Due to the nonexistence of a higher authority or family member at Bly, the governess in the Turn of the Screw by virtue of Victorian society was the primary caretaker of the children and the household. The information the prologue provides about the governess depicts the predisposition that she could be vulnerable as she is a “flattered anxious girl … With no previous experience”. However, she may be in awe of Harley Street and the grand estate of Bly, overwhelmed by her surroundings, she may not necessarily be too frightened to tell her story reliably. James’s style of writing in the novella creates room for the readers to view the governess as frightened and vulnerable whilst on the other hand certain and confident. The governess’s adoration of the uncle after visiting him at Harley Street and her belief that he needed her reflects the governess’s naivety.
Women were not granted many freedoms that men held. Women in the early 1920s had a lack of educational and economic opportunities, such as the right to earn their own wages (The Women’s). Many teachers believed girls did not need to know many things that boys were taught. Women were also denied a voice in political debates (The Women’s). Finally, women were not allowed to divorce from an abusive or destructive marriage (Stanton).
Their opinions were not to be expressed publicly, at least not in the presence of men. While many women were internally conflicted about the sexist treatment, most went along and behaved innocently and dutifully. Charlotte Brontë, living in the Victorian age where women were dependent to men, wrote her first novel published in 1847, Jane Eyre, about a young woman who quietly rebelled against the woman’s standards and roles at that time. Several Brontë’s experiences in her own life that were full of obstacles in the Victorian era became the background of the story in this novel. Through her character Jane, a brave, strong, determined, intelligent and independent young woman, Brontë conveyed the message of feminism that every woman has rights to be treated as equal as men.
In comparison Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice, written a few centuries after, shows a clear link of how particular concerns, held by society, have altered. A women living in the late 1800’s had very few rights and freedoms. Education was a thing men and if a women engaged in such activities she was at risk of being shunned by society or “left on the shelf.” Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice follows a young girl, Elizabeth Bennet, who struggles against society’s expectations. Being a smart and well educated women, she is somewhat frowned upon, however this has been disguised by Austen through her dialogue. An example is seen near the beginning of the book in which Mr Darcey and Mr Binley’s brother are engaged in polite conversation.
The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy defines feminism as being ‘both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms’. The feminist movement has been an ongoing process for the last two centuries and has been debated by many. Some argue that women have already achieved equality, which is highly true ‘on paper’ in terms of politics, laws and the workplace. However it could also be argued that the genders are not culturally and socially equal. This is particularly evident in some Media portrayal of females and through social dynamics within daily life.
As a result of this, social mobility was limited at this time and people socialised in small circles, with only those of a similar class. Any socialisation out of this was seen as absurd. It was women especially that felt the limitations of the late 18th century/early 19th century, as there were strict expectations of them. Women were seen as possessions of men, and expected to be educated and well behaved, mostly in hope to ensure themselves a husband of wealth in order to further themselves as women did not inherit any land or money from their fathers, this went to the closest male relative. Any kind of acting out of against the expected image of a woman would be seen as shameful and would lead to isolation even further in terms of socialisation and the hope of a husband.
Jane had a very hard experience at Lowood. Her early years were a struggle due to the teachers and the schools environment, and the main reason Mr.Brocklehurst. Jane is a very smart, confident and self assured girl but she is looked down on in society because she is from a poor desent, and in the Victorian period children like Jane who were disobidient and passionate were punished heavily to become better children for the future. The Lowood instituion was pretty much made up by charity so they had a lack of resources as well as a lack of money to keep the school in perfect running condition. In addition to this, the teachers were very cold hearted and were 'taught' to punish their students for little things that were exgaurated, but the leader of the teachers; Mr Brockelhurst is a heartless and hypocritical man who is described as a 'stony stranger' wearing a 'carved mask'.
Depending on the lower or upper level of the middle class, women were able to be work as school mistresses, or not work at all and only take care of the house. As upper class and middle class women had little advantages to their life, lower class women often had none. They were married to poor farmers, with no education and often had to work just as hard as their husbands, maybe even harder as they had a responsibility of taking care of the house and children. In some parts of the Western Europe, lower class women had to work in textile mills or various workhouses parted away from their families, working many, many hours. Double burden was also common at the beginning of 1900’s as women worked to earn money but also had the responsibility for unpaid, domestic labor.
Elizabeth and Jane contradict the common woman of the time and therefore are known as modern Victorian women, or rather, their mindsets were ahead of their time. Aside from these characters, almost all the other women in Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre are similar in their silly ventures of marriage and entertainment. Women had virtually no rights and they had little to no control over their own lives which is why their dependency on men is emphasized in the novels. Apart from Jane and Elizabeth, Austen and Bronte present women as dependent, docile, and an item to their husbands that belonged at home. Elizabeth as a Modern Woman Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest of five daughters, was like a fish-out-of-water.
This sentence alone sums up her points with great measure. Stanton feels that the society then looks at women for only one reason to live, reproduction. Stanton wants to show that yes, woman do reproduce and are willing to be a mother to any child they bring into the world, but until then, women are just as capable to work and earn a living as men. She is out to prove that there are indeed jobs out there that are suited for women and cater to there own skills as well as experiences. The “Declaration of Sentiments” is not retaliation to the “Declaration