the "light" and "dark" sides of life. Adam. have pride in them and must learn humility through experience. Like Dinah and Mr. and Hetty's abandonment of her child all take place in the woods. there are no factories. The other cause is that part of reality which is beyond man's control. Adam. as a matter of fact) and it is here that the three Loamshire people discover the meaning of "irremediable evil. who is religious in a naturalistic way. The crisis of the novel takes place in Stonyshire (in a town called Stoniton.

Tulliver fears that she will call her money in. as a tutor.Mr. Pullet has interceded with Mrs. and Tulliver rides to see them to ask payment of the debt. . Tulliver makes the mistake of telling her husband that Mrs. She finds some gypsies. When Tom goes in to tell on her. To do this he finds it necessary to borrow five hundred pounds from a client of Lawyer Wakem. Mr. Tulliver) that it would be best left alone. and he determines to head off that possibility by paying it back at once. Glegg. and Pullets — gather to discuss the boy's education. Meanwhile. Tom becomes angry when Maggie upsets his cowslip wine and punishes her by paying no attention to her when he takes Lucy off to the pond. but they are not what she expects. recommends Rev. whom he judges to be knowledgeable. He is so angry that he writes to Mrs. Riley. Tom and Maggie's aunts and uncles — the Gleggs. He comes with gifts for her. Maggie runs off to live with the gypsies and be their queen. But pity for that family's poverty overcomes him. However. and Mrs. Mr. and so she is receptive to Mrs. She retires heartbroken to the attic until Mr. Glegg have been discussing the proposition of calling in her money from Mr. Mr. Tulliver forces Tom to coax her down to tea. Glegg that he will pay in the money at once. His sister's husband. has borrowed three hundred pounds from him. but Mr. Tulliver has already made up his mind. Glegg. although he has no definite opinions on the subject. and he lets the debt stand. the son-in-law of a business acquaintance. Stelling. and he seeks advice from an acquaintance. Deanes. to whom he owes five hundred pounds. but when he finds that his rabbits have died because she neglected them. he repulses her. Mrs. Mr. Maggie takes revenge by pushing Lucy into the mud. Mr. Tom and Maggie with their cousin Lucy and their mother have gone to visit the Pullets. She is at last convinced that it will earn more where it is. Tulliver has indefinite ideas on education. and she is very frightened before they return her to her father. Moss. One result of his hasty decision is a violent quarrel with Mrs. Tulliver. Maggie eagerly awaits Tom's arrival. Pullet's suggestion (prompted by Mrs. Tulliver has decided to remove Tom from the academy where he presently studies and send him to a school where he can learn things that will raise him in the world. Riley.

Tom is at work in the business world. His property is all to be sold. He also learns that Philip Wakem will be his school-fellow after the holiday. Deane's company might buy the mill and retain Mr. Mr. brings about a brief friendship between the two boys. a client of Wakem. he admires Philip's ability to draw and to tell stories of legendary heroes.Tom turns out to be the only pupil of Rev. One of these turns out to be by Thomas a Kempis. including Mrs. This is broken by a visit from Bob Jakin. That news has caused him to fall insensible. He saves his money to pay off his father's debts. Tulliver has found that the mortgage on his property (taken out to repay Mrs. Mr. Tom successfully applies to Mr. Deane for a position with Guest and Company. and he receives the full benefit of an education he does not want and cannot understand. who has become a packman. Tulliver's cherished possessions. It is two-and-a-half years later that Maggie comes to fetch Tom home with the news that their father has lost all his property in the lawsuit with Pivart. While Maggie struggles within herself. and under Bob Jakin's guidance he goes into speculations of his own. The relatives agree to buy in a few things which the Tulliver's need. During this term Maggie comes to visit Tom and grows friendly with Philip. However. Glegg) has passed to Wakem. but when Maggie leaves they quickly grow apart again. Unfortunately. When he goes home at Christmas he learns that his father is about to go to law over water rights against a new neighbor. Philip convinces Maggie that she must not give up her desires and offers himself as a friend and tutor. On his return to school Tom quickly decides that Wakem is an inconsiderable person. Tulliver as manager. Mrs. Her presence. but his father requires him to swear on the family Bible that he will take vengeance on Wakem. whose cleverness she admires. aided by an injury to Tom's foot. Tulliver tries to insure this by smoothing things with Wakem. There is some thought that Mr. Bob brings her a gift of books. Stelling. an education consisting chiefly of Latin grammar and geometry. Her plan goes wrong as Wakem keeps the mill for himself and takes Mr. Tulliver on as a hireling. a hunchback who is touchy about his deformity. Pivart. Maggie's life falls into a round of housework and sewing. and this book leads her to a life of renunciation of the world until on a walk near her home she meets Philip Wakem. He has just saved up enough money to pay the debts when he discovers that Maggie has been .

and he dies there. instead.meeting Philip and that they have declared their love for one another. Lucy never notices it at all. but he sends Stephen in his place. One morning Lucy goes out of town in order to leave Maggie alone with Philip. . she seizes on the mill as a way of bringing Philip and Maggie together. Philip was supposed to take the two girls rowing. By threatening to tell their father he forces her to give up Philip. She feels that this frees her. But when Maggie returns. Maggie tries to hold her father back. Stephen. but both of them resist it. She gets Philip to maneuver his father into consenting to sell the mill and allowing Philip to marry Maggie. Several years later Maggie visits her cousin Lucy and is introduced to Lucy's love. kisses Maggie's arm. Tom will not. and he is offered a share in the business. in a moment of weakness at a dance. Tom meanwhile has been doing very well with Guest and Company. He proposes that the company try again to buy the mill and make him manager. A mutual attraction begins to develop between Stephen and Maggie. Carried away by the current of their emotion. Maggie finds it necessary to ask Tom's permission to meet Philip." Tulliver meets Wakem at the mill and falls on him with a stick. They declare their mutual love but determine to part out of respect for Lucy and Philip. Philip becomes convinced that she and Stephen are in love. Philip quickly notices it but tries not to believe in it. for he is a friend of Stephen's. Stephen comes there seeking forgiveness. so that Stephen and Maggie are alone together. Lucy guesses that there was something between Philip and Maggie and forces Maggie to tell her. On his first new day as an "honest man. She begins to lay plans to bring the two together again. but when she goes to visit her aunt Moss. they row down the river past their stopping-point and go on so far that they could not get home before dark. Lucy has invited Philip Wakem to join them. and she repulses him. Stephen Guest. Soon after this the debts are paid. The outcome is left indefinite as he goes off on business. but the excitement causes him to take to his bed. She imagines that Tom will be so pleased at regaining the mill that he will consent to the marriage. Stephen convinces Maggie that she should go away and be married to him.

the clergyman of St. She is praying for guidance when the long-threatened flood breaks into Bob's riverside house. but resolves not to go. but in trying to get them into boats she is swept away in a boat by herself. Ogg's. This is a technique which is little used in present-day fiction. erring. "The only effect I ardently long to produce by my writings is. Kenn. She plans instead to go away and find work. and she leaves Stephen and returns home." Her technique is appropriate to this aim. Word that she had been seen with Stephen at a town downriver has been brought by Bob Jakin. George Eliot once wrote. human creatures. It has been almost entirely supplanted by Henry James's concept of the novel as a separate self-contained world which makes no reference to author or reader. either in her own voice or in that of the narrator. She is tempted. However. A letter arrives from Stephen asking her to come to him. Eventually Dr. Such comment is combined with an omniscient point of view in order to help the reader better understand the characters and their problems. They are going together to find Lucy when they are swept under by floating debris. Their bodies are found and buried together when the flood recedes. it was standard technique in Eliot's day for the author to address the reader.But by morning Maggie realizes what she has done. Maggie wakes the family. Kenn is forced to let her go because of persistent rumors that he intends to marry her. She is looked on as a fallen woman and cast out from local society. and Maggie finds work as a governess with Dr. and when Maggie returns home Tom refuses to allow her in his house. The Mill on the Floss By George Eliot Critical Essay Direct Address and Authorial Comment The author makes extensive use of direct address to comment on the action or on characters. . In this novel the author is aiming specifically at enlarging the reader's understanding of the complexities of human life. that those who read them should be better able to imagine and to feel the pains and the joys of those who differ from themselves in everything but the broad fact of being struggling. She steers the boat to the mill and rescues Tom. Maggie and her mother take lodging with Bob Jakin.

Ogg's did not look extensively before or after. . . still less change it: the Catholics were formidable because they would lay hold of government and property. Tulliver is consistently explained to us. that Stephen was not a hypocrite — capable of deliberate doubleness for a selfish end. might have made a good case in support of Philip's accusation" (Book VI. One of the fine points of the novel is the soundness of the author's observations on society and on people. and yet his fluctuations between the indulgence of a feeling and the systematic concealment of it. Stephen may be taken as an example: "It is clear to you." The author's comments help the reader to maintain the proper attitude to the characters. Mrs. Often the author speaks on behalf of characters who are inarticulate in themselves. This is true even when she speaks for characters who are generally capable of expressing themselves. Chapter 9). that renunciation remains sorrow. Nevertheless. Eliot said it was her habit to "strive after as full a vision of the medium in which a character moves as of the character itself. Maggie was still panting for happiness. . although usually in an ironic manner.The author's comments are often an analysis of a character or of society. Dissent was an inheritance along with a superior pew and a business connection . The author often addresses the reader to add judgments of her own to the raw data of the story. She continually strives to put the reader in sympathy with all the characters." Such comment can produce an intimacy as deep as that given by internal representation of a character's thoughts. It also helps to place the character in a detailed social context. not satire. the author provides a mature analysis of her immature reaction: "She had not perceived — how could she until she had lived longer? — the inmost truth of the old monk's outpourings. though a sorrow borne willingly. the author's attitude is one of sympathy. That is. Ogg's could be brought to believe in the Pope . Chapter 3). Chapter 12: "the mind of St. the quality of the judgments becomes important. she presents the world after a process of thought and consideration. It inherited a long past without thinking of it. and had no eyes for the spirits that walked the streets . not because any sane and honest parishioner of St. When Maggie is swept away by the writings of Thomas à Kempis. and burn men alive. This being the case. Consider Book I. I hope. . . . . . and was in ecstasy because she had found the key to it" (Book IV. on human emotions and . to help him realize the complexity of all human relationships. The days were gone when people could be greatly wrought upon by their faith. .

but as an integral and important part of the author's technique. . the black ships unlade themselves of their burthens from the far north. Catherine. chaos . More than once they provide a key to the imagery being used. The author shows a sure comic touch in such lines as: "Such glances and tones bring the breath of poetry with them into a room that is half-stifling with glaring gas and hard flirtation". — it is then that despair threatens. in exchange. but the occasions are rare. to Edgar Linton. for the most part the comments are delightful in themselves. From Book IV. "They didn't know there was any other religion. which my refined readers have doubtless become acquainted with through the medium of the best classic pastorals. except that of chapel-goers. But normally they are meant to involve the reader. and eye and ear are strained after some unlearned secret of our existence. Wuthering Heights at a Glance In Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. which shall give to endurance the nature of satisfaction. or.relationships. Often enough these are commonplaces. and carry away. changed life that follows — in the time when sorrow has become stale. They contain much of the humor of the book. but they are rarely commonplace. or florid rhetoric. It is in the slow. and has no longer an emotive intensity that counteracts its pain — in the time when day follows day in dull unexpectant sameness. and produces an excitement which is transient strength. to give the effect of passage of time. like asthma. The author has a knack for making common truths satisfying. realism and gothic symbolism combine to form a romance novel that's full of social relevance. Chapter 12 of Book I contains a case which falls flat through straining after humor: " . They should not be seen as blemishes in the novel." Frequently the comments are used as technical points — to shift the point of view. Chapter 2: "There is something sustaining in the very agitation that accompanies the first shocks of trouble. which appeared to run in families. just as an acute pain is often a stimulus. to underline character or action. . Follow the self-destructive journey of Heathcliff as he seeks revenge for losing his soul mate. the well-crushed cheese and the soft fleeces." However. and trial is a dreary routine. For this reason they should not engage him in debate or distract him. it is then that the peremptory hunger of the soul is felt. Themes — such as good versus evil. On occasion they fail. the precious inland products." Like these. The failures are due to archness. to connect the world of the novel with his own. the comments are generally ironic and often witty. aggressiveness.

crime and punishment. and obsession — intertwine as the story unfolds. Lockwood's visit to Wuthering Heights and the supernatural occurrence he witnesses there frame Nelly's narration of the novel's main story. rebellion Major Symbols: the houses. The novel itself . chaos and order. In fact. and take place in dark.and order. Their own passionate natures make their union impossible. and Linton doubles Edgar. class structure. revenge. Catherine and Heathcliff are themselves responsible for their failure to fulfill their love for one another. sometimes exotic. Ellen (Nelly) Dean Major Thematic Topics: romantic love. Victorian. settings. selfishness. revenge. Type of Work: novel Genres: gothic literature. betrayal. they probably are second only to Romeo and Juliet in this regard. love versus hate. Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is a symbolic and psychological study of the nature of love. which is a story that surrounds the primary narrative and sets it up. nature and culture. Cathy Linton. the love of Hareton and Cathy doubles that of Heathcliff and Catherine. Edgar Linton. as well. The novel contains a so-called framing device. Gothic novels focus on the mysterious or supernatural. Wuthering Heights is a gothic novel. Unlike Shakespeare's lovers. betrayal. Hareton Earnshaw. The double is a frequent feature of the Gothic novel. romance First Published: 1847 Setting: the moors of Northern England Main Characters: Heathcliff. obsession Motifs: obsession. keys. In Wuthering Heights. who are kept apart by the society in which they live. good versus evil. archetypical characters The three most important aspects of Wuthering Heights:    Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw are among the most famous fictional couples of all time. brotherly love. selfishness. Catherine Earnshaw.

and therefore are empowered as they read. but they speak to readers. others are interspersed throughout the novel — Heathcliff. providing insight into both character and plot development. For example. Nelly's narrative directly involves the reader and engages them in the action. and at times working with Cathy while at other times betraying Cathy's confidence. Likewise. Objective observations by outsiders would presumably not be tainted by having a direct involvement. she is quite an engaging storyteller. in an attempt to allow the story to speak for itself. thereby engaging readers even more. Catherine does not speak directly to the readers (except in quoted dialogue). a closer examination of these two seemingly objective narrators reveals their bias. Initially. each consisting of seventeen chapters. providing multiple views of the tangled lives of the inhabitants of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. Cathy. Lockwood's narrative enables readers to begin the story when most of the action is already completed. they speak to Lockwood.consists of two entire stories. even Zillah — who narrate a chapter or two. All of the voices weave together to provide a choral narrative. What he records in his diary is not just what he is being told by Nelly but his memories and interpretation of Nelly's tale. so readers readily forgive her shortcomings. Although the main story is being told in flashback. she is able to foreshadow future events. Nonetheless. the second half of Wuthering Heights doubles the first. All readers know more than any one narrator. Ultimately. which builds suspense. unfortunately. Isabella. But her involvement is problematic because she is hypocritical in her actions: sometimes choosing Edgar over Heathcliff (and vice versa). Critical Essays The Narrative Structure of Wuthering Heights Although Lockwood and Nelly serve as the obvious narrators. she narrates important aspects of the childhood she and Heathcliff shared on the moors and the treatment they received at the hands of Joseph and Hindley. answering his inquiries. having Lockwood interact with Heathcliff and the others at Wuthering Heights immediately displaces his objectivity. also. Brontë appears to present objective observers. . enabling readers to enter the world of Wuthering Heights. but through her diary. both Lockwood and Nelly are merely facilitators. While reporting the past.

he has no problem attempting to ruin the life of her daughter. But after overhearing Catherine admit that she could not marry him. Heathcliff leaves. his obsession with revenge seemingly outweighs his obsession with his love. Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is a symbolic and psychological study of the nature of love. He is constantly present. . yet. Heathcliff's love for Catherine enables him to endure Hindley's maltreatment after Mr. he must continue his revenge — a revenge that starts as Heathcliff assumes control of Hindley's house and his son — and continues with Heathcliff taking everything that is Edgar's. he has been the outsider. Follow the selfdestructive journey of Heathcliff as he seeks revenge for losing his soul mate. she favors him to Edgar but still he cannot have her. And for too long. He views an ambiguous world as black and white: a world of haves and have-nots. That is why he is determined to take everything away from those at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange who did not accept him. revenge is a more powerful emotion than love. chaos and order. the object of his obsession. becomes the essence of his life. in a sense. realism and gothic symbolism combine to form a romance novel that's full of social relevance. betrayal. Although Heathcliff constantly professes his love for Catherine. and that is why he does not fully forgive Catherine for marrying Edgar. after her death. Ironically. Catherine. and longing to be buried in a connected grave with her so their bodies would disintegrate into one. he ends up murdering his love. Heathcliff's obsession only intensifies.Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë Critical Essays Heathcliff's Obsession in Wuthering Heights Throughout Wuthering Heights two distinct yet related obsessions drive Heathcliff's character: his desire for Catherine's love and his need for revenge. visiting after hours. and obsession — intertwine as the story unfolds. but he returns with money. Heathcliff makes an attempt to join the society to which Catherine is drawn. to Edgar Linton. Nothing is known of his life away from her. For Heathcliff. Earnshaw's death. Catherine. Themes — such as good versus evil. lurking around Thrushcross Grange. Upon his return. selfishness. Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights at a Glance In Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. After Catherine's death. Ironically.

class structure. Ellen (Nelly) DeanMajor Thematic Topics: romantic love. nature and culture. who are kept apart by the society in which they live.Written by: Emily BrontëType of Work: novelGenres: gothic literature. which is a story that surrounds the primary narrative and sets it up. betrayal. as well. and Linton doubles Edgar. archetypical characters The three most important aspects of Wuthering Heights:    Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw are among the most famous fictional couples of all time. the reading public has changed substantially since 1847. chaos and order. good versus evil. The novel itself consists of two entire stories. but subsequent audiences are both more understanding and accepting of the use of unsavory aspects of human life in literature. revenge. . Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë About Wuthering Heights Although Wuthering Heights received neither critical praise nor any local popularity during its initial publication. and now both critical and popular opinion praise Emily Brontë's singular work of fiction. sometimes exotic. Victorian. Hareton Earnshaw. Victorian society would not accept the violent characters and harsh realities of Wuthering Heights. Cathy Linton. revenge. In Wuthering Heights. each consisting of seventeen chapters. the love of Hareton and Cathy doubles that of Heathcliff and Catherine. Wuthering Heights is a gothic novel. obsession Motifs: obsession. keys. Edgar Linton. and take place in dark. Catherine and Heathcliff are themselves responsible for their failure to fulfill their love for one another. love versus hate. Lockwood's visit to Wuthering Heights and the supernatural occurrence he witnesses there frame Nelly's narration of the novel's main story. The novel contains a so-called framing device. settings. Their own passionate natures make their union impossible. Catherine Earnshaw. In fact. Gothic novels focus on the mysterious or supernatural. the second half of Wuthering Heights doubles the first. crime and punishment. selfishness. The double is a frequent feature of the Gothic novel. they probably are second only to Romeo and Juliet in this regard. rebellion Major Symbols: the houses. brotherly love. Unlike Shakespeare's lovers. romanceFirst Published: 1847Setting: the moors of Northern EnglandMain Characters: Heathcliff.

