Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Brian McCuskey (Committee Chair)
In middle-class Victorian homes, wives were responsible for the care of the home, the raising of children, and the maintenance and upward mobility of her family’s social standing. She was the heart of the home and her purity and commitment to the home would not only affect her family, but also society. Yet the women who were qualified according to societal standards were a small group, carefully chosen to maintain the standards of society. In the novels Bleak House and Jane Eyre, the authors push back against strict societal expectations. They ask the audience to consider if women should be qualified for this role based on their actions, not their social status. Utilizing the role of the governess, they support the importance of the angel in the home while subverting the belief that only women of a certain social standing are qualified to repair homes.
Torgersen, Elsa C., "From Governess to Wife: How Women on the Fringe of Society Upset and Restore Victorian Homes" (2021). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 1553.
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