“Family Angels” Escape: Awakening in the Victorian Era

  On June 20, 1837, King William IV of England died, and Alexandrina Victoria, who was only 18 years old, succeeded to the throne. A golden age has begun with the roar of steam.
  As the Queen of England, the wife of Victoria and Prince Albert was deeply affectionate, and her painstaking efforts to her 9 children made her the best paradigm for a “good wife and mother”-this was the highest expectation of the society for female roles at that time. The queen’s example has further stimulated citizens’ recognition and pursuit of this role.
  However, not all Victorian women walked on the same one-way street built for them by society. When British poet Coventry Patmore’s “family angels” who dedicated everything in his writings aroused widespread resonance, we still see in the fragments left over from history that many contemporaries expressed more expressions about life, love, and marriage. Self-awareness attitudes and opinions.
home Sweet Home!

  GL Strache described in “The Biography of Queen Victoria” that when she saw Queen Victoria indulging in the pleasures of family, “the middle class seemed to see the ideal image of their own life in a bright mirror.”
  During the reign of Queen Victoria, the Industrial Revolution helped accelerate the transformation of society. A large number of middle class quickly became the mainstay of society, and the values ​​they formed represented the trend of “Victorian values”.
  At that time, “sweet home” became an important part of the core values ​​of the Victorian era. The vigorous development of industrialization has allowed the ideal family that people are pursuing to break away from the traditional big family structure, stripped of production functions and completely enter private territory, becoming a “warm and peaceful” haven outside of fierce social competition.

Family portrait of Queen Victoria in 1846

  John Ruskin wrote in “On the Queen’s Garden”: “Home is a place of tranquility, a refuge, not only free from injury, but also free from terror and fear.” The function of this “refuge”, More specifically for men-Tupper concretizes this ideal family in his poem: “He has a nice smile, and the children play with him. He is great and noble, and the children worship him. He loves him most. Zhiren, the children smiled at him… His house is spotless, clean and elegant.”

  The “social field” described in “Pride and Prejudice” is still quite representative in the Victorian era.

  The picture is full of fun, but one of the most important roles is obscured, that is, the wife who makes “the first place in the house clean and clean” and is known as the “family angel”. She is completely free from market competition and is responsible for maintaining the stable operation of the family and resisting the infiltration of external anxiety.
  Literary writer Ruskin believes that the role of women is “angels, mothers, wives and housewives”, and her duty is to make everyone happy, cook for them every day, dress for everyone, make everyone clean and tidy and educate them .
  As a loyal supporter of “Sweet Family”, Dickens described a typical image of a good wife and mother in “Christmas Carol”-Mrs. Craggy, who is always busy: “She is wearing a long coat that has been remade twice. It’s shabby, but with brightly colored ribbons. The ribbons are cheap and look good for six pence.”
  She was uneasy about the success of the Christmas dinner until she got her husband’s affirmation.
  Who explains the fan language?

“Become Jane Austen” stills

  Different from Mrs. Craggy’s “shabby”, the unmarried girls of the middle class, with their delicate faces stacked from lace yarns, swept among the various dances arranged by their parents. These dance parties can be regarded as the “testing grounds” for these girls to choose their mates. From April to June of each year, the battle of marriage and love is the most intense period of smoke, with dazzling lights, delicious food, and fragrant clothes everywhere.
  But for girls, no matter how fierce the “battle situation” is, the reservedness acquired over the years must never be absent. They are well versed in “lady’s fan language” and use their hand fans to express their meaning to the person they want: when the fan swings slowly in front of their chests, it means “I don’t have a sweetheart yet”; when they move their fans, they show their faces and look at each other from time to time, they are affectionate. Show love.
  But their goal is by no means an empty man full of sweetness and love. If a handsome teenager with insufficient financial resources is caught in love at first sight, he will not be able to pass the strict examination of the girl’s father. The “social field” described by Jane Austen in “Pride and Prejudice” published in 1813 is still quite representative in the Victorian era.
  When Mr. Darcy, who “has an income of 10,000 pounds per year”, appeared at the ball, “for almost half a night, people looked at him enviously”. Out of considerations of private ownership of property and family honor, “family” and “wealth” have absolute authority and precede the natural admiration of young men and women.
  Compared with the aristocratic class, the middle class seems to have more freedom of choice in marriage and love, but parents who firmly grasp the family’s economic lifeline also control the final decision of their children’s marriage. The fear of class decline has allowed the parents of middle-class families to use a generous dowry to define the range of their daughter’s spouse selection: men in this class or the upper class. At that time, the highest standard for a “good daughter” was to obtain a marriage that could bring wealth to the family.
  Not only women, but married men also value the economic benefits that women can bring to him: Is the dowry rich enough? Will it help the development of future careers? Even because of this, the widow who inherited a large amount of inheritance became the sweet pastry in the marriage and love market at that time.
  It can be said that behind every standardized middle-class wife is the “investment” of a family with years of hard work. Under the education of tutors or boarding girls’ schools, girls are trained day after day in the concept of “feminine charm”, reserved temperament, and chastity, in order to seamlessly link up the role of “family angel”.
  After they successfully completed the task of “migrating up to marriage”, this kind of training was internalized into stricter self-discipline. Victorian women’s magazines have an important job, which is to receive consultation letters from housewives. These diligent housewives are always eager to further improve the level of cooking and managing servants. The magazine will also give suggestions to help them solve their troubles in housekeeping.