Significantly. The portrayal of women. and a glimpse at relationships. imagery. and the literary merit it possesses in and of itself enables the text to rise above entertainment and rank as quality literature. both critical and popular audiences ended up embracing Wuthering Heights. they are human subjects with human emotions. and word choice. "I scarcely think it is [advisable]. Because Brontë's characters are real. they are dismissing the entire second half of the book. society. the Victorian audience's view of women could not allow anyone of that period to accept that Wuthering Heights was the creation of a female (it had been published originally under the pseudonym Ellis Bell). It is a presentation of life." Charlotte's comments may be a direct concession and appeal to Victorian audiences to accept and respect Wuthering Heights without having to accept completely everything within the text. Wuthering Heights is about ordered pairs: two households. Each of the two main story lines of the two generations comprises 17 chapters. an essay on love. Charlotte states. contend that Wuthering Heights is actually poetry masquerading as prose. This lyrical prose has a distinct structure and style. in doing so. In addition to having difficulty with the content. Emily's sister. who wrote a preface and introduction for the second publication of the novel in 1850 and became the novel's first and foremost critic.The first person to praise publicly Wuthering Heights was Charlotte Brontë. Clearly. Yet Charlotte herself was not entirely convinced of all its merits. two generations. Wuthering Heights is not just a sentimental romance novel. praising Brontë's style. After its initial publication. Some critics dismiss the plot of the second-generation characters as being a simple retelling of the first story. and two pairs of children. and it remains one of the classic works still read and studied. Wuthering Heights is an important contemporary novel for two reasons: Its honest and accurate portrayal of life during an early era provides a glimpse of history. attention must be paid to the second . and contemporary readers can still relate to the feelings and emotions of the central characters — Heathcliff and Catherine — as well as those of the supporting characters. however. Commenting upon the advisability of creating characters such as Heathcliff. But even though society is different today than it was two centuries ago. therefore. people remain the same. in order to appreciate fully Wuthering Heights. Many critics. and class bear witness to a time that's foreign to contemporary readers.

Wuthering Heights has the wild. the narrative is also primarily told from a paired point of view. crime and punishment. revenge. Brontë took conventions of the time and instead of merely recreating them in a work of her own. orderly parks of Thrushcross Grange and its inhabitants. Lockwood frames the initial story. and do but also by comparing them to their counterparts. Nelly relates the majority of the action from her outsider's point of view. Readers gain insight into these characters not only by observing what they think. Opposite this are the calm. Brontë uses these characters to explore themes of good versus evil. nature and culture. . readers are eavesdropping rather than experiencing the action. therefore. The role of the outsider should not be overlooked because the setting of Wuthering Heights is one of complete isolation.half. These ordered pairs more often than not. enabling readers to gain an insider's perspective. windy moors and its inhabitants possess the same characteristics. and act. Within the framework of his story. division and reconciliation.or second-hand experiences are able to relate them to others. Each household has a male and female with a counterpart at the other. selfishness. say. In essence. passion versus rationality. The moors connecting Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange serve a dual purpose — linking the two households while simultaneously separating them from the village and all others. are pairs of contrast. particularly noting that the second half is not just a retelling but rather a revising — a form of renewal and rebirth. Much is learned by recognizing what one is not. creating characters who are simultaneously real and symbolic archetypes. telling the beginning and ending chapters (with minor comments within). The most noticeable pair is that of the two houses: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. chaos and order. used them as a springboard to write an entirely original tale. This isolated setting is important for Brontë's combination of realism and gothic symbolism. only those with first. health and sickness. And embedded within Nelly's narrative are chapters told primarily from another character's point of view that has been related to Nelly. This technique allows readers to experience more than would with any one narrator. speak. noticing how they do not think. Structurally.

These themes are not independent of each other. Rebecca first attempts to enter the sacred domain of Vanity Fair by inducing Joseph Sedley. Brontë illustrates how class mobility is not always moving in one direction. and the nature of love. . for example. Amelia does not esteem the values of Vanity Fair. Emily Brontë's novel has overcome its initial chilly reception to warm the hearts of romantics and realists worldwide. The novel told from multiple points of view is easily read and interpreted from multiple perspectives. Delving deeper. movies. she loses everything that is dear to her. She is drawn to the wild. they must determine what decisions are made by members of a certain class and why these characters made the decisions they did. and intertwine as the story unfolds. a musical retelling. to marry Edgar. representing a lower class. Because of her infatuation. he intends to marry Amelia and does not want a governess for a sister-in-law. (Contemporary audiences. of good family. regardless of the fact that he is beneath her social standing. Wuthering Heights cannot be easily classified as any particular type of novel — that is the literary strength that Brontë's text possesses. mysterious man. instead. and Rebecca Sharp. Amelia's brother. Readers must therefore look not only to social class when judging and analyzing characters. mingle. Vanity Fair By William Makepeace Thackeray Book Summary Amelia Sedley. Rebecca cares for nothing else. For Isabella. For Catherine. to marry her. That is why she cannot marry Heathcliff and agrees.) In fact. and even a novel that fills in the gaps of Heathcliff's three missing years. Rebecca takes a position as governess at Queen's Crawley. On the surface. also. readers find both a symbolic and psychological novel. they mix. Wuthering Heights is also a social novel about class structure in society as well as a treatise on the role of women. easily relate to issues of child abuse and alcoholism. an orphan. rather. social class plays a major role when deciding to get married. leave Miss Pinkerton's academy on Chiswick Mall to live out their lives in Vanity Fair — the world of social climbing and search for wealth. however. Like other literary masterpieces. just the opposite is true. foils this plan. George Osborne. Wuthering Heights is a love story.rebellion. however. Wuthering Heights has spawned dramatic productions.

obtained from admiring gentlemen. Georgy. Rebecca claims she will make Rawdon's fortune. after George's father has forbidden the marriage on account of the Sedley's loss of fortune. and William on the Continent. to ensnare Joseph. Both young couples endeavor to live without sufficient funds. she accumulates both money and diamonds. wasn't worthy. Rawdon's rich aunt disinherits him. but actually she hides much of her loot. reconciles old Osborne to Amelia. claiming such valor at Waterloo that he earns the nickname "Waterloo Sedley. she appears to be respectable. First introduced as a friend of George Osborne. Because her parents are starving and she can neither provide for them nor give little Georgy what she thinks he needs. old Osborne disinherits him. George dies at Waterloo. William has won Amelia.and marries Rawdon Crawley. he is convinced that money means more to her than he or the son whom she has always hated. Amelia gives up her son to his grandfather Osborne. where he dies of yellow fever. Amelia would have starved but for William Dobbin's anonymous contribution to her welfare. . at least. whereat Osborne makes a will leaving Georgy half of his fortune and providing for Amelia. At the end of the book Rebecca has the money necessary to live in Vanity Fair. Because of George's marriage. Joseph goes back to his post in India. but she takes all his money and he dies in terror of her. When Rawdon discovers Rebecca in her treachery. second son of Sir Pitt Crawley. who has inherited from the rich aunt. Both Rebecca and Amelia give birth to sons. Amelia. wanders in Europe for a couple of years and finally meets Joseph. When she becomes the favorite of the great Lord Steyne. Rebecca has been the one who jolted Amelia into recognition that George. Rebecca sets about to finish what she started to do at the first of the book — that is. In the meantime innocent Rawdon draws closer to Lady Jane. William Dobbin comes back from the service. wife of Rawdon's older brother. having lost the respectability of a husband. He refuses to see her again and takes a post in Coventry Island. She does not marry him. hastened his death. Because of his marriage. Rebecca." Actually he fled at the sound of the cannon. Pitt. William Dobbin becomes the instrument for getting George to marry Amelia. the implication being that she has. her first love.

The modern reader may be bewildered by the rambling. becomes the heir of Queen's Crawley. also. Promotion in military status may change titles. in some cases. Occasionally. For the purposes of this study. Vanity Fair By William Makepeace Thackeray About Vanity Fair Vanity Fair. time sequences are not clear. of outlook. and advancement in society may change rank and title. for example. the student is urged to read Vanity Fair for himself. Names are not always consistent. the tongue-in-cheek humor of Thackeray's remarks on the human race without reading Vanity Fair at sufficient leisure to realize its subtle meanings. she has literally entangled and destroyed . and human foibles. For this reason. he will have no trouble following the six main characters through changes of fortune and. Little George. the book has been divided into the original installments as published. readers had time to savor Thackeray's various digressions into morals. It would be impossible to catch the sly irony.Little Rawdon. Of necessity. through the kindness of Dobbin. and by the vast number of characters. because of the length of the book. In spite of the confusion. a satirical novel of manners. Bute Crawley is sometimes Martha. upon the death of his uncle Pitt and his cousin Pitt. However. at their first acquaintance. This set of notes does not attempt to take the place of reading the book. Critical Essays Symbolism in Vanity Fair Thackeray takes symbols from everyday life. sometimes Barbara. The reader feels that these young persons of the third generation will be better people than their predecessors in Vanity Fair. Any curiosity aroused concerning a character will be satisfied by the time one has finished the story. Over a hundred years ago when this book was written. At the close of the book. psychology. has lost his distorted values obtained in Vanity Fair. and from the Bible. was published (1847-48) in serial form without sufficient time for revisions by Thackeray. sister of Peggy O'Dowd. from the classics. is also called Glorvina O'Dowd. as if she were Major O'Dowd's sister. some of whom appear only as names. He shows Rebecca ensnaring Joseph in a tangle of green silk. As Becky climbs the social stairway. this condensation must leave out many incidents and commentaries by the author. Glorvina. Mrs. she is likened to a spider. Vanity Fair fascinates the careful reader.

Old Sir Pitt proposes marriage to Becky: "I'm an old man.) Rebecca is also called Circe. though she is not of Vanity Fair. She sucked his money. Sir Pitt refers to the Bute Crawleys as Beauty and the Beast. Sir Pitt is a stingy. eats boiled mutton. can't talk. see if I don't. I'm good for twenty years. he destroys Miss Jane's one romance for his own selfish convenience. the siren who lured men to their death. but she played Delilah to his Samson. The Osborne household keeps time by a clock representing the sacrifice of Iphigenia. second of Joseph. Hannah gives up her son to the Lord. and yanks the bell rope loose. The Bible story has religious significance. but a good'n. when her lover's courage failed. You shall do what you like. In Vanity Fair. disreputable boor who can't spell. then. turns red. The symbol here may be ironic. spend what you like. daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. Look year!" and the old man fell down on his knees and leered at her like a satyr. which he has. symbolic of her destruction first of Rawdon. I'll make you happy. another route to power and position. Amelia's giving up Georgy is compared to Hannah's giving up Samuel. Amelia. symbolizes the complete subordination of the Osbornes to money and social success. and has but one candle in the house. doesn't read. his personality from him. was sacrificed by her father for success in war. embarrassed when he first meets Rebecca. At the charade party Rebecca plays Clytemnestra. and 'av it all your own way. and three footmen serve the boiled mutton. The Iphigenia clock. Critical Essays Humorous Situations in Vanity Fair Joseph. dirty. I'll do everything reglar. I'll make you a settlement.Joseph just as a spider would its victim. his vitality. surrenders her son to advantages that money and position can provide. She did not reduce Rawdon to such a shell. but it stands in an ornate silver candlestick. (Clytemnestra killed her husband. Iphigenia. Old Osborne tries to sacrifice George to a marriage for money. Agamemnon. . a symbolic hint that Bute has married a battle-axe.

Amelia rises to pack. . she put her hand to her heart with a passionate gesture of despair. a name synonymous with political cunning. but he outgrows it long before it is finished. Satyrs are goatlike men. . she placed herself on the bed — not on the bottle and plate. intoxicated. by the exhibition of so much grief . Jos calls on Becky in her room at the "Elephant. that spotless being — that miserable unsullied martyr — was present on the bed before Jos — on the bed. a brandy-bottle. one reads of Miss Pinkerton. sitting on the brandy-bottle. she pulls out a little shirt that she is sewing for little Rawdon." When Becky wants to impress someone with her domesticity and her love for her child. the god of wine. an attendant of Bacchus. . but she did now. no doubt. jolly. burying her face for a moment on the bed. . In mythology Silenus is a fat old man. The brandy-bottle inside clinked up against the plate which held the cold sausage. duplicity. and wept some of the most genuine tears that ever fell from her eyes.Rebecca started back a picture of consternation. and bad faith. Obviously the figure is ironic. sir — I — I'm married already. Sir Pitt!" she said. . wisdom. To continue with similar figures which may not be considered broadly symbolic. Critical Essays Imagery in Vanity Fair The symbolism described in the foregoing paragraphs constitutes one form of imagery. attendants of Bacchus. "Oh. while her husband lies in bed "deploring that she had not a maid to help her. and voluptuousness. Hammersmith was a metropolitan borough of London. Both were moved. leers at Becky like a satyr. "the Semiramis of Hammersmith. called Silenus. and a plate of broken meat into the bed ." Sermiramis was an Assyrian queen noted for beauty." She has to do some quick house cleaning: In that instant she put a rouge-pot. "Oh. Machiavel. Old Sir Pitt. When Pitt lures James into trouble by urging him to drink and smoke in Miss Crawley's house. Thackeray calls Pitt. In the course of this history we have never seen her lose her presence of mind. . ." When the party gets ready to leave Brighton. you may be sure .

Men and women are compared to trees and birds: "While Becky Sharp was on her own wing in the country, hopping on all sorts of twigs and amid a multiplicity of traps, and pecking up her food quite harmless and successful, Amelia lay snug in her home . . ." He compares George to a tree where Amelia can built her nest but says it is not safe. When Dobbin has at last won Amelia, the author says, "The bird has come in at last. There it is with its head on his shoulder, billing and cooing close up to his heart with soft outstretched fluttering wings . . ." He calls Dobbin the "rugged old oak to which you cling." Dobbin, the "uproused British lion," tells his sisters they "hiss and shriek and cackle . . . don't begin to cry. I only said you were a couple of geese." Thackeray compares Amelia to a violet, speaks of her nursing the corpse of Love, after George seems to have abandoned her In caring for her father, she appears to Dobbin to walk "into the room as silently as a sunbeam." Pitt Crawley is "pompous as an undertaker." Lady Crawley is a "mere machine in her husband's house." Amelia is a "poor little white-robed angel," who fortunately can't hear George and his fellows roaring over their whiskey-punch. When the ladies cry, the author says, "The waterworks again began to play." Miss Swartz, in fancy garments, is dressed "about as elegantly . . . as a she chimney-sweep on May Day." Dobbin, on contemplating Becky's flirtation, has "a countenance as glum as an undertaker's." When Amelia comes out, just before George's departure for battle, holding his sash against her bosom, Thackeray says "the heavy net of crimson dropped like a large stain of blood," a possible symbol of George's fate. The note George gives Becky asking her to run away with him, lies "coiled like a snake among the flowers." When Becky exploits her fellow men, she is like the mermaid feeding below the surface of the water on the pickled victims. The "sheep-dog," or female companion necessary to the vivacious social climber in Vanity Fair, reminds Thackeray of "the death's head which figured in the repasts of Egyptian bon-vivants . . ." Mrs. Bowls, formerly Firkin, maid to Miss Crawley, extends her hand to Becky and "her fingers were like so many sausages, cold and lifeless." Mrs. Frederick Bullock's kiss is "like the contact of an oyster."

One of the most humorous comparisons is that of cleaning a woman's reputation by presenting her at Court as one would clean dirty linen by putting it through the laundry. A countess of sixty is compared with faded street lights. She has "chinks and crannies" in her face. The calling cards from the ladies of Lord Steyne's family are "the trumps of Becky's hand." But Steyne says, "You poor little earthenware pipkin, you want to swim down the stream along with the great copper kettles." When Georgy's nose is hurt, one does not see blood, but "the claret drawn from his own little nose." Becky calls herself a mouse, perhaps able to help the lion, the second Sir Pitt. To indicate that the servants are gossiping about Becky, Thackeray personifies Discovery and Calumny as the waiters who serve the food and drink. When Dobbin comes home, the English landscape "seems to shake hands" with him. Dobbin's desire is a "bread-and-butter paradise." Becky is a hardened Ishmaelite who halts at Jos' tents and rests. Vanity Fair By William Makepeace Thackeray Critical Essays Technique and Style of Vanity Fair The story is presented by summarized narrative, bits of drama, interpolated essays, without much recourse to the minds of the characters. If there is any doubt as to how the reader should judge an individual, the author steps in and makes appropriate comment. For example, when the Sedleys lose their money, the chief critic and enemy is old Osborne, whom Sedley has started in business. Thackeray comments on the psychology of old Osborne's attitude: When one man has been under very remarkable obligations to another, with whom he subsequently quarrels, a common sense of decency, as it were, makes of the former a much severer enemy than a mere stranger would be . . . a persecutor is bound to show that the fallen man is a villain — otherwise he, the persecutor, is a wretch himself. Here is an example of dramatic presentation. Amelia visits Becky to find out if she can help her. Becky has hidden her brandy bottle in the bed, and is putting forth every effort to engage Amelia's sympathy by way of little Rawdon:

"My agonies," Becky continued, "were terrible (I hope she won't sit down on the bottle) when they took him away from me I thought I should die; but I fortunately had a brain fever, during which my doctor gave me up, and — and I recovered, and — and — here I am, poor and friendless." "How old is he?" Emmy asked. "Eleven," said Becky. "Eleven!" cried the other. "Why, he was born the same year with George who is — " "I know, I know," Becky cried out, who had in fact quite forgotten all about little Rawdon's age. "Grief has made me forget so many things, dearest Amelia. I am very much changed: half wild some times. He was eleven when they took him away from me. Bless his sweet face, I have never seen it again." "Was he fair or dark?" went on that absurd little Emmy. "Show me his hair." Becky almost laughed at her simplicity . . . Usually Thackeray just describes what happens. George and Becky are talking about how Becky can get next to Briggs, Miss Crawley's maid, and thereby see Miss Crawley and regain her favor for Rawdon. Becky says she will find out when Briggs goes to bathe; she will dive in under Briggs' awning and "insist on a reconciliation". The idea amuses George, who bursts out laughing, whereat Rawdon shouts at them to ask what the joke is. Thackeray does not say Amelia is jealous, he shows the reader what she does: "Amelia was making a fool of herself in an absurd hysterical manner, and retired to her own room to whimper in private." Instead of showing, sometimes the author tells what the situation is. Of Sir Pitt's second wife, he says, "Her heart was dead long before her body. She had sold it to become Sir Pitt Crawley's wife. Mothers and daughters are making the same bargain every day in Vanity Fair." Although Thackeray claims to write about real people, at the close of the book, he says, "Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for

