Thursday, 16 July 2020
Brontë, Anne "Agnes Grey"
Brontë, Anne "Agnes Grey" - 1847
Anne Brontë, the youngest and lesser known of the three Brontë sisters. I have no idea why because her stories are just as great as those of her sisters. If not better. They are more down to earth, in my opinion.
There are some parallels to the story of Jane Eyre who works as a governess just as Agnes Grey does. That is probably because it was what the Brontë sisters experienced themselves. Agnes Grey is partly autobiographical, Anne Brontë added a lot of her own life here.
You can tell Anne is the daughter of a pastor, just as Jane Austen was, another parallel to a great author.
We learn about the hard life of a governess. If parents don't really want to be involved, want to discipline their children but also don't want others to discipline them but want those others to teach their children, you are always the piggy in the middle. How is the poor governess to instill the love of learning in children who are not told to follow the teacher? I know that teachers have a similar problem nowadays with parents who think their kids are little angels and little Einsteins at the same time while at the same time … well, let's not go there.
What a shame she died so young. I loved "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" as much as I loved this novel. Would have been great to be able to read more of her writings.
From the back cover:
"When her family becomes impoverished after a disastrous financial speculation, Agnes Grey determines to find work as a governess in order to contribute to their meagre income and assert her independence. But Agnes's enthusiasm is swiftly extinguished as she struggles first with the unmanageable Bloomfield children and then with the painful disdain of the haughty Murray family; the only kindness she receives comes from Mr Weston, the sober young curate. Drawing on her own experience, Anne Brontë's first novel offers a compelling personal perspective on the desperate position of unmarried, educated women for whom becoming a governess was the only respectable career open in Victorian society."