Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book Review: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Book: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
Genre: Classic British Literature
Published: 1847
How I Got the Book: required reading for a class

Synopsis (from b& 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' 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 Bronte'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.

My Thoughts: I really liked the character of Agnes. She was angry but kept level head on her shoulders throughout her crazy governess jobs. The first family she governs are sadistic. Agnes keeps her moral character throughout. That a huge theme Victorians tackle is the fall from money, how characters deal with the loss and gains of fortunes. Also, another theme that is presented is the governess. It's sad that educated girls had hardly any options in the 19th century. This book deals with society and the hardship that a girl with sense has to endure being around people who lack sense but don't need to worry about money. I love the ending, it happens on Agnes' terms. Her dreams are fully realized within a world that works against her. It's not a dramatic story, it is slow moving but is saturated with social commentary.

Characters: On the surface Agnes is calm and collected but underneath she is willful, smart and independent. She is a great heroine. The brats she has to govern are great, and in modern day...I know these people. Great characterization.

Cover Art: A painting of a girl doing something? Fitting. If not very overdone *shrugs*

Overall: ★★★★


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