However. as I think what a fine and durable thing Love is among worldly people. and can't but admire." "What a charming reconciler and peacemaker money is!" "The good quality of this old lady has been mentioned . there is a certain amount of confusion in regard to names. have known a five-pound note to interpose and knock up a halfcentury's attachment between two brethren." Jane Eyre By Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre at a Glance .our play is played out. essays have been inserted as padding. slows the pace or quickens it. Georgy sees Dobbin in London at a time when he is in Madras. The variety tends to make the story readable. . and one cannot be sure that he uses such expressions seriously. like his use of the colon instead of a period in sentences like: "William knew her feelings: had he not passed his whole life in divining them?" Sentence structure ranges from a few words to a whole paragraph. Amelia is drawn from Mrs. Mrs. but always pertinent. however." Thackeray does write about real people. sometimes Barbara." Sometimes his punctuation seems old-fashioned. . Because the story was written as a serial." The modern reader may think his writings full of clichés. Thackeray didn't have the whole manuscript in hand for completion and correction. sometimes playful. Bute Crawley is sometimes Martha. Thackeray. The author calls his characters ironic or patronizing names such as "Our poor Emmy. variation may come in the form of a question or direct address. Critical Essays Irony in Vanity Fair Thackeray's irony takes a wide range — sometimes biting. A sample of comment on money follows: "I for my part. For example. Essay or narration alternates with dialogue and dramatic action. Thackeray likes certain words such as "killing. places. She had a balance at her banker's which would have made her beloved anywhere. and time. there is a transformation and adaptation which justifies also the figure of the manipulation of puppets. that Thackeray makes fun of just such patronizing expressions. in the writing of a story. As a result the story rambles." or "Our darling Rebecca. One must remember.

settings (often houses that appear to be haunted). By novel's end. As a result. John Rivers and Mr. but still entail an element of romance. substitute mothers." This line is significant not only in that it provides the novel with a happy ending. living with a family that dislikes her. Other examples of this form include Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre still raises relevant questions to readers today. mythic. but also because of its active quality. Jane. Edward Fairfax Rochester. familyMotifs: rebellion.Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre opens with Jane. Victorian." would have been more conventional. Jane is a strong. where she regains her spirituality and discovers her own strength. Byronic heroMajor Symbols: Thornfield burning. take place in dark. Jane Eyre is a typical coming-of-age novel in that its main character. sometimes exotic. St. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The phrase "coming-ofage" literally means the character is maturing and coming closer to adulthood. becomes a governess. Jane Eyre is a gothic novel. the red room Here are eight important things to remember about Jane Eyre:     Jane Eyre is a bildungsroman. St. excels at school. and falls in love with Edward Rochester. which was probably shocking at the time of the novel's publication. Gothic novels focus on the mysterious. 1800sMain Characters: Jane Eyre. is young. and in a sense Jane and the madwoman in Rochester's attic are doubles — two wives. I married him. especially in relation to Jane. The double is a frequent feature of the Gothic novel. Jane goes to Marsh End. courtship. bildungsroman (coming of age novel)First Published: 1847Setting: English countryside. and The Catcher in the Rye by J. one of sound mind and the other insane. romance. gender conflict. spirituality. and resourceful in the face of difficulty and even danger. an orphaned. she is easy for readers to sympathize with. John RiversMajor Thematic Topics: class conflict. After being deceived by him. The most famous line in Jane Eyre is "Reader. independent woman. Written by: Charlotte BrontëType of Work: novelGenres: gothic. isolated tenyear-old. John is cold and . or coming-of-age novel. brave. She grows in strength. The line "Reader. St. he married me.D. Rochester are foils — meaning opposites — of one another. Salinger.

A major symbol in Jane Eyre is that of Thornfield burning. Even their physiques are a foil. Although English society has a very strict hierarchy. Rochester loses his hand and sight that he is able to change. He wants to change and tries to use Jane's purity to help motivate his transformation. One primary theme is class conflict. Mr. 1889. Now.    dispassionate. while Mr. she's frank. Even with Jane's influence. Philadelphia publisher Joseph M. Mr. invited a few guests to dinner at the Langham Hotel in London. It's not until Thornfield burns down and Mr. with the help of Jane. At one point he's described as Athenian. Symbolically. Mr. managing editor of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. Doyle recounts the events of what he calls "a golden evening" in his autobiographical Memories and Adventures (1924). Reed. Jane is vulnerable to a patriarchal class system that doesn't always have her best interest in mind. Jane's personality contains many qualities that would be considered desirable in an English woman." Jane reacts strongly when she is discredited due to her class and/or gender. Rochester is wildly indulgent and passionate. and lacks personal vanity. St. Rochester can change. Jane rebels against Mrs. Jane Eyre is rebellious in a world demanding obedient women. and even Mr. Mr. Rochester is not handsome. "The Sign of Four. Rochester is impulsive and wild. Rochester. Doyle contributed to Lippincott's his second Sherlock Holmes story. sincere. Gender conflict is a theme that threads throughout Jane Eyre. But the rebel streak she has is targeted at "inequalities of society. Stoddart was considering an English publication of Lippincott's with a British editor and British contributors. Stoddart. moments throughout Jane Eyre reveal those lines being blurred. Prior to meeting Jane. it's as if his lies and passions have finally exploded. St. . but he does have extremely masculine features. In her own way. which recalls a grandiose statue to mind. On the other hand. As a result of that evening. John Rivers." Wilde published his first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray in the magazine's July 1890 issue. the man she marries at the end of the book. About The Picture of Dorian Gray On August 30. and be the perfect husband. Time and again. John is classically beautiful. Among them were two promising young writers: Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde. Rochester can't change.

One is that the writer sat for a painter named Basil Ward. He also extensively revised Lippincott's version. Arthur Conan Doyle was supportive of Dorian Gray in a letter to Wilde. The Picture of Dorian Gray is now considered to be at least a pivotal work. if not a classic. My difficulty was to keep the inherent moral subordinate to the artistic and dramatic effect. and it seems to me that the moral is too obvious. Contrary to the reviews' charge that the novel was immoral. the Irish poet and dramatist who would receive the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923. remarked that it would be delightful if Wilde could remain as he was while the picture aged. refers to the "garbage of the French Décadents" and the "prosy rigmaroles" of the story. "I cannot understand how they can treat Dorian Gray as immoral. The St. there is no historical indication that Wilde ever sat for a Basil Ward. B. that it was didactic in its portrayal of the wages of sin. The revised version evoked less negative response. W." Over the years. "Why go grubbing in muck-heaps?" Wilde responded to the criticism of his work with numerous letters to editors and added a preface to the book version that came out in the spring of 1891. In his response. Wilde wrote. 1891. after finishing the portrait.Initial response to Wilde's novel was negative if not abusive. softening the homoerotic references. and 18). in April 1891. Critics cite various sources for the changing portrait motif. writers as diverse as James Joyce and Joyce Carol Oates have praised Wilde with some reservations. however. 15. adding six new chapters (3. 5. 16. The Daily Chronicle of June 30 calls it a "poisonous book. 1890." The Scots Observer of July 5 asks. Wilde was concerned that the novel was too moral. 17. had some reservations but called it a "wonderful book" in the United Ireland of September 26. possibly because most of the uproar about the work had faded. Sources from which Wilde drew for his novel include the Faust legend and the Narcissus myth from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Yeats. who. Another version of this story links the concept of a portrait aging to a Canadian artist named Frances Richards. James Gazette of June 20. Several other nineteenth- . Several critics have noted that the politician and novelist Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) anonymously published a book called Vivian Grey in the 1820s and that this novel anticipates Wilde's work. and dividing Chapter 13 of the original text into Chapters 19 and 20 of the book.

Each section begins with an expository chapter. for its own essence or beauty. The artist was not to be concerned about morality or utility or even the pleasure that a work might bring to its audience. which is mentioned early in the book and becomes a symbol of manipulation. while Daly's opium den represents the depths of depravity and excess. that these influences appear to be only coincidental. the fall of man. who seems incapable of dealing with Sibyl as a real person. Critical Essays Oscar Wilde's Aesthetics The philosophical foundations of Aestheticism were formulated in the eighteenth century by Immanuel Kant. who spoke for the autonomy of art. French . the balance of body and soul. which dominates the story as it reflects Dorian's increasing fall into debauchery. meaning "art for art. Note also that Wilde's talents as a dramatist often are applied to the novel. The structure of Dorian Gray is balanced between Lord Henry's early influence on Dorian (the first ten chapters) and Dorian's life as an adult (the last ten chapters).century novels make use of a magic picture. Aestheticism was supported in Germany by J. Benjamin Constant first used the phrase l'art pour l'art (French. Isaacs is a fantasy world for Dorian." or "art for art's sake") in 1804. the story can simply be enjoyed on its own as a well-written tale of suspense and surprise. The "yellow book" reflects Lord Henry's continuing influence and seems to be a demonic force of its own. The theater run by Mr. Lord Henry plays Dorian like a violin. The white narcissus reflects Dorian's adoration of self. where the singer Patti performs. The opera. self-discovery. Victor Cousin popularized the words that became a catch-phrase for Aestheticism in the 1890s. friendship. Art was to exist for its own sake. sin and redemption. Wilde's work is so creative. Major themes include the Faust legend. Major symbols in the novel include the portrait. is the essence of Aestheticism. narcissism. the dual nature of man. von Goethe and in England by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Carlyle. or doppelganger (a ghostly double of a living person). however. and the dangers of personal influence or manipulation. Wilde uses devices such as dinner parties to provide temporary relief from intense action. Beyond all of these critical approaches. W.

Like Baudelaire. which Wilde felt was his best. fearless statements. his superb irresponsibility. his healthy. than with popular movements like Industrialism or Capitalism. his life was to be his most important body of work. This point of view contradicted Victorian convention in which the arts were supposed to be spiritually uplifting and instructive." These and the contemporary essay "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" affirm Wilde's support of Aestheticism and supply the philosophical context for his novel. monotonous. and lacking in design when compared to Art. "The Decay of Lying" was first published in January 1889. Vivian advocates one of the tenets of Wilde's Aestheticism: Art is superior to Nature. Oscar Wilde did not invent Aestheticism. It consists of four essays: "The Decay of Lying. published in May 1891. The participants are Cyril and Vivian." and "The Truth of Masks." "The Critic as Artist. According to Vivian. Wilde went a step further and stated that the artist's life was even more important than any work that he produced. man needs the temperament of the true liar" with his frank. Art was not meant to instruct and should not concern itself with social. Wilde advocated freedom from moral restraint and the limitations of society. the self." helped to form Wilde's humanistic aesthetics in which he was more concerned with the individual. moral. Nature is crude. or political guidance. but he was a dramatic leader in promoting the movement near the end of the nineteenth century. Wilde called it a "trumpet against the gate of dullness" in a letter to Kate Terry Lewis. takes place in the library of a country house in Nottinghamshire. The English essayist Walter Pater. is a volume titled Intentions. which were the names of Wilde's sons (the latter spelled "Vyvyan"). natural disdain of proof of any kind!" Artists with this attitude will not be shackled . Pencil and Poison. Nature has good intentions but can't carry them out." "Pen. an advocate of "art for art's sake. The most important of Wilde's critical works.writers such as Théophile Gautier and Charles-Pierre Baudelaire contributed significantly to the movement. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Almost immediately. Wilde was especially influenced as a college student by the works of the English poet and critic Algernon Charles Swinburne and the American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The dialogue.

" Wilde's approach is that Wainewright's criminal activities reveal the soul of a true artist. while reading. It is a biographical essay on the notorious writer. Disguises intensify the artist's personality. The artist often will conceal his identity behind a mask." as Wilde calls them in "The Decay of Lying. Along with the central theme of the importance of the critic. especially those of Realism. or reasons. The longest of the essays in Intentions. who attempted to make this distinction in his own life through his attempts to re-create himself. thus. and the true artist presents his life as his finest work. the times do not make the man. The best criticism must cast off ordinary guidelines. but Wilde maintains that the mask is more revealing than the actual face. "The True Function and Value in Criticism. The central thesis of Wilde's essay is that the critic must reach beyond the creative work that he considers. and accept the aesthetics of Impressionism — what a reader feels when reading a work of literature rather than what a reader thinks. With Some Remarks on the Importance of Doing Nothing: A Dialogue. "Pen. Rules of morality are non-creative and. True aesthetes belong to the "elect." and are beyond such concerns. Gilbert espouses the significance of the individual. Pencil and Poison" was first published in January 1889. Further. he advocates that "Sin is an essential element of progress. The critic must transcend literal events and consider . includes this theme in The Picture of Dorian Gray. evil. and the principal characters are Gilbert and Ernest. The artist must have a "concentration of vision and intensity of purpose" that exclude moral or ethical judgment. As creative acts. and forger Thomas Griffiths Wainewright." It is considered to be a response to Matthew Arnold's essay "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time" (1865). Life itself is an art." first appeared in two parts (July and September 1890) with the significant sterile facts but will be able to tell beautiful truths that have nothing to do with fact. Wilde. The setting of the dialogue is a library in a house in London's Piccadilly area overlooking Green Park. there is no significant difference between art and murder. The man makes the times. Arnold's position is that the creative faculty is higher than the critical. who used the pen name "Janus Weathercock." Sin helps assert individuality and avoid the monotony of conformity. murderer. "The Critic as Artist.

" This sentiment recalls Wilde's tremendous respect for the thoughts of Walt Whitman. While Wilde wouldn't want to be accused of sincerity.the "imaginative passions of the mind. or costumes. In it. "Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself. Wilde expresses his Aesthetics primarily through the emphasis that the essay places on the individual. he says. Wilde takes the opposite position. situations. there is no such thing as an absolute truth: "A Truth is that whose contradictory is also true." Whitman writes. He thus warns against tyrannical rulers and concludes that the best form of government for the artist is no government at all. however cleverly disguised. In art." The essay originally was a response to an article written by Lord Lytton in December 1884. irony." "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" first appeared in February 1891. it's easy to see that Wilde loved to shock. More important within the context of Intentions. a literary genre which can trace its origins back to the eighteenth century. for his perspective. If Walt Whitman wanted to wake the world with his "barbaric yawp. the reader should always be aware of the irony inherent in Fowles' perception. In "Song of Myself. and even dialogue. and satire. In an unusual interpretation of socialism. in which Lytton argues that Shakespeare had little interest in the costumes that his characters wear. is that . paradox. The French Lieutenant's Woman By John Fowles About The French Lieutenant's Woman This novel is based on the nineteenth-century romantic or gothic novel. Wilde believed that the individual would be allowed to flourish under the system. Although Fowles perfectly reproduces typical characters. Wilde also raises the question of self-contradiction. he was certainly devoted to Aestheticism in his life as well as his art. "The Truth of Masks" first appeared in May 1885 under the title "Shakespeare and Stage Costume." The critic should not seek to explain a work of art but should seek to deepen its mystery." Wilde preferred aphorisms. / (I am large. I contain multitudes). Wilde himself always put great emphasis on appearance and the masks. with which the artist or individual confronts the world. In this essay.

It is this aura of strangeness about Sarah Woodruff that first attracts Charles Smithson's attention. Sometimes the villainess. and the isolation resulting from an individual's struggle for selfhood. The story that develops around this pair echoes other romantic novels of a similar type. Fowles is concerned in this novel with the effects of society on the individual's awareness of himself or herself and how that awareness dominates and distorts his or her entire life. He . wherein a man falls in love with a strange and sometimes evil woman.of the twentieth century. Thus Fowles uses the popularity of the comedy of manners and combines it with the drama and sensationalism of the gothic novel and. for example. He does a little of both. neither does he parody one. The French Lieutenant's Woman By John Fowles Critical Essay Structure. mysterious woman of the typical Victorian romantic novel. All the main characters in this novel are molded by what they believe to be true about themselves and others. including relationships with other people. The subject of this novel is essentially the same as that of his other works: the relationship between life and art. which are drawn from the writings of people whose observations belie the assumptions that most Victorians held about their world. In this case. that would normally keep Charles and Ernestina apart. such a woman was a symbol of what was forbidden. many-layered mystery that is one of the finest pieces of modern literature. using several stylistic conventions. the romantic situation which develops around the pair of aristocratic young people is not allowed to prevail over the forces. Charles' relationship with Ernestina Freeman creates another sort of romantic story. John Fowles does not merely recreate a Victorian novel. The French Lieutenant's Woman of the title. is the dark. including the dark lady. which comment on the mores of people in Victorian England. but also much more. sometimes the heroine. In the present story. their lives are governed by what the Victorian Age thought was true about the nature of men and women and their relationships to each other. We see this both in the authorial intrusions. and in his choice of opening quotations. the artist and his creation. one that formed the basis of many Victorian novels. Style. creates a masterful. and Technique in The French Lieutenant's Woman In The French Lieutenant's Woman.

for she is already aware of herself as an individual who cannot be defined by conventional roles. For example. economics. he is stiff and uncomfortable. While the plot traces a love story. In this romance. But he is also conscious that he is setting a scene and does not hesitate to intrude into the narrative himself in order to show the reader how he manipulates reality through his art. Sarah's responses to the world around her. but to show what each human being must face in life in order to be able to within the tradition of the Victorian novel and consciously uses its conventions to serve his own design. Fowles does not recreate his Victorian world uncritically. However. and the economic and social entrapment of women. and he sees himself as playing a series of roles. for Fowles' objective is not to unite his two protagonists. depending upon whom he talks to. and with Sarah. as seen through her words and actions are consistent. This story is thus not really a romance at all. In particular. all the while carefully informing the reader exactly what he is doing. because he really does not know who he is yet. he is indulgent and paternal. He focuses on those aspects of the Victorian era that would seem most alien to a modern reader. Like Dickens. With his fiancée. Sarah and Charles. he is patronizing and humorous at Sam's expense. science. he hears the hollowness of his own conventional responses. She does not change greatly in . He is forever uncomfortable with Sarah because she won't accept the way in which he categorizes the world. Charles changes. Fowles is as concerned with the details of the setting as were his Victorian counterparts. When he attempts to respond to Sarah's honesty. the reader questions what sort of love existed in a society where many marriages were based as much on economics as on love. and philosophy. including his view of her. with his servant Sam. His style purposely combines a flowing nineteenth-century prose style with an anachronistic twentieth-century perspective. Charles' attitudes toward Sarah and Ernestina are revealed in the way he talks to them. While Fowles has titled his book The French Lieutenant's Woman. Sarah Woodruff is not really the central character. Fowles examines the problems of two socially and economically oppressed groups in nineteenth-century England: the poverty of the working and servant classes. he is concerned with Victorian attitudes towards women. Fowles uses dialogue to reveal the personalities of his characters and often he will satirize them as well. or what seems to be a love story.