  ”I am not an angel!”
  When people look back at the Victorian era, they will find that the “family angel” created by the whole society painstakingly and lonely, leaving only a patch of fuzzy faces. It is easier for people to recall a rebellious voice: “I am not an angel! I don’t want to be an angel in this life, I am myself.” In
  1847, Charlotte Bronte injected her own experience and created an “unbeautiful , Short, poor” women have ruthlessly deconstructed the traditional aesthetic under the gaze of men. Her resistance to life samples of “sacrificing oneself” and her pursuit of freedom and equality became the most representative voice of the “new women” group at that time.
  In “Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austen used Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy’s proposal to satirize and criticize the supremacy of marriage and love at the time, and used the plot of prejudice to dissolve and eventually become family members, emphasizing the feelings of equality and respect. Indispensable in marriage, and more than 30 years later, “Jane Eyre” reveals the spirit of resistance more thoroughly.
  This more thorough resistance has an important prerequisite, that is, women’s economic independence. We can feel one or two from a classic clip: When facing Rochester’s re-marriage proposal, Jane Eyre refused to be “overwhelmed by his overwhelming favor” and insisted on continuing to be Adele’s tutor , In order to earn room and board and an annual salary of 30 pounds: “You don’t have to give me anything except your respect, and I also repay my respect, so that this debt will be cleared.”
  At that time, especially From the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, more and more women have realized that withdrawing from social competition seems to have entered the comfort zone, but in fact there are endless hidden dangers: in a position of absolute obedience in the family, they will be “packaged” with their children in the law. “As an accessory to her husband.

“Become Jane Austen” stills

  This awakening has its basis in reality. The first wave of the feminist movement impacted the traditional concept of “men are superior to women”. Feminists formed women’s organizations, opened girls’ schools, and published newspapers, and their loud shouts stimulated the already numb and tired nerves of women. The second industrial revolution greatly enriched female employment positions. In addition to professions considered “suitable for women” such as teachers and nursing, they also entered the original “male-only” fields such as medicine, library management, and office.
  ”London Economic History” shows that in the government-funded enterprises and institutions in 1891, the proportion of female employees in London and surrounding counties was 17%, and by 1911 it increased to 25%; among private enterprises and institutions, 1891 Female employees accounted for 7% of the year, and in 1911 this figure rose to 20%. The implementation of the “Married Women’s Property Act” in 1882 in the United Kingdom allowed women to have property rights, and those who had a property would no longer have to look down on others.
Step on the edge of freedom and being captured

  If Elizabeth and Jane Eyre are still returning to tradition and choosing marriage as their home, the Victorian women who chose to “not marry” provide a more “rebellious” life reference.
  The results of the British Census in the mid-nineteenth century showed that a large number of women over the age of 25 were single, and the number was increasing year by year. This phenomenon is regarded as a serious social problem, causing extensive and intense discussion.
  In 1889, George Newnes, the editor of the British “Lace” magazine, offered an award-winning question and answer to unmarried women: Why don’t you get married? He published a full version of the answer under the title “The Spinsters’ Prize”. Spinster, an obviously derogatory term, can correspond to the current term “leftover woman”.
  Many of the answers are amazing. For example, a lady likened to say: “It’s like a wild horse galloping free on the prairie, slamming its proud head with disdain when the lasso is approaching, because once its neck is put on, it declares It’s captured.” “It’s more pleasant to step on the edge of freedom and being captured than it’s to be put on a noose for marriage.”
  Another answer is decisive and proud: “Like a rare piece of porcelain, I can It can be broken and can be repaired, but it is difficult to match.”
  When “Spinster” was still regarded as a loser in the marriage and love market, many women have soberly realized: “I am just a milkmaid now, if I When married, you must be a wife, mother, caregiver, housekeeper, maid, tailor, laundryman, milker, and scrubber.” What’s interesting is that when women discover the exploitative nature of the marriage system, men’s marriage proposals are still tirelessly looking for “A woman who can hold a broom” and “A woman who can cook”, and confidently concluded: “She should be a combination of an angel and a housewife.”

“Jane Eyre” stills

  Of course, we should be aware of what they have to face behind these seemingly light tone of refusal to marry.
  John Fowles portrayed a single Victorian woman Sara in the 1966 novel “The Woman of the French Lieutenant”. He wrote: If you want to choose not to get married, you must first become mad; to choose madness is to gain freedom. Sarah, who thinks she “enjoys a kind of freedom that they can’t understand”, pays the price of “putting herself in a position that society cannot tolerate. It is inferior to ants and almost no longer a human being”.

  The implementation of the “Married Women’s Property Act” in 1882 in the United Kingdom allowed women to have property rights, and those who had a property would no longer have to look down on others.

  Even so, there are still people who prefer to be free men who are “inferior to ants” rather than being regarded as a bunch of gorgeous clothing. This kind of break away from “capture” still has a mirroring significance today. Light and darkness overlap and interweave, making the Victorian era an excellent background for contemporary writers to interpret the themes of “resistance” and “escape”.
  When the British contemporary writer Sarah Waters wrote the “New Victorian Trilogy”, it is more important than the “fascinating and suffocating Victorian era” that is more important than the “now” to explore “how we passed Through ups and downs, I survived as a woman like today.”
  Among them, her “City of Thorns” was adapted by the British Broadcasting Corporation as a miniseries “Finger Craftsmanship”, and in 2016, South Korean director Park Chan-wook replaced the background of the story with the Japanese rule of North Korea in the 1930s, under the name “Miss” On the screen-the plight of women is similar.
  When seeing Xiuzi and Shuji pushing open doors after another in the night and rushing to the vast world, we have to sigh: For this freedom, it is worth giving everything.