She has already rescued herself. In the early chapters of the novel. Charles. In the second ending. and has transformed them into human beings. as it might have had it been a traditional romance. for he has lost all his illusions. is the actual protagonist of this novel. Charles the gentleman." and also falls in love with Charles or causes him to fall in love with her. But even as she draws Charles away from his unquestioning acceptance of his life. Charles the rake. The novel is therefore actually a psychological study of an individual rather than a romance. and perhaps even Charles the lover.the novel as it progresses. He must discard each layer of the false Charles: Charles the naturalist. But the result itself is not bitter. The world was changing and old standards no longer applied. Charles' gift of marriage is not a gift at all. for he must travel from ignorance to understanding. Fowles has taken two traditional romantic characters. It is a . as Sarah discarded hers sometime before. Sarah rejects the familiar security that Charles offers and both are forced to go on alone. The knowledge he arrives at is bitter. she perhaps makes one last effort to establish a life within the norms of Victorian society. she was forced to see through it and beyond it in order to find meaning and some sort of happiness in her life. and Sarah's life is not a tragedy that echoes her nickname in Lyme. but who in fact is his mentor. she finds that she does not want to be rescued from her plight. and by such poets as Matthew Arnold and Alfred Lord Tennyson. they both achieve a maturity that enables them to control their lives as long as they remember to look for answers nowhere but in themselves. There is no French lieutenant to pine after. She chooses the role of the outcast. though they lingered on long after many had discarded them in their hearts. about the solidity of the Victorian view of the world. the "French lieutenant's whore. This theme that was approached by writers in the nineteenth century is picked up again by Fowles and carried to a logical conclusion. While the novel could have ended with the couple's reconciliation. Because her situation was intolerable. in order to find Charles the human being. for she has already arrived at an awareness that she must go beyond the definition of her individuality that society has imposed upon her. Fowles' novel echoes the doubts raised by such novelists as Thomas Hardy. it seems. for life's answers are never as simple and perfect as those of art. by following the woman whom he thinks he is helping. Although Charles and Sarah are not reunited. Fowles does not end it there. a young hero and a mysterious woman.

An ill-advised marriage between two people who are inherently incompatible never becomes completely harmonious. Moreover. In fact. romantic courtships lead to trouble. Critical reaction to Eliot's masterpiece work was mixed. Two major life choices govern the narrative of Middlemarch. Eliot hated the "silly. such as the marriage between Fred and Mary. marriages in which women have a greater say also work better. women novelists. it becomes a yoke. because both parties entertain unrealistic ideals of each other. Both and Rosamond and Lydgate think of courtship and romance in terms of ideals taken directly from conventional romance. Such is the case in the marriages of Lydgate and Dorothea. Moreover. Dorothea was saved from living with her mistake for her whole life because her elderly husband dies of a heart attack. Overall Summary Middlemarch is a highly unusual novel. They marry without getting to know one another. Her disdain for the tropes of conventional romance is apparent in her treatment of marriage between Rosamond and Lydgate. A common accusation leveled against it was its morbid. Although it is primarily a Victorian novel. She tells him she will not marry if he becomes a clergyman. In their opinion a woman writer should not be so intellectual. on the other hand. Eliot's many critics found Middlemarch to be too depressing for a woman writer. Not only did Eliot dislike the constraints imposed on women's writing. Her condition saves Fred from an unhappy entrapment in an occupation he doesn't like. Eliot refused to bow to the conventions of a happy ending. married young. Many critics did not like Eliot's habit of scattering obscure literary and scientific allusions throughout the book. Lydgate and Rosamond. depressing tone. One is marriage and the other is vocation. women writers were generally confined to writing the stereotypical fantasies of the conventional romance fiction." In the Victorian era. Short. Another problem with such fiction is that marriage marks the end of the novel.novel of individual growth and the awareness of one's basic isolation which accompanies that growth. Marriages based on compatibility work better. she disliked the stories they were expected to produce. it has many characteristics typical to modern novels. Dorothea and Casaubon struggle continually . Eliot goes through great effort to depict the realities of marriage. Eliot takes both choices very seriously.

The complexity of her portrait of provincial society is reflected in the complexity of individual characters. but there is some sense that her end as merely a wife and mother is a waste. yet marriage still appears negative and unromantic. One moment. and her stifled ambitions only result in unhappiness for herself and her husband. Eliot's refusal to conform to happy endings demonstrates the fact that Middlemarch is not meant to be entertainment. She wants to deal with reallife issues. but no single one person occupies the center of the action. marriage is not considered the ultimate source of happiness. Themes. but unlike in many novels of the time. The same applies in the marriage between Lydgate and Rosamond. Dorothea's passionate ambition for social reform is never realized. Her ambition was to create a portrait of the complexity of ordinary human life: quiet tragedies. not the fantasy world to which women writers were often confined. petty character failings. small triumphs. particularly because she was a woman writer. The novel is a collection of relationships between several major players in the drama. Two .because Casaubon attempts to make her submit to his control. Eliot's book is fairly experimental for its time in form and content. She also details at great length the consequences of confining women to the domestic sphere alone. The contradictions in the character of the individual person are evident in the shifting sympathies of the reader. She ends with a happy marriage. Rosamond's shrewd capabilities degenerate into vanity and manipulation. the next we judge him critically. She is restless within the domestic sphere. It is necessary to include multiple people. The choice of an occupation by which one earns a living is also an important element in the book. Motifs & Symbols Themes The Imperfection of Marriage Most characters in Middlemarch marry for love rather than obligation. Marriage and the pursuit of it are central concerns in Middlemarch. No one person can represent provincial life. Middlemarch stubbornly refuses to behave like a typical novel. Eliot illustrates the consequences of making the wrong choice. and quiet moments of dignity. we pity Casaubon.

Only when he steps away from gambling and decides not to go into the clergy do good things begin to happen for him. Middlemarch offers a clear critique of the usual portrayal of marriage as romantic and unproblematic. rather. When Rosamond goes against the wishes of her husband and writes a letter asking for money from his relative. self-determination and chance are not opposing forces but. relying solely on chance. individuals often receive harsh public criticism. bad things happen. the character of Farebrother demonstrates the balance between fate and self-determination. Bulstrode also face a marital crisis due to his inability to tell her about the past. Rosamond‘s need for gentility and the desire to live up to social standards becomes her downfall. a complicated balancing act. Finally. and Mrs. her act of self-determination puts Lydgate in an unsavory and tense situation coupled with a refusal to help. and Fred Vincy and Mary Garth also face a great deal of hardship in making their union. while Lydgate‘s marriage fails because of irreconcilable personalities. The Harshness of Social Expectations The ways in which people conduct themselves and how the community judges them are closely linked in Middlemarch. On the flip side. Fred Vincy is almost disowned because he chooses to go against his family‘s wishes and not join the clergy. When the expectations of the social community are not met. For example. This balance is exemplified in his educated gamble in the game of whist. His character strikes a balance between chance and his role in determining that fate. Through a combination of skill and chance.examples are the failed marriages of Dorothea and Lydgate. As none of the marriages reach a perfect fairytale ending. The complexity of the tension between self-determination and chance is . In particular. Chance In Middlemarch. when Fred Vincy gambles away his money. he is able to win more often than not. Self-Determination vs. In contrast. It is only when Vincy goes against the wishes of the community by foregoing his education that he finds true love and happiness. Mr. Dorothea‘s decision to act against the rules of society allows her to emerge as the most respectable character in the end. he falls into debt and drags with him the people who trust him. the community judges Ladislaw harshly because of his mixed pedigree. Dorothea‘s marriage fails because of her youth and of her disillusions about marrying a much older man. When characters strictly adhere to a belief in either chance or self-determination.

another form of speaking for another person. do not communicate to each other directly. especially characters of opposite genders. Eliot was charged with being too intellectual for a woman author in part because of the learned nature of her chosen quotations. Lydgate incurs serious debt due to his failure to manage money and his wife Rosamond‘s cultured tastes. Fred Vincy must ask several people for loans. Gossip. Chaucer. The plot is driven by characters worrying about money or asking others for money. The exchange of money and the passing of debts ties the characters together in an economic subtext. Mary Garth‘s refusal to take money from the dying Featherstone proves her good. . sending ―diplomats. Dante. Motifs Epigraphs Each chapter begins with a small quotation or a few lines of verse known as an epigraph.exemplary of the way in which the novel as a whole tends to look at events from many vantage points with no clear right or wrong. On the other hand. They also work to place Middlemarch into a larger canon of literary works. and Raffles‘s constant begging and blackmailing for money indicates his threatening role. plays an important part in the novel as it is often how information is conveyed. Characters frequently use the fact that the information will eventually come around to avoid direct conversation. Carrying messages. but it also works to avoid direct communication. Gossip and Speaking for Others Often characters. and money often indicates elements of a character‘s personality. These epigraphs work as a way of summarizing the following chapter and moving the plot forward. instead using other characters to speak on their behalf.‖ and not speaking for themselves draws attention to the weblike community of Middlemarch. and William Blake. Debt and Borrowing Money Debt appears throughout Middlemarch. Part of this web functions to maintain an intricate social web. honest nature. no clear enemy or hero. as Eliot chooses quotes a variety of writers such as Shakespeare.

Mr. Dickens focuses on orphans. When Ladislaw refuses it saying he has no need for the past. Ladislaw‘s grandmother also gave up wealth to be with the man she loved. His characters suffer punishment at the hands of forces larger than themselves. the powerful abuse the weak and helpless. The portrait hangs in Dorothea‘s bedroom at Casaubon‘s house. His repeated appearance disrupts the sanctity of Middlemarch. and brings about the climax of the novel. Dickens draws on his own experience as a child to describe the inhumanity of child labor and debtors‘ prison. As his guardian. David starves and suffers in a wine-bottling factory as a child. . women. and Dorothea often recalls the portrait when she thinks of Ladislaw. even though they are morally good people. Dorothea offers him the portrait as a parting gift. for he ties together the dark pasts of Bulstrode and Ladislaw. he indicates that the chance they will end up together remains. Raffles The character of Raffles symbolizes the ominous return of the past. Creakle. Murdstone can exploit David as factory labor because the boy is too small and dependent on him to disobey. Most often he appears as a lone black figure walking down the country roads and is described as a man of ill-repute and questionable background. The Plight of the Weak Throughout David Copperfield. causes Bulstrode‘s downfall. His death fuels neighborhood gossip that almost forces Ladislaw from town.Symbols The Portrait of Ladislaw’s Grandmother A miniature portrait of Ladislaw‘s grandmother appears several times in the text and is symbolic of Dorothea‘s future choice of giving up wealth for love. Likewise. children deprived of the care of their natural parents suffer at the hands of their own supposed protectors. associating the danger of the past with the unsavory lower class. In both situations. the boys at Salem House have no recourse against the cruel Mr. and the mentally disabled to show that exploitation—not pity or compassion—is the rule in an industrial society. When Ladislaw comes to say goodbye to Dorothea in a tense conversation filled with romantic subtext. The arbitrary suffering of innocents makes for the most vividly affecting scenes of the novel.

marriages succeed to the extent that husband and wife attain equality in their relationship. for example. are generous. for example. but rather the significance of family ties and family money in human relationships. Equality in Marriage In the world of the novel. as a woman. Wealth and Class Throughout the novel. Dickens does point toward an age of empowered women. and noble. Instead. Indeed. Mr. Peggotty and Ham. Murdstone‘s attempts to improve David‘s mother‘s character. he still assumes that his wife. However. does not challenge his society‘s constrictive views about the roles of women. to show that these traits are more likely to corrupt than improve a person‘s character. Doctor Strong is gentle and soothing with his wife. Murdstone and challenge his authority. which leaves her meek and voiceless. whose financial stability affords her the power to shelter David from Mr. Murdstone forces Clara into submission in the name of improving her. he flees to the wealthy Miss Betsey. neither of the Strongs views the other as inferior. Though Doctor Strong‘s marriage is based at least partially on an ideal of equality. Dickens. we see.The weak in David Copperfield never escape the domination of the powerful by challenging the powerful directly. both poor. Murdstone. sympathetic characters. he does so not out of a desire to show his moral superiority but rather out of love and respect for Annie. who is wealthy. Dickens uses Steerforth. David‘s escape proves neither self-reliance nor his own inner virtue. On the other hand. Instead. Conversely. Mr. Murdstone. doesn‘t stand up to Mr. although Doctor Strong does attempt to improve Annie‘s character. depends upon him and needs him for moral guidance. David. powerful. Dickens criticizes his society‘s view of wealth and class as measures of a person‘s value. Mr. In contrast. only crush her spirit. by depicting a marriage in which a man and wife share some balance of power. the weak must ally themselves with equally powerful characters. Many people in Dickens‘s time believed that poverty was a symptom of moral degeneracy and that people who were . Dickens holds up the Strongs‘ marriage as an example to show that marriages can only be happy if neither spouse is subjugated to the other. Dickens criticizes characters who attempt to invoke a sense of superiority over their spouses. rather than abrasive and imperious like Mr. Steerforth is treacherous and selfabsorbed.

On the whole. Uriah develops a vain. Instead. sympathizes with the poor and implies that their woes result from society‘s unfairness.poor deserved to suffer because of inherent deficiencies. even though he too is poor and helpless. She encourages him to be strong in everything he does and to be fair at all times. Dickens invites us to judge his characters based on their individual deeds and qualities. Dickens. Mrs. on the other hand. Miss Betsey. Dickens‘s treatment of mother-child relationships in the novel is intended to teach a lesson. inflated selfregard that breeds cruel behavior. middle-class citizens. Uriah‘s mother. She corrects him when she thinks he is making a mistake. Doctor Strong and Agnes. the aunt who raises David. contrasts. Heep. This moral connection between mothers and children indicates Dickens‘s belief that mothers have an all-important role in shaping their children‘s characters and destinies. As a result. Almost invariably. as with his marriage to Dora. dotes on her son and allows him to dominate her. Although Miss Betsey raises David to deal with the difficulties of the world. she does not block those hardships. she forces David to confront them himself. Dickens does not go so far as to suggest that all poor people are absolutely noble and that all rich people are utterly evil. In contrast. Poor people frequently swindle David when he is young. not on the hand that the cruel world deals them. Dickens does not paint a black-and-white moral picture but shows that wealth and class are are unreliable indicators of character and morality. not their own failings. both wealthy. Mothers and Mother Figures Mothers and mother figures have an essential influence on the identity of the characters in David Copperfield. good mother figures produce good children while bad mothers yield sinister offspring. clearly adores him but does not dote on him. and her ability to see faults in him helps him to mature into a balanced adult. or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text‘s major themes. The success of mother figures in the novel hinges on their ability to care for their children without coddling them. nonetheless are morally upstanding. He warns mothers to love their children only in moderation and to correct their faults while they can still be fixed. Motifs Motifs are recurring structures. .

and ill-tempered. like Uriah Heep. are good and noble. he cannot hide his true treachery for years. for example. or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. are evil. The sea took Little Em‘ly‘s father in an unfortunate accident over . initially appears harmless but annoying. Dickens suggests that internal characteristics. violent. in an attempt to appear poor and of good character. Creakle. Uriah. like David‘s mother. cannot be disguised permanently. Symbols Symbols are objects. Uriah is a conniving. In this manner. Mr. Rather. double-crossing social climber who views himself as superior to the wealthy and who exploits everyone he can. Murdstone. and Mr. on the other hand. physical beauty corresponds to moral good. much like physical appearance. characters. indicates genuine humility and poverty. even the most carefully buried characteristics eventually come to light and expose elusive individuals for what they really are. who grew up hard and fell into his current character because of the cruelty of the world. physical beauty corresponds to personal worth. figures. In David Copperfield. Although Steerforth. Peggotty‘s lower-class accent. Wickfield‘s friends confront him. for almost all the characters in the novel. circumstances will eventually reveal the moral value of characters whose good goes unrecognized or whose evil goes unpunished.Accented Speech Dickens gives his characters different accents to indicate their social class. and it is almost always connected with death. Dickens uses accent in both cases to advance his assertion that class and personal integrity are unrelated and that it is misleading to make any connection between the two. Uriah Heep and Mr. Physical Beauty In David Copperfield. Those who are physically beautiful. Rather. Peggotty are two notable examples of such characters whose speech indicates their social standing. The Sea The sea represents an unknown and powerful force in the lives of the characters in David Copperfield. while those who are ugly. Mr. Uriah drops this accent as soon as his fraud is revealed: he is not the urchin-child he portrays himself to be. consistently drops the ―h‖ in ―humble‖ every time a group of Mr.

Dick‘s own childish innocence. Motifs & Symbols Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Dick’s Kite Mr. Mr. Strong. the force of the sea is beyond human control. The sea washes Steerforth up on the shore—a moment that symbolizes Steerforth‘s moral emptiness. Because Mr. Dick brings to those around him. Themes. Dora forever paints flowers on her little canvas. whom the characters believe to be insane. Like death. flowers stand as images of rebirth and health—a significance that points to a springlike quality in characters associated with their blossoms. Steerforth nicknames David ―Daisy‖ because David is naïve. Dick. unpretentious joy Mr. stands apart from the rest of society. the sea takes both Ham and Steerforth. Just as the kite soars above the other characters. as the sea treats him like flotsam and jetsam. For example. Flowers Flowers represent simplicity and innocence in David Copperfield. Likewise. which none of the other characters can fix. The kite‘s carefree simplicity mirrors Mr. Dick is not a part of the social hierarchies that bind the rest of the characters. When David returns to the Wickfields‘ house and the Heeps leave. Flowers indicate fresh perspective and thought and often recall moments of frivolity and release. The Destructiveness of a Love That Never Changes . The storm in the concluding chapters of the novel alerts us to the danger of ignoring the sea‘s power and indicates that the novel‘s conflicts have reached an uncontrollable level. Mr. he is able to mend the disagreement between Doctor and Mrs. which indicates that the room has been returned to its previous state of simplicity and innocence. Dick‘s enormous kite represents his separation from society. he discovers that the old flowers are in the room.which she had no control. and the pleasure the kite offers resembles the honest. David brings Dora flowers on her birthday. Humans must try to live in harmony with the sea‘s mystical power and take precautions to avoid untimely death. In each of these cases.

When young Catherine first meets Hareton he seems completely alien to her world. Their love denies difference.‖ meaning Catherine. The book is actually structured around two parallel love stories. and she longs to return to the moors of her childhood. given that it is stronger and more lasting than any other emotion displayed in the novel. Catherine seeks a more genteel life. In choosing to marry Edgar. Catherine and Heathcliff‘s love is based on their shared perception that they are identical. restoring peace and order to Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. It is not easy to decide whether Brontë intends the reader to condemn these lovers as blameworthy or to idealize them as romantic heroes whose love transcends social norms and conventional morality. on the other hand. either by sacrificing Heathcliff or embracing Edgar. Nelly criticizes both of them harshly. it is . famously. Early in the novel Hareton seems irredeemably brutal. the first half of the novel centering on the love between Catherine and Heathcliff. The differences between the two love stories contribute to the reader‘s understanding of why each ends the way it does. and that it is the source of most of the major conflicts that structure the novel‘s plot. Moreover. Given that Catherine and Heathcliff‘s love is based upon their refusal to change over time or embrace difference in others. and is strangely asexual. and illiterate. Heathcliff.Catherine and Heathcliff‘s passion for one another seems to be the center of Wuthering Heights. while the less dramatic second half features the developing love between young Catherine and Hareton. yet her attitude also evolves from contempt to love. wails that he cannot live without his ―soul.‖ while Heathcliff. but over time he becomes a loyal friend to young Catherine and learns to read. As she tells Catherine and Heathcliff‘s story. is rooted in their childhood and is marked by the refusal to change. as adulterers do. In contrast to the first. Catherine declares. for his part. savage. upon Catherine‘s death. The most important feature of young Catherine and Hareton‘s love story is that it involves growth and change. Catherine and Heathcliff‘s love. condemning their passion as immoral. In Chapter XII she suggests to Nelly that the years since she was twelve years old and her father died have been like a blank to her. The two do not kiss in dark corners or arrange secret trysts. but this passion is obviously one of the most compelling and memorable aspects of the book. possesses a seemingly superhuman ability to maintain the same attitude and to nurse the same grudges over many years. ―I am Heathcliff. the latter tale ends happily. but she refuses to adapt to her role as wife.

resembles that of a ―homely. The Earnshaws. as Lockwood remarks with great puzzlement. northern farmer‖ and not that of a gentleman. to his embarrassment. and celebrates this process over and against the romantic intensity of its principal characters. the Earnshaws and the Lintons occupy a somewhat precarious place within the hierarchy of late eighteenth. possessed servants and often large estates. and the rise of a new and distinct generation. however. because aristocrats had official titles. Considerations of class status often crucially inform the characters‘ motivations in Wuthering Heights. they have less land. A discussion of whether or not a man was really a gentleman would consider such questions as how much land he owned. Catherine‘s decision to marry Edgar so that she will be ―the greatest woman of the neighborhood‖ is only the most obvious example. and their house. whether he kept horses and a carriage. and then by the lower classes. and their status was thus subject to change. They do not have a carriage. but simply by the inexorable passage of time. rest on much shakier ground socially. The shifting nature of social status is demonstrated most strikingly in Heathcliff‘s trajectory from homeless waif to young gentleman-by-adoption to common laborer to gentleman again (although the status-conscious Lockwood remarks that Heathcliff is only a gentleman in ―dress and manners‖). followed by the aristocracy. A man might see himself as a gentleman but find. how many tenants and servants he had. Ultimately. they held a nonetheless fragile social position. Members of the gentry. At the top of British society was the royalty. The social status of aristocrats was a formal and settled matter. then by the gentry. who made up the vast majority of the population. held no titles. or upper middle class. The Lintons are relatively firm in their gentry status but nonetheless take great pains to prove this status through their behaviors. Although the gentry. . Wuthering Heights presents a vision of life as a process of change.fitting that the disastrous problems of their generation are overcome not by some climactic reversal. that his neighbors did not share this view. and whether his money came from land or ―trade‖—gentlemen scorned banking and commercial activities. The Precariousness of Social Class As members of the gentry. on the other hand.and early nineteenth-century British society. how he spoke.

Repetition Repetition is another tactic Brontë employs in organizing Wuthering Heights. Instead. and themes—into pairs. so many intermarriages have taken place that one can no longer distinguish between the two families. For instance. and the horrors of the past repeat themselves in the present. the Lintons and the Earnshaws may at first seem to represent opposing sets of values. Even Heathcliff‘s second try at opening Catherine‘s grave repeats his first. the young Catherine‘s mockery of Joseph‘s earnest evangelical zealousness repeats her mother‘s. leads the reader to consider how plot elements also repeat themselves. For instance. time seems to run in cycles. . by the end of the novel. The way that the names of the characters are recycled. The two houses. and see themselves as identical. The Conflict Between Nature and Culture In Wuthering Heights. Catherine and Heathcliff are closely matched in many ways. Doubles Brontë organizes her novel by arranging its elements—characters. Brontë constantly plays nature and culture against each other. and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text‘s major themes. but. These characters are governed by their passions. represent opposing worlds and values. Catherine and young Catherine are both remarkably similar and strikingly different. The relation between such paired elements is usually quite complicated. Also. Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Nelly and Mr. and by Catherine and Heathcliff in particular. Catherine‘s character is divided into two warring sides: the side that wants Edgar and the side that wants Heathcliff. places. The novel has not one but two distinctly different narrators. It seems that nothing ever ends in the world of this novel. Lockwood. Nature is represented by the Earnshaw family. with the members of each pair being neither exactly alike nor diametrically opposed.Motifs Motifs are recurring structures. Heathcliff‘s degradation of Hareton repeats Hindley‘s degradation of Heathcliff. contrasts. so that the names of the characters of the younger generation seem only to be rescramblings of the names of their parents.

Hindley. Moors The constant emphasis on landscape within the text of Wuthering Heights endows the setting with symbolic importance. whereas all seems to be fine and peaceful at Thrushcross Grange. the two sides are brought onto the collision course that structures the majority of the novel‘s plot. the influence of Wuthering Heights soon proves overpowering. and Heathcliff‘s drama. Thus the reader almost may interpret Wuthering Heights‘s impact on the Linton family as an allegory for the corruption of culture by nature. . However. Catherine is bitten by the Lintons‘ dog and brought into Thrushcross Grange. When. However. This method of characterization prevents the novel from flattening out into a simple privileging of culture over nature. Thus in the end the reader must acknowledge that the novel is no mere allegory. and the inhabitants of Thrushcross Grange are drawn into Catherine. and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Symbols Symbols are objects. characters. This landscape is comprised primarily of moors: wide. or vice versa. Thrushcross Grange and the Linton family represent culture.not by reflection or ideals of civility. and cultivation. wild expanses. refinement. Moorland cannot be cultivated. figures. the moorland transfers its symbolic associations onto the love affair. Correspondingly. As the setting for the beginnings of Catherine and Heathcliff‘s bond (the two play on the moors during childhood).) Thus. chaos has already begun to erupt at Wuthering Heights. On the other hand. and thus infertile. high but somewhat soggy. and often portrays the more civilized characters as despicably weak and silly. At the time of that first meeting between the Linton and Earnshaw households. and its uniformity makes navigation difficult. Brontë tells her story in such a way as to prevent our interest and sympathy from straying too far from the wilder characters. It features particularly waterlogged patches in which people could potentially drown. where Hindley‘s cruelty and injustice reign. convention. (This possibility is mentioned several times in Wuthering Heights. the moors serve very well as symbols of the wild threat posed by nature. the house where they live—Wuthering Heights—comes to symbolize a similar wildness. in Chapter VI. creating a curious reversal of the more traditional story of the corruption of nature by culture.

but she is punished anyway. as they do in most other works of Gothic fiction. Tess does not mean to kill Prince. Mr. but his faith seems shallow and insincere. just as she is unfairly punished for her own rape by Alec. Thus the world of the novel can always be interpreted as a realistic one. For others in their misery. Mrs. but whimsical and uncaring. but the only devout Christian encountered in the novel may be the reverend. Generally. Durbeyfield never mentions otherworldly rewards. When the narrator concludes the novel with the statement that ―‗Justice‘ was done. The converted Alec preaches heavenly justice for earthly sinners.Ghosts Ghosts appear throughout Wuthering Heights. permeating their day-to-day lives. and Tess‘s final rest at Stonehenge at the end. and the way memory stays with people. Christianity teaches that there is compensation in the afterlife for unhappiness suffered in this life. Whether or not the ghosts are ―real. and the President of the Immortals (in the Aeschylean phrase) had ended his sport . Certain ghosts—such as Catherine‘s spirit when it appears to Lockwood in Chapter III—may be explained as nightmares. yet Brontë always presents them in such a way that whether they really exist remains ambiguous.‖ they symbolize the manifestation of the past within the present. Christianity offers little solace of heavenly justice. The Injustice of Existence Unfairness dominates the lives of Tess and her family to such an extent that it begins to seem like a general aspect of human existence in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. but pagan injustice. the moral atmosphere of the novel is not Christian justice at all. The forces that rule human life are absolutely unpredictable and not necessarily well-disposed to us. remind us of a world where the gods are not just and fair. Tess of the d’UrbervillesThemes. The villagers‘ alleged sightings of Heathcliff‘s ghost in Chapter XXXIV could be dismissed as unverified superstition. Nor is there justice waiting in heaven. The preChristian rituals practiced by the farm workers at the opening of the novel. who seems more or less content in his life anyway. Clare. Motifs & Symbols Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

the three main characters in the Angel-Tess-Alec triangle are all strongly marked by confusion regarding their respective social classes. Indubitably the Durbeyfields have purity of blood. cash matters more than lineage. yet for the parson and nearly everyone else in the novel. and their acquaintance would not have been possible if he were a more traditional and elitist aristocrat. this fact amounts to nothing more than a piece of genealogical trivia. with no attention paid to fortune or worldly success. The d‘Urbervilles pass for what the Durbeyfields truly are— authentic nobility—simply because definitions of class have changed. less blatant examples of women‘s passivity toward dominant men. In the Victorian context. Tess‘s friend Retty attempts suicide . is clearly the most serious instance of male domination over a female. But there are other. since it is not really just at all.‖ we are reminded that justice must be put in ironic quotation marks. What passes for ―Justice‖ is in fact one of the pagan gods enjoying a bit of ―sport. by blood alone. When. His willingness to work side by side with the farm laborers helps endear him to Tess. Angel. Sometimes this command is purposeful.with Tess. Thus. after Angel reveals that he prefers Tess. an issue that is one of the main concerns of the novel. in the man‘s full knowledge of his exploitation. is intent on becoming a farmer and marrying a milkmaid. Changing Ideas of Social Class in Victorian England Tess of the d’Urbervilles presents complex pictures of both the importance of social class in nineteenth-century England and the difficulty of defining class in any simple way. The issue of class confusion even affects the Clare clan. Alec‘s act of abuse. Alec‘s father. as when Alec acknowledges how bad he is for seducing Tess for his own momentary pleasure. the most life-altering event that Tess experiences in the novel.‖ or a frivolous game. was smoothly able to use his large fortune to purchase a lustrous family name and transform his clan into the Stoked‘Urbervilles. thus bypassing the traditional privileges of a Cambridge education and a parsonage. Certainly the Durbeyfields are a powerful emblem of the way in which class is no longer evaluated in Victorian times as it would have been in the Middle Ages—that is. which explains how Simon Stokes. Men Dominating Women One of the recurrent themes of the novel is the way in which men can dominate women. exerting a power over them linked primarily to their maleness. whose most promising son.

Mrs. d‘Urberville. their free expressiveness stands in stark contrast to Tess‘s silent and constrained existence as a wronged and disgraced girl. These girls appear utterly dominated by a desire for a man who. Angel substitutes an idealized picture of Tess‘s country purity for the real-life woman that he continually refuses to get to know. or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text‘s major themes. she is surprised to find that the old woman‘s pet finches are frequently released to fly free throughout the room. making us doubt whether these images of hope and freedom are illusory. When Angel calls Tess names like ―Daughter of Nature‖ and ―Artemis. d‘Urberville‘s . which makes their earlier schoolgirl-type crushes on Angel seem disturbing. This pattern of male domination is finally reversed with Tess‘s murder of Alec. contrasts. a woman takes active steps against a man. Even Angel‘s love for Tess.and her friend Marian becomes an alcoholic. Both the Christian dove of peace and the Romantic songbirds of Keats and Shelley. Birds Images of birds recur throughout the novel. When Tess goes to work for Mrs. this act only leads to even greater suppression of a woman by men. does not even realize that they are interested in him. These birds offer images of hope and liberation. dominates her in an unhealthy way. for just a moment.‖ we feel that he may be denying her true self in favor of a mental image that he prefers. Nevertheless. for the first time in the novel. but unhealthy obsession. albeit unknowingly. her identity and experiences are suppressed. Tess occasionally hears birdcalls on her frequent hikes across the countryside. when the crowd of male police officers arrest Tess at Stonehenge. This devotion is not merely fanciful love. Of course. and Tess‘s act seems heroic. lead us to expect that birds will have positive meaning in this novel. Motifs Motifs are recurring structures. the accepted pattern of submissive women bowing to dominant men is interrupted. in which. as pure and gentle as it seems. evoking or contradicting their traditional spiritual association with a higher realm of transcendence. This sort of unconscious male domination of women is perhaps even more unsettling than Alec‘s outward and self-conscious cruelty. Yet there is irony attached to birds as well. Thus. which symbolize sublime heights. we are told explicitly.

the Chase. giving her sexual knowledge in return for her lost innocence. but part of her still believes. Tess knows and accepts that she is a lowly Durbeyfield. This guilt. is the conniving Satan. Variant Names The transformation of the d‘Urbervilles into the Durbeyfields is one example of the common phenomenon of renaming. in the novel. which presumably some servant—perhaps Tess herself—will have to clean. is known in Christian theology as the original sin that all humans have inherited. but rather oppressed and submissive. The roles of Eve and the serpent in paradise are clearly delineated: Angel is the noble Adam newly born. In the end. just as the d‘Urbervilles have devolved into the modern Durbeyfields. suggests how Eve will be chased from Eden for her sins.birds leave little white spots on the upholstery. when Tess encounters the pheasants maimed by hunters and lying in agony. or variant naming. their homelessness evokes the human exile from Eden.‖ and his family is evicted after his death at the end of the novel. which will never be erased. He seduces Tess under a tree. birds no longer seem free. Just as John Durbeyfield is told in Chapter I that ―you don‘t live anywhere. giving the novel a broader metaphysical and philosophical dimension. ―she regarded him as Eve at her second waking might have regarded Adam. as her parents also believe. Original sin suggests that humans have fallen from their once great status to a lower station in life. These pheasants are no Romantic songbirds hovering far above the Earth—they are victims of earthly violence. It is an explanation of how all of us humans—not only Tess—never quite seem to live up to our expectations. just as Alec‘s free enjoyment of Tess‘s body leads her to a lifetime of suffering. The Book of Genesis The Genesis story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is evoked repeatedly throughout Tess of the d’Urbervilles. while Tess is the indecisive and troubled Eve. condemned to suffer down below and never fly again. The very name of the forest where this seduction occurs.‖ to recall the name of a pub in Tess‘s home village—is much more than a social fall.‖ Alec. This Story of the Fall—or of the ―Pure Drop. It may be that freedom for one creature entails hardship for another. and are never able to inhabit the places of grandeur we feel we deserve. When Tess gazes upon Angel in Chapter XXVII. that her . Names matter in this novel. with his open avowal that he is bad to the bone.

Angel‘s father. Symbols Symbols are objects. his lordly and commanding bearing make him seem almost deserving of the name his father has bought. is the extent to which an altered name brings with it an altered identity. is also known as Blackmoor.aristocratic original name should be restored. whether successful or merely imagined. Moreover. but is doomed to a lowly life of physical labor.‖ He imposes a fictional map on a real place. and actually renames himself Sir John. Reality may not be as solid as the names people confer upon it. or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. The question raised by all these cases of name changing. as we are reminded twice in Chapters I and II. but by the end. Prince When Tess dozes off in the wagon and loses control. The death of the horse symbolizes the sacrifice of real-world goods. such as a useful animal or even her own honor. Prince. the resulting death of the Durbeyfield horse. as his tombstone epitaph shows. and indeed Hardy famously renames the southern English countryside as ―Wessex. Tess‘s dream of medieval glory comes true. through excessive fantasizing about a better world. . Prince‘s death occurs right after Tess dreams of ancient knights. Another character who renames himself is Simon Stokes. and with him her family‘s only means of financial sustenance. Tess herself bears a high-class name. figures. Like the horse. spurs Tess to seek aid from the d‘Urbervilles. In an odd way. which is reminiscent of a wound one might receive in a medieval joust. setting the events of the novel in motion. having just heard the news that her family is aristocratic. is a tragic foreshadowing of her own story. Interestingly. when he appears at the d‘Urberville family vault. John Durbeyfield goes a step further than Tess. Hardy‘s interest in name changes makes reality itself seem changeable according to whims of human perspective. the horse is pierced by the forwardjutting piece of metal on a mail coach. Yet her dream of meeting a prince while she kills her own Prince. and its name a potent symbol of Tess‘s own claims to aristocracy. like a spoiled medieval nobleman. with names altered correspondingly. characters. who purchased a family tree and made himself Simon Stoked‘Urberville. Alec acts notoriously ungentlemanly throughout the novel. and her horse dies a heroic death. The horse‘s demise is thus a powerful plot motivator. The village of Blakemore.

Brazil is the country in which Robinson Crusoe made his fortune and it seems to promise a better life far from the humdrum familiar world. it is natural that he meets her in the vault in d‘Urberville Aisle. attaining a kind of personal grandeur even as she brings death to others and to herself. and this lesson helps him reevaluate his disappointment with Tess‘s imperfections. For Angel. indirectly. Even more exotic for a Victorian English reader than America or Australia. Perhaps the secret of the family crypt is that its grandiosity is ultimately meaningless. Since Tess herself moves from passivity to active murder by the end of the novel. His fiasco teaches him that ideals do not exist in life. her failure to incarnate the ideal he expected her to be. Brazil Rather surprising for a novel that seems set so solidly in rural England. When Alec stomps on the floor of the vault. but also forgiveness and acceptance of life in spite of those disappointed ideals. He may be able to milk cows. As Angel‘s name suggests. the d‘Urberville family vault represents both the glory of life and the end of life. despite all his mechanical knowhow in farm management. When Tess is executed. the narration shifts very briefly to Brazil when Angel takes leave of Tess and heads off to establish a career in farming. her own death later. Brazil is thus more than a geographical entity on the map in this novel: it symbolizes a fantasyland. a place where dreams come true. her ancestors are said to snooze on in their crypts. Yet the vault that sounds so glamorous when rhapsodized over by John Durbeyfield in Chapter I seems. but he does not yet know how to tell the difference between an exotic dream and an everyday reality. so inevitably his experience in the imagined dream world of Brazil is a disaster that he barely survives. as if uncaring even about the fate of a member of their own majestic family. he is a lofty visionary who lacks some experience with the real world. by the end. . the double symbolism of the vault makes it a powerful site for the culminating meeting between Alec and Tess. strangely hollow and meaningless. where she reads her own name inscribed in stone and feels the presence of death. Brazil symbolizes the impossibility of ideals. it produces only a hollow echo. as if its basic emptiness is a complement to its visual grandeur. Alec brings Tess both his lofty name and.The d’Urberville Family Vault A double-edged symbol of both the majestic grandeur and the lifeless hollowness of the aristocratic family name that the Durbeyfields learn they possess.

In order to understand this claim fully. which serves as a useful explanation of his philosophy of art. as illustrated in works by writers such as Charles Dickens and George Gissing. while the second acts as something of a road map. The two works of art that dominate the novel— Basil‘s painting and the mysterious yellow book that Lord Henry gives Dorian—are presented in the vein more of Victorian sensibilities than of aesthetic ones. Motifs & Symbols Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Later in the novel. In revising the text the following year. he advocates that all art be ―unconscious. ideal. Basil‘s state of mind while painting Dorian‘s portrait is clear. both the portrait and the French novel serve a purpose: the first acts as a type of mysterious mirror that shows Dorian the physical dissipation his own body has been spared. While we know nothing of the circumstances of the yellow book‘s composition. and . sought to free art from this responsibility. of which Wilde was a major proponent. The aestheticists were motivated as much by a contempt for bourgeois morality—a sensibility embodied in Dorian Gray by Lord Henry. The Victorians believed that art could be used as a tool for social education and moral enlightenment. according to this series of epigrams. is to have no purpose. Wilde included a preface. The Purpose of Art When The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine in 1890. it was decried as immoral. one needs to consider the moral climate of Wilde‘s time and the Victorian sensibility regarding art and morality. leading the young man farther along the path toward infamy. The purpose of art. we must then consider whether his only novel bears it out.The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Themes. whose every word seems designed to shock the ethical certainties of the burgeoning middle class—as they were by the belief that art need not possess any other purpose than being beautiful. If this philosophy informed Wilde‘s life. That is. The aestheticism movement.

as Dorian observes late in the novel.‖ His portrait of Dorian. which perhaps betrays the impossibility of Wilde‘s project. returned to its original form—the novel suggests that the price one must pay for them is exceedingly high. then art. The Supremacy of Youth and Beauty The first principle of aestheticism. Wilde may have succeeded in freeing his art from the confines of Victorian morality. the Duchess of Monmouth suggests to Lord Henry that he places too much value on these things. he experiences the freedom . the imagination orders the chaos of life and invests it with meaning. As Dorian evolves into the realization of a type. Basil‘s initial refusal to exhibit the work results from his belief that it betrays his idolization of his subject. Lord Henry reminds Dorian of as much upon their first meeting. cannot help but mean something. in itself. rare tapestries. Throughout The Picture of Dorian Gray. but he has replaced it with a doctrine that is. in its own way. It is also a means of escaping the brutalities of the world: Dorian distances himself. as indicated by the effect that Basil‘s painting has on the cynical Lord Henry. jewels. Of course. the philosophy of art by which Oscar Wilde lived. For although beauty and youth remain of utmost importance at the end of the novel—the portrait is. indeed.remote. Dorian‘s eventual demise confirms her suspicions. It is a means to revitalize the wearied senses. In Chapter Seventeen. the perfect blend of scholar and socialite. just as restrictive. from the horrors of his actions by devoting himself to the study of beautiful things—music. Lord Henry. Indeed. The Superficial Nature of Society It is no surprise that a society that prizes beauty above all else is a society founded on a love of surfaces. and the polite company they keep is not whether a man is good at heart but rather whether he is handsome. as the fruit of the imagination. is anything but. after all. Dorian gives nothing less than his soul. however. a moral lesson. one might consider that these breaches of aesthetic philosophy mold The Picture of Dorian Gray into something of a cautionary tale: these are the prices that must be paid for insisting that art reveals the artist or a moral lesson. when he laments that Dorian will soon enough lose his most precious attributes. In a society that prizes beauty so highly. beauty reigns. Thus. not to mention his consciousness. But this warning is. What matters most to Dorian. If. youth and physical attractiveness become valuable commodities. is that art serves no other purpose than to offer beauty.

Dorian sets his conscience aside and lives his life according to a single goal: achieving pleasure. society‘s elite question his name and reputation.‖ The Negative Consequences of Influence The painting and the yellow book have a profound effect on Dorian. Basil‘s idolatry of Dorian leads to his murder. influencing him to predominantly immoral behavior over the course of nearly two decades. despite his ―mode of life. On the contrary. abandon his morals without censure. The Picture of Dorian Gray The picture of Dorian Gray.‖ As Lady Narborough notes to Dorian. Motifs Motifs are recurring structures. however. as Basil warns. perhaps. in a novel that prizes individualism—the uncompromised expression of self—that the sacrifice of one‘s self. It is little wonder. ―the most magical of mirrors. there is little (if any) distinction between ethics and appearance: ―you are made to be good—you look so good. leads to one‘s destruction. whether it be to another person or to a work of art. His painted image. and Dorian‘s devotion to Lord Henry‘s hedonism and the yellow book precipitate his own downfall.‖ shows Dorian the physical burdens of age and sin from which he has been spared. asserts itself as his conscience and hounds him with the knowledge of his crimes: there he sees the cruelty he showed to Sibyl Vane and the blood he spilled killing Basil Hallward. Reflecting on Dorian‘s power over Basil and deciding that he would like to seduce Dorian in much the same way.‖ he remains at the heart of the London social scene because of the ―innocence‖ and ―purity of his face. For a time. unavoidable. but the novel ultimately censures the sacrifice of one‘s self to another. Lord Henry points out that there is ―something terribly enthralling in the exercise of influence. and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text‘s major themes.‖ Falling under the sway of such influence is. Indeed. even though. Dorian is never ostracized. Homoerotic Male Relationships .

and Shakespeare. the affection between an older and younger man places one in the tradition of Plato. it has been transformed from the color of innocence to the color of death.The homoerotic bonds between men play a large role in structuring the novel. yet I will make them as white as snow. homosexuality was not a sordid vice but rather a sign of refined culture. It is a quality he now eschews. Wilde asserted this philosophy partially in an attempt to justify his own lifestyle. and. ―the white purity‖ of Dorian‘s boyhood that Lord Henry finds so captivating. For Wilde.‖ But the days of Dorian‘s innocence are over.‖ but the hope is in vain.‖ When the color appears again. as the artist stares in horror at the ruined portrait. he quotes a biblical verse from the Book of Isaiah: ―Though your sins be as scarlet. figures. at the novel‘s end. and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. It is this threatening pall that makes Dorian long. Michelangelo. he demands ―as few white ones as possible. for it returns him to antiquity. tellingly. Basil‘s painting depends upon his adoration of Dorian‘s beauty. when he orders flowers. As he claimed rather romantically during his trial for ―gross indecency‖ between men. This camaraderie between men fits into Wilde‘s larger aesthetic values. The Color White Interestingly. and. Lord Henry is overcome with the desire to seduce Dorian and mold him into the realization of a type. Symbols Symbols are objects. Dorian‘s trajectory from figure of innocence to figure of degradation can be charted by Wilde‘s use of the color white. The Opium Dens . similarly. characters. where an appreciation of youth and beauty was not only fundamental to culture but was also expressed as a physical relationship between men. as it does when Dorian is first introduced. in fact. for his ―rosewhite boyhood. White usually connotes innocence and blankness. in the form of James Vane‘s face— ―like a white handkerchief‖—peering in through a window. Basil invokes whiteness when he learns that Dorian has sacrificed his innocence. It is. and he proves unable to wash away the stains of his sins. As a homosexual living in an intolerant society.

Although he never gives the title. The book represents the profound and damaging influence that art can have over an individual and serves as a warning to those who would surrender themselves so completely to such an influence. Although he has a canister of opium in his home. Still. After killing Basil. located in a remote and derelict section of London.The opium dens. who warns Scrooge of the sins he will have to face. Like the ghost of Jacob Marley in Charles Dickens‘s A Christmas Carol. Wilde saw him as essential to the story. The Yellow Book Lord Henry gives Dorian a copy of the yellow book as a gift. represent the sordid state of Dorian‘s mind. who buys nearly a dozen copies and bases his life and actions on it. he leaves the safety of his neat and proper parlor to travel to the dark dens that reflect the degradation of his soul. he is a rather flat caricature of the avenging relative. The book becomes like holy scripture to Dorian. Tennyson’s Poetry Alfred Lord TennysonThemes. He flees to them at a crucial moment. translated as ―Against the Grain‖ or ―Against Nature‖). Wilde describes the book as a French novel that charts the outrageous experiences of its pleasure-seeking protagonist (we can fairly assume that the book in question is Joris-Karl Huysman‘s decadent nineteenth-century novel À Rebours. Dorian seeks to forget the awfulness of his crimes by losing consciousness in a drug-induced stupor. James Vane James Vane is less a believable character than an embodiment of Dorian‘s tortured conscience. James has an almost spectral quality. Motifs and Symbols Themes The Reconciliation of Religion and Science . As Sibyl‘s brother. adding his character during his revision of 1891. Appearing at the dock and later at Dorian‘s country estate. James appears with his face ―like a white handkerchief‖ to goad Dorian into accepting responsibility for the crimes he has committed.

Tennyson was deeply interested in and troubled by these discoveries. During his time of mourning. the poem affirms both religious faith and faith in human progress.Tennyson lived during a period of great scientific advancement. who looks back on his youthful optimism and faith in progress with scorn and skepticism. In the end. Perhaps because of Tennyson‘s gloomy and tragic childhood. ―Locksley Hall Sixty Years After‖ (1886) takes as its protagonist the speaker from the original ―Locksley Hall. Tennyson rarely wrote and. perseverance and optimism also appear in . There the speaker feels tempted to abandon modern civilization and return to a savage life in the jungle. both written after Hallam‘s death. In the end. the geological study of rock layers used to date the earth. Tennyson struggled through a period of deep despair. These discoveries challenged traditional religious understandings of nature and natural history. and Louis Pasteur. For example. and Darwin‘s theory of evolution and natural selection in 1859. Nevertheless. scientists. The Virtues of Perseverance and Optimism After the death of his friend Arthur Hallam. as illustrated by some of his later work. For most of his career. Tennyson continued to struggle with the reconciliation of science and religion. In the second half of the century. began the experiments and work that would eventually lead to germ theory and our modern understanding of microorganisms and diseases. which he eventually overcame to begin writing again. battled alcoholism. His poem ―Locksley Hall‖ (1842) expresses his ambivalence about technology and scientific progress.‖ but now he is an old man. Many of his poems are about the temptation to give up and fall prey to pessimism. modern life and enthusiastically endorses technology. such as Fülöp Semmelweis. the first sighting of an asteroid in 1801 and galaxies in the 1840s. in 1811. In Memoriam connects the despair Tennyson felt over the loss of his friend Arthur Hallam and the despair he felt when contemplating a godless world. The need to persevere and continue is the central theme of In Memoriam and ―Ulysses‖ (1833). Joseph Lister. but they also extol the virtues of optimism and discuss the importance of struggling on with life. Notable scientific findings and theories of the Victorian period include stratigraphy. he chooses to live a civilized. and he used his poetry to work out the conflict between religious faith and scientific discoveries. for many years.

Tennyson praised England even when not specifically required to do so. which prompted Tennyson to write his greatest literary work. The speaker of ―Break. Poems such as ―The Lady of Shalott‖ (1832. Perhaps the most significant event of his life was the untimely death of his best friend Arthur Hallam at age twenty-two. Although he expressed worry and concern about the corruption that so dominated the nineteenth century. in part. 1842). particularly the chivalrous and capable knights who lived there. Prince Albert. The cavalrymen in ―The Charge of the Light Brigade‖ keep charging through the valley toward the Russian cannons. chivalry. the modern conception of Camelot as the source of loyalty. ―The Charge of the Light Brigade‖ praises the fortitude and courage of English soldiers during a battle of the Crimean War in which roughly 200 men were killed. Indeed. from Tennyson‘s descriptions of it in the Idylls of the King and ―The Lady of Shalott. The Glory of England Tennyson used his poetry to express his love for England. This long poem uses the socalled In Memoriam stanza. Tennyson was required to write poems for specific state occasions and to dedicate verse to Queen Victoria and her husband. or a quatrain that uses iambic tetrameter and has an abba rhyme scheme. such as ―The Lotos-Eaters‖ (1832. In Memoriam. The Lady of Shalott leaves her seclusion to meet the outer world. and romance comes. As poet laureate. The formal consistency expresses Tennyson‘s grief and links the disparate stanzas together into an elegiac whole. even though those destinies end in tragic death. Tennyson glorified England by encouraging a collective English cultural identity: all of England could take pride in Camelot. determined to seek the love that is missing in her life. while the early ―Mariana‖ (1830) features a woman who longs for death after her . tragic death and suicide appear throughout Tennyson‘s poetry. Break‖ (1834) sees death even in sunsets.‖ Motifs Tragic Death Early. Nevertheless. they persevere even as they realize that they will likely die. 1842) and ―The Charge of the Light Brigade‖ (1854) also vary this theme: both poems glorify characters who embrace their destinies in life. In the Idylls of the King. Break. he also wrote many poems that glorify nineteenthcentury England.poetry written before Hallam‘s death.

as does ―The Lotos-Eaters‖ (1832. These poems lyrically mourn those who died tragically. Telemachus.‖ The lady in ―The Lady of Shalott‖ brings about her own death by going out into an autumn storm dressed only in a thin white dress. commenting on Virgil‘s choice of . In poems such as ―The Lotos-Eaters‖ and ―Ulysses. Section 21 of In Memoriam alludes to the 1846 discovery of Neptune. 1842). including the steamships and railways discussed in ―Locksley Hall. ―Ulysses. ―The Kraken‖ (1830).‖ a dramatic monologue spoken by Homer‘s hero. However. Elsewhere Tennyson channels the voice of Tithonus. Rather than grieve.‖ or mention specific plants and flowers. and his poetry manifests this interest in its reliance on scientific language. Other poems praise technological discoveries and inventions. Section 120. in contrast. the traveler says. features the speaker wondering what good science might do in a world full of religious doubt and despair. The Ancient World Like the romantic poets who preceded him. Tennyson found much inspiration in the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome. the speaker should rejoice in the marvelous possibilities of science. in the eponymous poem ―Tithonus‖ (1833. which described the characters of Ulysses. slumbering sea beast. Tennyson slightly alters these mythic stories. and Penelope and their adventures in the ancient world. a traveler tells the speaker not to grieve for his friend. He praises the ancient poet Virgil in his ode ―To Virgil‖ (1882). shifting the time frame of some of the action and often adding more descriptive imagery to the plot.‖ Tennyson retells the stories of Dante and Homer. often finding nobility in their characters or their deaths. Taking metaphors and poetic diction from science allowed Tennyson to connect to his age and to modernize his sometimes antiquarian language and archaic verse forms. 1859). Each of that poem‘s seven stanzas ends with the line ―I would that I were dead. There. which describes an ancient. mentions a ―cell‖ (8) and ―polypi‖ (9). urges readers to carry on and persevere rather than to give up and retire.lover abandons her. Similarly. For instance. the cavalrymen in ―The Charge of the Light Brigade‖ ride to their deaths by charging headlong into the Russian cannons. Scientific Language Tennyson took a great interest in the scientific discoveries of the nineteenth century. a legendary prince from Troy.

a curse would fall upon her. used female characters to symbolize the artistic and sensitive aspects of the human condition. Tennyson. the women themselves create their own . Her waiting limits her ability and desire to do anything else. much as he does when describing King Arthur and his court. our contemporary conception of Camelot as harmonious and magnificent comes from Tennyson‘s poem. Although society might force creative. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert envisioned themselves as latter-day descendents of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. whose death at twenty-two profoundly affected Tennyson. sensitive types to become outcasts. Idylls of the King. Imprisoned women. Symbols King Arthur and Camelot To Tennyson.‖ were set in King Arthur‘s time. about King Arthur‘s rise and fall. Should she leave her prison. act as symbols for the isolation experienced by the artist and other sensitive. ―The Lady of Shalott‖ is likewise about a woman imprisoned. Tennyson rhymes Camelot. Furthermore. In ―Mariana. thereby emphasizing the importance of the mythical place. Indeed. this time in a tower. as does the way she waits for her lover to return. and Arthurian England was England in its best and purest form. such as these Tennyson characters. was one of the major projects of Tennyson‘s late career. Hallam‘s death destroyed his potential and promise. The Imprisoned Woman The imprisoned woman appears throughout Tennyson‘s work. like many other Victorian poets. her isolation imprisons her. Tennyson mined the ancient world to find stories that would simultaneously enthrall and inspire his readers. This idealization allows Tennyson to imagine what might have been in the best possible light. which allowed Tennyson to idealize Hallam. in Tennyson‘s poems.subject matter and lauding his ability to chronicle human history in meter. with Shalott in eighteen of the poem‘s twenty stanzas. deep-feeling people. King Arthur symbolizes the ideal man. the name of King Arthur‘s estate. Some of Tennyson‘s earliest poems. such as ―The Lady of Shalott. But King Arthur also had a more personal representation to Tennyson: the mythic king represents a version of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam.‖ a woman abandoned by her lover lives alone in her house in the middle of desolate country. and their praise helped popularize the long poem.

Match‘d with an aged wife. both with those That loved me. and vile it were For some three suns to store and hoard myself. By this still hearth. How dull it is to pause. and feed. something more. governments.isolation and imprisonment. and alone. I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race. and when Thro‘ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades Vext the dim sea: I am become a name. among these barren crags. Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. and know not me. I cannot rest from travel: I will drink Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy‘d Greatly. but honour‘d of them all. have suffer‘d greatly. councils. Myself not least. not to shine in use! As tho‘ to breathe were life! Life piled on life Were all too little. . These women seem unable or unwilling to deal with the outside world. and sleep. Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. And this gray spirit yearning in desire To follow knowledge like a sinking star. That hoard. climates. A bringer of new things. I am a part of all that I have met. “Ulysses” Complete Text It little profits that an idle king. Yet all experience is an arch wherethro‘ Gleams that untravell‘d world whose margin fades For ever and forever when I move. to make an end. on shore. To rust unburnish‘d. cities of men And manners. and of one to me Little remains: but every hour is saved From that eternal silence. For always roaming with a hungry heart Much have I seen and known. And drunk delight of battle with my peers.

Made weak by time and fate. My mariners. He works his work. much abides. and not to yield. Most blameless is he. Tho‘ much is taken. discerning to fulfil This labour. by slow prudence to make mild A rugged people. and pay Meet adoration to my household gods. and thought with me— That ever with a frolic welcome took The thunder and the sunshine. Death closes all: but something ere the end. When I am gone. for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset. The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep Moans round with many voices. and opposed Free hearts. and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows. There lies the port. the vessel puffs her sail: There gloom the dark. mine own Telemachus. free foreheads—you and I are old. To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle. Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. broad seas. until I die. Old age hath yet his honour and his toil. ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. to find. that which we are. and the baths Of all the western stars. may yet be done. centred in the sphere Of common duties. One equal temper of heroic hearts. I mine. and tho‘ We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven. my friends. decent not to fail In offices of tenderness. we are. And see the great Achilles. Push off. and wrought. Souls that have toil‘d. . It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles. Come.— Well-loved of me.This is my son. but strong in will To strive. and thro‘ soft degrees Subdue them to the useful and the good. Some work of noble note. whom we knew. to seek.

and weathered life‘s storms over many years. Ulysses declares that his travels and encounters have shaped who he is: ―I am a part of all that I have met. He has enjoyed all his experiences as a sailor who travels the seas. They have also exposed him to the ―delight of battle‖ while fighting the Trojan War with his men. I mine. who will act as his successor while the great hero resumes his travels: he says. dedication. And it is only when he is traveling that the ―margin‖ of the globe that he has not yet traversed shrink and fade. and devotion to the gods. doling out rewards and punishments for the unnamed masses who live in his kingdom. and he longs to encounter this. to stay in one place is to pretend that all there is to life is the simple act of breathing. they still have the potential to do something noble and honorable before ―the long day wanes.‖ In the final stanza.‖ he asserts. His spirit yearns constantly for new experiences that will broaden his horizons. Telemachus will do his work of governing the island while Ulysses will do his work of traveling the seas: ―He works his work.Summary Ulysses (Odysseus) declares that there is little point in his staying home ―by this still hearth‖ with his old wife. and he considers himself a symbol for everyone who wanders and roams the earth. His travels have exposed him to many different types of people and ways of living. he wishes ―to follow knowledge like a sinking star‖ and forever grow in wisdom and in learning. Still speaking to himself he proclaims that he ―cannot rest from travel‖ but feels compelled to live to the fullest and swallow every last drop of life. traveled.‖ He declares that his goal is to sail onward ―beyond the sunset‖ until . praising his prudence. Ulysses addresses the mariners with whom he has worked. mine own Telemachus. He declares that although he and they are old. whereas he knows that in fact life contains much novelty. ―This is my son. Ulysses now speaks to an unidentified audience concerning his son Telemachus. to whom I leave the scepter and the isle. Ulysses declares that it is boring to stay in one place. and cease to goad him. and that to remain stationary is to rust rather than to shine.‖ He speaks highly but also patronizingly of his son‘s capabilities as a ruler.‖ He encourages them to make use of their old age because ― ‘tis not too late to seek a newer world.

However. for it was composed in the first few weeks after Tennyson learned of the death of his dear college friend Arthur Henry Hallam in 1833.his death. of the lines. this poem also concerns the poet‘s own personal journey.‖ or the paradise of perpetual summer described in Greek mythology where great heroes like the warrior Achilles were believed to have been taken after their deaths. Homer‘s Ulysses. they may even reach the ―Happy Isles. rather than the end. Although Ulysses and his mariners are not as strong as they were in youth. Tennyson combines these two accounts by having Ulysses make his speech shortly after returning to Ithaca and resuming his administrative responsibilities. which serves to impart a fluid and natural quality to Ulysses‘s speech. The details of this sea voyage are described by Dante in Canto XXVI of the Inferno: Ulysses finds himself restless in Ithaca and driven by ―the longing I had to gain experience of the world. Tennyson reworks the figure of Ulysses by drawing on the ancient hero of Homer‘s Odyssey (―Ulysses‖ is the Roman form of the Greek ―Odysseus‖) and the medieval hero of Dante‘s Inferno. Perhaps. . they are ―strong in will‖ and are sustained by their resolve to push onward relentlessly: ―To strive.‖ Dante‘s Ulysses is a tragic figure who dies while sailing too far in an insatiable thirst for knowledge. each of which comprises a distinct thematic unit of the poem. The use of enjambment is appropriate in a poem about pushing forward ―beyond the utmost bound of human thought. to seek. Commentary In this poem. whose identity is revealed by his own words. Like In Memoriam. and not to yield. learns from a prophecy that he will take a final sea voyage after killing the suitors of his wife Penelope. the sentences often end in the middle. to find. or unrhymed iambic pentameter. and shortly before embarking on his final voyage.‖ Finally. he suggests. the poem is divided into four paragraph-like sections. Many of the lines are enjambed. The lines are in blank verse. as described in Scroll XI of the Odyssey. written in 1833 and revised for publication in 1842. which means that a thought does not end with the line-break.‖ Form This poem is written as a dramatic monologue: the entire poem is spoken by a single character.

proclaims his resolution to push onward in spite of the awareness that ―death closes all‖ (line 51). Ulysses is the antithesis of the mariners in ―The LotosEaters. He devotes a full 26 lines to his own egotistical proclamation of his zeal for the wandering life. Like the Lady of Shallot. Ulysses ―cannot rest from travel‖ and longs to roam the globe (line 6). here the character of the speaker emerges almost unintentionally from his own words. Ulysses. The poem‘s final line. Thus for Tennyson‘s immediate audience. and not to yield. to find. In contrast. Tithonius . as such. As Tennyson himself stated. to seek. but stood as an important contemporary cultural icon as well.then.‖ who proclaim ―we will no longer roam‖ and desire only to relax amidst the Lotos fields. the poem expresses his own ―need of going forward and braving the struggle of life‖ after the loss of his beloved Hallam. ―Ulysses. and a mere two words about his ―aged wife‖ Penelope. the figure of Ulysses held not only mythological meaning. However. who longs for the worldly experiences she has been denied. Ulysses‘ incompetence as a ruler is evidenced by his preference for potential quests rather than his present responsibilities. this poem is also an elegy for a deeply cherished friend. he was a model of individual selfassertion and the Romantic rebellion against bourgeois conformity. and another 26 lines to the exhortation of his mariners to roam the seas with him. As in all dramatic monologues. the speaker‘s own words betray his abdication of responsibility and his specificity of purpose. who symbolizes the grieving poet. and the baths of all the western stars‖ (lines 60–61). deals with the desire to reach beyond the limits of one‘s field of vision and the mundane details of everyday life. he offers only 11 lines of lukewarm praise to his son concerning the governance of the kingdom in his absence. Ulysses hungers to explore the untraveled world. Thus.‖ came to serve as a motto for the poet‘s Victorian contemporaries: the poem‘s hero longs to flee the tedium of daily life ―among these barren crags‖ (line 2) and to enter a mythical dimension ―beyond the sunset.‖ like many of Tennyson‘s other poems. ―to strive.

telling her that she always grows beautiful and then leaves before she can answer his request. Tithonus catches sight of the ―dark world‖ where he was born a mortal. He remembers that he long ago asked Aurora to grant him eternal life: ―Give me immortality!‖ Aurora granted his wish generously. Now. the dawn: her cheek begins to turn red and her eyes grow so bright that they overpower the light of the stars. goddess of the dawn. and he must dwell in the presence of Aurora. Tithonus asks Aurora not to keep him imprisoned in the east where she rises anew each morning. the goddesses who accompany Aurora. Yet the speaker. He witnesses the coming of Aurora. Tithonus appeals to Aurora to take back the gift of immortality while the ―silver star‖ of Venus rises in the morning. is cursed to live forever.‖ Tithonus sighs and remembers his youth long ago. The poet now addresses Aurora. works the earth. who renews herself each morning and is thus forever young. because his eternal old age contrasts so painfully with .‖ the normal human lifespan. Tithonus laments that while he is now a ―gray shadow‖ he was once a beautiful man chosen as Aurora‘s lover. like the music of Apollo‘s lyre. when he would watch the arrival of the dawn and feel his whole body come alive as he lay down and enjoyed the kisses of another. were angry that Tithonus was able to resist death. He now realizes the ruin in desiring to be different from all the rest of mankind and in living beyond the ―goal of ordinance. which accompanied the construction of Ilion (Troy). like a rich philanthropist who has so much money that he gives charity without thinking twice. Just before the sun rises. he remains forever old. so they took their revenge by battering him until he grew old and withered. However. the Hours. Aurora‘s team of horses awakes and converts the twilight into fire. Man is born. He questions why she must ―scare‖ him with her tearful look of silent regret. This lover from his youth used to whisper to him ―wild and sweet‖ melodies. her look makes him fear that an old saying might be true—that ―The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts. though he cannot die. that he grows old slowly in her arms like a ―white-hair‘d shadow‖ roaming in the east. and then dies and is buried underground. Tithonus tells Aurora. Tithonus.Summary The woods in the forests grow old and their leaves fall to the ground.

Tithonus asks Aurora to release him and let him die. not Aurora. According to myth. King of Troy. The source of suffering in the poem is not Aurora‘s forgetfulness in formulating her request to Zeus. she can see his grave when she rises and he. Tithonus is the brother of Priam. Tithonus is a figure from Greek mythology whom Tennyson takes as a speaker in one of his dramatic monologues (see the section on ―Ulysses‖). The poem as a whole falls into seven paragraph-like sections of varying length. the immortal goddess of the dawn. The lines take the form of blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter). whereas she rises each morning to warm ―happy men that have the power to die‖ and men who are already dead in their burial mounds (―grassy barrows‖). In this poem. who confers this gift upon him. This way. Form This poem is a dramatic monologue: the entire text is spoken by a single character whose words reveal his identity. Commentary Like Ulysses. buried in the earth. each of which forms a thematic unit unto itself. Aurora finally transformed him into a grasshopper to relieve him of his sad existence. who asks for immortality. who had a habit of carrying off the beautiful young men whom she fancied. and her return ―on silver wheels‖ that stings him each morning. and was loved by Aurora.her eternal renewal. not Zeus. which Zeus did. and it is Aurora.‖ which here dies after many summers was not a . The 1833 version contained several significant differences from the version we know today: the poem began not with a repetition but with the lament ―Ay me! ay me! The woods decay and fall‖. will be able to forget the emptiness of his present state. she forgot to ask that he also grant eternal youth. the ―swan. so Tithonus soon became a decrepit old man who could not die. He cringes cold and wrinkled. it is Tithonus. However. Aurora abducted Tithonus and asked Zeus to grant him immortality. but rather the goddesses referred to as ―strong Hours‖ who resent Tithonus‘s immortality and subject him to the ravages of time. Tennyson slightly alters the mythological story: here. and then completed the final version for publication in 1859 in the Cornhill Magazine edited by William Makepeace Thackeray. Tennyson wrote the first version of this poem as ―Tithon‖ in 1833.

or companion poem. Tennyson‘s fiancée: Sellwood lamented that unlike the Hallams.‖ The 1833 poem was initially conceived as a pendant. Eliot's father. these maternal aunts provided the character models for the aunts in the novel. Eliot was disorderly and energetic and did not fit traditional models of feminine beauty or behavior.. Tennyson developed the idea for a poem about these themes of age and mortality after hearing a remark by Emily Sellwood. The Mill on the Floss: Introduction The Mill on the Floss. ―None of the Tennysons ever die.‖ Appropriately. ―Tithonus‖ represents the realization of this danger.‖ ―Ulysses‖ alludes to the danger that fulfillment may bring—‖It may be that the gulfs will wash us down‖.. who was three years older than Eliot.swan but a ―rose‖. to ―Ulysses. and self-satisfied. causing her family a great deal of consternation.‖ This poem was one of a set of four works (also including ―Morte d‘Arthur. like Mr. published in 1860. whose sisters were rich. What are the major differences between Victorian and Modernist literature? The main difference between Victorian and Modern literature is what Hegel referred to as "The onward march of human progress". is based partially on Eliot's own experiences with her family and her brother Isaac. ultra-respectable. The Victorians believed that humanity was headed toward a. questions why any man should want ―to pass beyond the goal of ordinance where all should pause‖ (lines 30-31). in contrast. Whereas Hallam was granted youth without immortality. Tennyson drew upon a timeless figure: the figure of Tithonus is eternally old because he lives on forever as an old man in the popular imagination. . Tithonus is granted immortality without youth.‖ ―Ulysses.‖ and ―Tiresias‖) that Tennyson wrote shortly after Arthur Henry Hallam‘s death in 1833. Tithonus. ―Tithonus‖ thus serves as an appropriate thematic follow-up to ―Ulysses. and immortality was described as ―fatal‖ rather than ―cruel. Tulliver in the novel. For the character of Tithonus achieves that which Ulysses longs for and finds himself bitterly disappointed: Ulysses wanted to sail ―beyond the sunset‖ because he sensed ―how dull it is to pause‖. in depicting the futility of eternal life without youth. Like Maggie. was a businessman who had married a woman from a higher social class.

The narrator reminisces about a February many years ago and begins to tell the story of the Tulliver family. is quick to defend Tom. Mr. as he does not want Tom to grow up and take the mill away from him. Eliot drew on her own experiences with a once-beloved but rigid and controlling brother to depict the relationship between Maggie and her brother Tom. Riley. The two parents discuss their other child. Maggie. Her mother is bothered by the fact that Maggie is nothing like her and by the fact that she is much smarter than a woman "should" be. Tulliver . hearing this. Maggie comes to tea late with her hair mussed up. True to her nature. who says that he wants Tom to have an education but that it should be in a different field from his own. who is the fifth generation in his family to own and run Dorlcote Mill on the River Floss. who takes after her father. Tulliver. a surprising choice for a young girl. She is as dark as Tom is fair and is clever but headstrong." His wife advises him to ask her wealthier sisters and their husbands for their opinion. but Tulliver says he will do whatever he wants. who is somewhat educated. and it was scathingly criticized because it did not present a clear drama of right and wrong. or an auctioneer…or one of them smartish businesses as are all profit and no outlay. near the town of St. who was very close to her in childhood but who had become estranged from her when he found out about her life with Lewes. and when her mother urges her to do patchwork. However. tells his wife that he will send his son Tom to a school where Tom can learn to be an "engineer.By the time Eliot published The Mill on the Floss. Social disapproval of her actions spilled over into commentary on the novel. or a surveyor. uninterested in her appearance and in social niceties. though separated from his wife. Perhaps the most offended reader was Eliot's brother Isaac. Riley visits Tulliver. an auctioneer. he does decide to ask Mr. Ogg's and the River Floss. The Mill on the Floss Summary Book 1: Boy and Girl The novel begins with a description of the rural area where the action takes place. and she distractedly drops the book she has been reading. The History of the Devil. she had gained considerable notoriety as an "immoral woman" because she was living with the writer George Henry Lewes. Maggie. In the book. he communicated with her only through his lawyer. who was married. for his opinion. she refuses.

This teacher is Reverend Walter Stelling. and her delight in depicting strong and wayward feelings" to the work of Charlotte Brontë. but when she begins to discuss the devil. They have an illustration of the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son in their home. and they have all died.. she dunks her freshly brushed hair in water and then beats up a doll she keeps in the attic.. According to this reviewer. she heads out to talk to Luke. in comparison to Eliot's earlier novel Adam Bede. and she is fascinated with it and happy that his father. [she has] invented or." The reviewer also compared Eliot's "minuteness of painting and a certain archness of style" to the work of Jane Austen and the "wide scope of her remarks. Riley advises Tulliver to send Tom to the son-in-law of a businessman he knows. Maggie discusses the book with them. Eliot's greatest achievement in the novel is that "for the first time in fiction. Just as . "shows no falling off nor any exhaustion of power.explains to Riley that he bought the book without knowing what it was about. » Complete The Mill on the Floss Summary In an 1860 issue of the Saturday Review. but Maggie is not allowed to go out and meet him. He tells Riley that he chose her as a wife for this very reason. He tells Riley that she is too smart for a woman—unlike her mother. a reviewer commented that The Mill on the Floss. Early novels in English A number of works of literature have each been claimed as the first novel in English.. Angered. both imagined almostsupernatural forces operating in nature or directing human fate. The Romantic and the Gothic novel are closely related.. Romantic novel The Romantic period saw the first flowering of the English novel. This upsets her. who is not noted for her intelligence. because it had an interesting cover. Tom is coming home from his current school. See the article First novel in English. He is not interested in her clever talk and reminds her that she has forgotten to feed and water Tom's rabbits while he was gone. Tulliver tells her to leave the room. Bored. Riley offers to contact Stelling for Tulliver and says that Stelling can teach Tom anything he needs to know. the miller. but she forgets about it when Luke invites her to visit his wife.

who influenced Charles Dickens. and The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753). reminding readers of the moral issues raised by today's medicine. Virtue Rewarded (1740). Frankenstein's chilling tale suggests modern organ transplants and tissue regeneration. Henry Fielding's Tom Jones is considered a comic masterpiece. and The Monk (1796). One of the major early works in this genre was the seminal castaway novel Robinson Crusoe. Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813) is often considered the epitome of the romance genre. Mary Shelley is best known for her novel Frankenstein (1818). and some of her other works include. Her most popular and influential work. The Castle of Otranto. Sense and Sensibility. Novels written for this audience were often heavily didactic and. especially marriage and money. is frequently cited as the archetypal Gothic novel. The 18th century novel tended to be loosely structured and semi-comic. Samuel Richardson is known for his three epistolary novels: Pamela: Or. The English novel developed during the 18th century. novels were considered light reading for young. like earlier English literature. Persuasion and Emma. by Daniel Defoe. by William Beckford. The pioneering Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe introduced the brooding figure of the Gothic villain which developed into the Byronic hero. Samuel Johnson. Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (1748). single women. by Matthew Lewis. . were further notable early works in both the Gothic and horror literary genres. seen from a woman's point of view. and wryly focused on practical social issues. and Tobias Smollett.[1] Jane Austen wrote highly polished novels about the life of the landed gentry. infusing elements of the Gothic novel and Romantic movement. Mansfield Park. Novelists from the mid to late 18th century include Laurence Sterne. Horace Walpole's 1764 novel. invented the Gothic fiction genre. and Ann Radcliffe were key to the sudden popularity of the Gothic novel. so Mary Shelley. Vathek (1786). combining elements of horror and romance. For many years.William Wordsworth and other poets were integral to the growth of English Romanticism. The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). partly in response to an expansion of the middle-class reading public. attempted to provide examples of correct conduct.

Another major influence on vampire fiction is Varney the Vampire (1845). who loathes his condition but is a slave to it. The festive tale A Christmas Carol he called his "little Christmas book". and The Heart of Midlothian. Most writers were now more concerned to meet the tastes of a large middle class reading public than to please aristocratic patrons. where many standard vampire conventions originated — Varney has fangs. dominated the market. Most Victorian novels were long and closely wrought. Great Expectations is a quest for . This social life was largely informed by the development of the emerging middle class and the manners and expectations of this class. accessible to readers of all classes. Dickens wrote vividly about London life and struggles of the poor. as opposed to the aristocrat forms dominating previous ages. The 1830s saw a resurgence of the social novel. Victorian novel It was in the Victorian era (1837–1901) that the novel became the leading form of literature in English. Varney was also the first example of the "sympathetic vampire". His short story was inspired by the life of Lord Byron and his poem The Giaour. but in a good-humoured fashion. full of intricate language. including The Antiquary. fashionable novels depicting the lives of the upper class in an indiscreet manner. romans à clef. confirming the trend for serial publication.Sir Walter Scott popularized the historical novel with his series of "Waverley Novels". Ivanhoe. their close representation to the real social life of the age. but the dominant feature of Victorian novels might be their verisimilitude. John William Polidori wrote "The Vampyre" (1819). where sensationalized accounts and stories of the working class poor were directed toward middle class audiences to incite sympathy and action towards pushing for legal and moral change. identifying the real people on whom the characters were based.[2] From the mid-1820s until the 1840s. leaves two puncture wounds on the neck of his victims. Charles Dickens emerged on the literary scene in the 1830s. in books such as Oliver Twist. creating the literary vampire genre. that is. and has hypnotic powers and superhuman strength. Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South contrasts the lifestyle in the industrial north of England with the wealthier south.

while later seeming to exclaim "Dear Reader!" and inform or remind the reader of some other relevant issue. An interest in rural matters and the changing social and economic situation of the countryside is seen in the novels of Thomas Hardy and others. and are frequently held in the highest regard for their combination of high Victorian literary detail combined with an intellectual breadth that removes them from the narrow geographic confines they often depict. the history of the modern fantasy genre is generally said to begin with George MacDonald. is generally considered the first detective novel in the English language. H. influential author of The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes (1858). but continued to display his genius for caricature. like Jules Verne. The War of the Worlds (1898). has been referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction". The Woman in White is regarded as one of the finest sensation novels. William Makepeace Thackeray satirised British society in Vanity Fair (1847). Key to Victorian style is the concept of the intrusive narrator and the address to the reader. who. and Anne's Agnes Grey were released in 1847 after their search to secure publishers. Wells. describing an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians using tripod fighting machines equipped with advanced weaponry. Later his works became darker. William Morris was a popular English poet who wrote several fantasy novels during the latter part of the nineteenth century. For example. The novels of George Eliot.maturity. invented a number of themes that are now classic in the science fiction genre. Emily's Wuthering Heights. Dickens' early works are masterpieces of comedy. such as The Pickwick Papers. G. Although pre-dated by John Ruskin's The King of the Golden River in 1841. is a seminal depiction of an alien . while Anthony Trollope's novels portrayed the lives of the landowning and professional classes of early Victorian England. such as Middlemarch. the author might interrupt his/her narrative to pass judgment on a character. The emotionally powerful works of the Brontë sisters: Charlotte's Jane Eyre. A Tale of Two Cities is set in London and Paris in the time of the French Revolution. or pity or praise another. Wilkie Collins' epistolary novel The Moonstone (1868). were a milestone of literary realism.

Virginia Woolf. There followed The Rainbow (1915). H. is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. The term "time machine". individual chapters or sections appearing in subsequent journal issues. H.invasion of Earth. and a major stylistic innovator associated with the stream-of-consciousness technique. Orlando (1928). M. The Time Machine is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. reflected challenges to imperialism. "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction". She is also known for the famous dictum. while his earlier works such as A Room with a View and . which helps account for the popularity of the three-volume novel during this period. and its sequel Women in Love (1920). Wodehouse D. Authors publishing serially were often paid by the installment. is widely regarded as his earliest masterpiece. whether it be a plot twist or a new character. C. Her novels include Mrs Dalloway (1925).[3] E. E. Virginia Woolf was an influential feminist. so as to maintain the reader's interest. Lawrence wrote with understanding about the social life of the lower and middle classes. [edit] Serial novel Many novels of the Victorian period were published in serial form. from her 1929 essay. Lawrence attempted to explore human emotions more deeply than his contemporaries and challenged the boundaries of the acceptable treatment of sexual issues. Sons and Lovers (1913). S. In part for these reasons. novels are made up of a variety of plots and a large number of characters. M. Lawrence. A Room of One's Own. and the personal lives of those who could not adapt to the social norms of his time. coined by Wells. Forster. [edit] 20th century Important novelists of the early 20th century include D. demand was high for each new appearance of the novel to introduce some new element. and The Waves (1931). As such. Forster's A Passage to India (1924). To the Lighthouse (1927). that is. Forester and P. most notably in Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928). appearing and reappearing as events dictate. G.

particularly those featuring the detectives Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. His works. a mystery novel. whose novels include The Forsyte Saga. Lord of the Flies (1954). Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage. posits that culture created by man fails. continued in the interwar period. .Howards End examined Edwardian society in England. Evelyn Waugh satirised the "bright young things" of the 1920s and 1930s. Agatha Christie was a crime writer of novels. Aldous Huxley's futuristic novel Brave New World (1932) envisions developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. best remembered for her 80 detective novels and her successful West End theatre plays. have given her the title the "Queen of Crime" and made her one of the most important and innovative writers in the development of the genre. Brighton Rock. short stories and plays. author of The Old Wives' Tale. while his magnum opus Brideshead Revisited (1945). and Arnold Bennett. Christie's novels include Murder on the Orient Express (1934). include four Catholic novels. and uses as an example a group of British schoolboys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves. is a strongly autobiographical novel that is generally agreed to be his masterpiece. Christie's works. Another popular writer during the Golden Age of detective fiction was Dorothy L. notable for achieving both serious literary acclaim and broad popularity. The novelist Georgette Heyer created the historical romance genre. and And Then There Were None (1939). Sayers. The popularity of novelists who wrote in a more traditional style. Graham Greene's works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Death on the Nile (1937). The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair. in 1938. deals with theology. Robert Graves is best known for his 1934 novel I Claudius. Daphne Du Maurier wrote Rebecca. The Power and the Glory. with disastrous results. such as Nobel Prize laureate John Galsworthy. notably in A Handful of Dust. W. Nobel Prize laureate William Golding's allegorical novel.

Buildungsroman   An Introduction Buildungsroman in E. C. Burgess creates a new speech in his novel (Nadsat) that is the teenage slang of the not-too-distant future. Swift Children's Literature  An Historical Introduction The Condition-of-England Novel     Introduction Thomas Carlyle and the Origin of the ―Condition of England Question‖ Benjamin Disraeli and the Two Nation Divide Shirley As a Condition-of-England Novel The Detective Novel   Detective Novels: Whodunits and Thrillers Materials on Sherlock Holmes The Epistolary Novel      Trollope's use of letters Subjective response to letters in nineteenth-century fictions Letters and dialogue in drama Epistolary novels and psychological action Epistolary fiction — a bibliographical note The Fantasy Novel and Short Story     Lewis Carroll Lord Dunsany William Hope Hodgson Charles Kingsley . B. and G. Browning.Anthony Burgess's dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange (1962) displays government's control of an individual's free will through the use of a classical conditioning technique. Dickens.

British Political Novels The Victorian Novel of Inter-class Romance The Victorian Social Novel as Genre Structure and Technique in the Victorian Political Novel The Sensation Novel     Introduction Hardy and the Sensation Novel The Victorian Custody Novel Selected Bibliography Science Fiction  Richard Jefferies and Victorian Science Fiction The Silver Fork School   Introduction Bibliography .        George MacDonald George Meredith William Morris John Ruskin Bram Stoker The Invented World in the Works of William Morris Realism in High Fantasy The Novel. and the Inner World Gothic Fiction  Women Fiction Writers and the Victorian Gothic: A Selective Bibliography The Political Novel        The Genre of the Political Novel Didacticism and the Political Novel Morris Edmund Speare on Inclusiveness in the Political Novel American vs. Fantastic Fiction.

Local Color.The Slum Novel    Introduction Bibliography of primary sources Bibliography of criticism an scholarship The Utopian Novel   Homesick in Utopia: State Capitalism and Pathology in Novels of the 1880s and 1890s Science and Technology in Victorian Utopias The Victorian Governess Novel     Introduction Characteristics of the Genre The Victorian Governess: A Bibliography Punch and Brontë on Training the Ideal Governess The New Woman Novel    Introduction Primary Sources Secondary Sources • Realism. The Romantic Novel Romanticism is a movement in art and literature that began in Europe in the late 18th century and was most influential in the first half of the 19th century. . and Naturalism • Major 19th Century American Novelists • Keep in mind that eras in literary history are not fixed and that novelists writing in one era may have more in common with the novelists of another era. Also note that my emphasis here is on the novel in English.

EMILY BRONTE (1818-48) Bronte's major work Wuthering Heights (1847) is full of Gothic elements. One strain of the Romantic is the Gothic with its emphasis on tales of horror and the supernatural. JAMES FENIMORE COOPER (1789-1851) Cooper's most popular novels of the frontier feature Natty Bumpo. Major Works:   The Last of the Mohicans (1826) The Deerslayer (1841) NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804-64) .Romanticism fosters a return to nature and also values the imagination over reason and emotion over intellect. a man at one with nature. Major Romantic Novelists CHARLOTTE BRONTE (1816-55) Bronte's major novel Jane Eyre (1847) is the model for countless novels featuring governesses and mysterious strangers.

His most famous novels feature elements of the Romantic and the Gothic. Earlier in the century Sir Walter Scott had created a large novel-reading public and had made the novel respectable. The novel is the most distinctive and lasting literary achievement of Victorian literature. His masterwork Moby Dick (1851) is a study in obsession and its consequences as well as an exploration of the nature of evil.Hawthorne's novels are marked by his obsession with his Puritan ancestors and with the issue of guilt. The Victorian Novel The Victorian Age is marked roughly by the reign of Queen Victoria of England from 1837-1901. Major Works:   The Scarlet Letter (1850) The House of the Seven Gables (1851) HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-91) Melville's novels are about the sea and seamen. The publication of novels in monthly installments enabled even the poor to purchase them The novelists of the Victorian era:      accepted middle class values treated the problem of the individual's adjustment to his society emphasized well-rounded middle-class characters portrayed the hero as a rational man of virtue believed that human nature is fundamentally good and lapses are errors of judgment corrected by maturation . He had also strengthened the tradition of the 3-volume novel. The Victorian reading public firmly established the novel as the dominant literary form of the era.

suspense. most popular Christmas story in the English speaking world David Copperfield (1849-50). melodrama. Major Victorian Novelists CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870) Dickens was the most successful of the English Victorian novelists. We admire Dickens for his:    fertility of character creation depiction of childhood and youth comic creations Major Works:   A Christmas Carol (1843). pathos (deathbed scenes) moral earnestness and wholesomeness. the practice of issuing novels in serial installments led novelists to become adept at subclimaxes. including crusades against social evils and self-censorship to acknowledge the standard morality of the times.The Victorian novel appealed to readers because of its:       realism impulse to describe the everyday world the reader could recognize introduction of characters who were blends of virtue and vice attempts to display the natural growth of personality expressions of emotion: love. The Victorian novel featured several developments in narrative technique:    full description and exposition authorial essays multiplotting featuring several central characters Furthermore. humor. a master of sentiment and a militant reformer. essentially autobiographical and Dickens' own favorite novel .

. a love triangle set in pre-industrial agricultural England Silas Marner (1861). In Eliot's novels plot did not need to depend upon external complications. Major Works:    Adam Bede (1859). a creator of psychological fiction. the Evangelical movement. He excelled at portraying his own upper middle class social stratum. the first Dickens novel with a carefully-knit plot WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY (1811-63) Thackeray's chief subject is the contrast between human pretensions and human weakness. it could rise from a character's internal groping toward knowledge and choice. She is known for her penetrating character analyses and convincingly realistic scenes. Bleak House (1852-3). His major work is Vanity Fair (1847). the story of a city during the agitated era of 1832 reforms. the first English novel concerned with the intellectual life. the nearest thing to a perfect George Eliot novel with a plot about a miser who adopts a foundling and the theme of the regenerative power of humanity and love Middlemarch (1871-72). and the new scientific outlook THOMAS HARDY (1840-1920) The characteristic Victorian novelist such as Dickens or Thackeray was concerned with the behavior and problems of people in a given social milieu which he described in detail. the Industrial Revolution. GEORGE ELIOT (MARY ANN EVANS) (1819-88) Eliot is considered to be the first modern novelist.

Other Victorian Novelists of Note WILKIE COLLINS(1824-89) Collins is considered the father of the modern detective novel. He felt that man was an alien in an impersonal universe and at the mercy of sheer chance. the novel which G. Major Works:   The Woman in White (1860) The Moonstone (1868).Thomas Hardy preferred to go directly for the elemental in human behavior with a minimum of contemporary social detail. Major Works:   Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). which remains one of the best-loved children's books in the English speaking world Through the Looking-Glass (1871) Realism. Local Color. Though readers assume he is a pessimist he called himself a meliorist. yearning hopefully for a better world.K Chesterton termed "probably the best detective story in the world" LEWIS CARROLL (CHARLES LUTWIDGE DODGSON) (1832-98) A mathematician. and Naturalism . Major Works:   Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) Jude the Obscure (1895) The revolt in Jude the Obscure against indissoluble Victorian marriage (of Jude to Arabella and Sue Bridehead to Phillotson) aroused such a storm of protest over its religious pessimism and sex themes that Hardy turned thereafter exclusively to poetry. Carroll sublimated his anti-Victorianism in his writing.

Naturalism. . As the major Romantic writers such as Hawthorne and Melville died or stopped writing for publication.In the United States the latter half of the 19th century was marked by recovery from the Civil War. the movement from rural areas to the cities. trained initially as journalists. rejected romanticism and insisted that the ordinary and the local were suitable subjects for artistic portrayal. naturalistic novelists portrayed characters of low social and economic class shaped by environment and heredity and moved by animal passions. This philosophical realism gradually became increasingly pessimistic and deterministic as seen by the later works of Mark Twain. environmental forces. Protest movements--led by unions or blacks or feminists--challenged the status quo. custom. and Theodore Dreiser One group of writers championed local color writing. outweigh or overwhelm human agency. an amalgam of romanticism and realism with romantic plots coupled with a realistic portrayal of the dialects." As the realists rejected romantic idealism and dependence on established moral truths they began to present subtleties of human personality and characters who were neither wholly good nor wholly bad. and the rise of industrialism and business. is generally described as a new and harsher realism. whether of nature or the city. which gained popularity near the end of the 19th century. It resulted from the desire both to preserve distinctive ways of life before industrialization dispersed or homogenized them and to come to terms with the harsh realities that seemed to replace these early times. a new breed of novelists. the individual can exert little or no control over events. Stephen Crane. and sights of regional America. Realists had what Henry James called "a powerful impulse to mirror the unmitigated realities of life. The local color movement was a bridge between romanticism and realism and can be viewed as a subdivision of realism. In the view of the naturalists. In an attempt to achieve extreme objectivity and frankness.

His exploration of point of view and his development of stream of consciousness technique have greatly influenced subsequent writers of fiction. Major Works:     The Portrait of a Lady (1881) The Wings of the Dove (1902) The Ambassadors (1903) The Golden Bowl (1904) MARK TWAIN (SAMUEL LANGHORE CLEMENS) (1835-1910) Twain's best work breaks out of the local color genre. Major Works:  Tom Sawyer (1876) . whose novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) was one of the many influences on the start of the American Civil War HENRY JAMES (1843-1916) James was not only a novelist but an influential critic of the novel whose prefaces to his own work were later collected in The Art of the Novel (1934).Major 19th Century American Novelists HARRIET BEECHER STOWE (1811-96).

   Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Crane had never seen combat when he wrote this novel. The Awakening (1899) is an early feminist novel about a woman unhappy in her marriage. THEODORE DREISER (1871-1945) Major Works:   Sister Carrie (1900) An American Tragedy (1925) What is a Novel? E. EDITH WHARTON Major Works:   Ethan Frome (1911) The Age of Innocence (1920) STEPHEN CRANE (1871-1900) The Red Badge of Courage (1895). Forster in Aspects of the Novel cites the definition of a Frenchman named Abel Chevalley: "a fiction in prose of a certain extent" and adds that he defines "extent" as over 50. Crane's novel of the Civil War.000 words. JACK LONDON (1876-1916) London's adventures in the Pacific Northwest and during the Alaska gold rush were the basis of his very popular short stories and novels such as The Call of the Wild (1903) and The Sea Wolf (1904). .M. is generally considered one of the greatest war novels of all time. generally considered to be the Great American Novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) KATE CHOPIN (1851-1904) was a local color writer whose works are set in the Creole society of Louisiana.

. Each point can be emphasized in either a long or a short narrative. arises from the desire to depict and interpret human character. man as a social being. The Decameron). The reader of a novel is both entertained and aided in a deeper perception of life's problems. The novel.g. It differs from allegory (which functions to teach some sort of moral lesson) and romance (with its emphasis on spectacular and exciting events designed to entertain) in its emphasis on character development. compact. The word "novel" (which wasn't even used until the end of the 18th century) is an English transliteration of the Italian word "novella"--used to describe a short. however.There are three possible points of emphasis in prose fiction. The novel deals with a human character in a social situation. the novel is one form of an extended fictional prose narrative. Don Quixote is the best known of these tales. The roots of the novel come from a number of sources:    Elizabethan prose fiction French heroic romance--vast baroque narratives about thinly disguised contemporaries (mid-17th century) who always acted nobly and spoke high-flown sentiment Spanish picaresque tales--strings of episodic adventures held together by the personality of the central figure. broadly realistic tale popular during the medieval period (e. Point of Emphasis abstract theme plot character Short Form fable anecdote short story Long Form allegory romance novel As you can see from the above table.

however briefly and unstably. unexpected connections begin to surface. . In The Art of Fiction John Gardner says: A novel is like a symphony in that its closing movement echoes and resounds with all that has gone before. the outcome of the various characters' actions is at last manifest. . if only for the moment. The only obligation of the writer is to make the story interesting. regardless of its attempt at verisimilitude. a world of the possible or probable or even the fantastic rather than the actual. hidden causes become plain. The measure of success of a work of fiction is how well or poorly the author has unified the story and controlled its impact. . the universe reveals itself. Toward the close of a novel. Fiction is governed by its own rules and internal completeness. is a created world apart. and we see the responsibility of free will. Another initial major characteristic of the novel is realism--a full and authentic report of human life. especially one well-rounded character. (184) A novel aims for a comprehensive unified effect in which all of the elements of fiction intertwine to make a comment on the human condition. Fiction. life becomes. as inexorably moral. . . usually written in prose. The elements of fiction are :    Plot: what happens in the story Character: who is involved in what happens in the story Point of View: how the story is told . than on plot. .The novel places more emphasis on character. organized. The traditional novel has:    a unified and plausible plot structure sharply individualized and believable characters a pervasive illusion of reality A novel is an extended fictional narrative.

.  Setting: where and when the story takes place Theme: what the point of the story is An ability to identify these elements in a novel and then understand how all of these elements work together to provide the effect of the novel on the reading leads to a critical understanding of a novel.

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