Finding myself reading a book about a governess I searched around for comparisons, the only one that came to my mind was Jane Eyre written after Agnes Grey by Anne Bront s big sister Charlotte.Charlotte in her tale of a governess adds breath taking, astonishing, Gothic elements childhood punishments, a madwoman in the attic, a dramatic fire, the anguished cry of a lover heard an unfeasible number of miles away, plus liberal anti French sentiment and race prejudice, Agnes Grey eschews all tha Finding myself reading a book about a governess I searched around for comparisons, the only one that came to my mind was Jane Eyre written after Agnes Grey by Anne Bront s big sister Charlotte.Charlotte in her tale of a governess adds breath taking, astonishing, Gothic elements childhood punishments, a madwoman in the attic, a dramatic fire, the anguished cry of a lover heard an unfeasible number of miles away, plus liberal anti French sentiment and race prejudice, Agnes Grey eschews all that, there is nothing flashy here, it is a carefully observed personal narrative, with a self effacing narrator who dominates the narration there is no space here to question her observations we are deep inside the world of Agnes Grey, a grey lamb, innocent and doomed to suffer though her suffering will be not very dramatic this is above all a restrained novel.The keenness of the narrator s observation seems generally focussed on her status, she hangs awkwardly above the servants but below the masters, unable to command the former or stand up to the latter, but interesting this weak liminal position as a clergyman s daughter turns out to be a position of strength She can earn money and is not trapped in the closed system of social status and status anxiety of her social superiors that leads them into unhappy marriages view spoiler the best kind obviously from the point of view of literature hide spoiler.The meeting during a rainstorm of Agnes Grey and her love interest the curate Mr Weston view spoiler his first name is only mentioned on the last page of the story so I won t spoiler the surprise hide spoiler in the dwelling of local poor woman Nancy reminded me of the quasi marriage of Dido and Aeneas in a cave during a rainstorm witnessed by a convenient goddess Pius Aeneas is generally a role model for Agnes she is determined to earn money as a governess in the first place because of the financial difficulties caused by her Father s speculation So she sets forth to rescue the family, not from a burning city but from their depleted bank balance For a hero, the Odyssey can always be the model hero goes forth, wanders, returns home, but for the heroine, returning home is impossible, instead the Aeneid is the role model for her adventures, she has to leave home and create a new one, generally in conjunction with some local man or other, Charlotte Bront takes this notion of the destruction of the original home and enforced wanderings further by actually killing off the heroine s parents than Anne does, but the younger sister seems to prefer arestrained style.Amusingly although Agnes is to be an educator in this novel, the action suggests that formal education is too late, children in this book model themselves strictly on their near family, just as Agnes will maintain the good habits and moral outlook of her upbringing so too the children she is employed to educate retain the bad habits and attitudes that they have learnt from their parents This is a novel featuring education which seems ambivalent about the impact of the classroom upon learners, it seems mostly too late to do anything about the children of the rich who are doomed to idleness, animal cruelty, bad marriages and an inability to perceive people of lower social standing as being human, plus a change On which topic I was amused that although in the middle of the novel Agnes has a fairly lengthy digression about beauty and that it is unimportant when we are shown the bad husband Sir Thomas Ashby, we see an ugly man an ugly character will apparently manifest itself physically, Agnes does not describe herself, but we see her good deeds, even if she does admit to wanting to box the ears of the vicious boy she is meant to be teaching in her first job Agnes Grey, Anne Bront Agnes Grey, A Novel is the debut novel of English author Anne Bront The novel follows Agnes Grey, a governess, as she works within families of the English gentry Scholarship and comments by Anne s sister Charlotte Bront suggest the novel is largely based on Anne Bront s own experiences as a governess for five years Agnes Grey is the daughter of Mr Grey, a minister of modest means, and Mrs Grey, a woman who left her wealthy family and married purely out of love Mr Agnes Grey, Anne Bront Agnes Grey, A Novel is the debut novel of English author Anne Bront The novel follows Agnes Grey, a governess, as she works within families of the English gentry Scholarship and comments by Anne s sister Charlotte Bront suggest the novel is largely based on Anne Bront s own experiences as a governess for five years Agnes Grey is the daughter of Mr Grey, a minister of modest means, and Mrs Grey, a woman who left her wealthy family and married purely out of love Mr Grey tries to increase the family s financial standing, but the merchant he entrusts his money to dies in a wreck, and the lost investment plunges the family into debt Agnes, her sister Mary, and their mother all try to keep expenses low and bring in extra money, but Agnes is frustrated that everyone treats her like a child To prove herself and to earn money, she is determined to get a position as a governess Eventually, she obtains a recommendation from a well placed acquaintance, is offered a position, and secures her parents permission With some misgivings, she travels to Wellwood house to work for the Bloomfield family 2014 1380 280 9649021779 19 1391 259 9789641852773 1393 1395 1396 1397 In 1847, Charlotte Bronte s novel, Jane Eyre, was published, her sister Emily s, book also , Wuthering Heights and finally the 3rd sister, Anne s, Agnes Grey The first two became classics, the other one, until recently, almost forgotten An autobiographical novel with a simple plot Poor clergyman s daughter, becomes a governess, to rich snobs, in order not to be a burden to her family The father, Richard, lost his money in a bad investment, his ship didn t come in, it sank, worse yet, he owe In 1847, Charlotte Bronte s novel, Jane Eyre, was published, her sister Emily s, book also , Wuthering Heights and finally the 3rd sister, Anne s, Agnes Grey The first two became classics, the other one, until recently, almost forgotten An autobiographical novel with a simple plot Poor clergyman s daughter, becomes a governess, to rich snobs, in order not to be a burden to her family The father, Richard, lost his money in a bad investment, his ship didn t come in, it sank, worse yet, he owes money too Agnes s parents and older sister Mary and she, must struggle to survive It doesn t help that Richard Grey, goes into a deep, prolonged depression, always brooding, and becomes nearly useless Growing up Agnes, knows little about the rest of the world, seeing only her relatives and educated by them Reading was her escape from a dull, secluded life After much persuasion, the unthinkable idea Anne gets permission, to leave home and find work, twenty miles from her house, in Yorkshire, the eighteen year old, has secured a position, with the Bloomfield family Four children, Tom,7, Mary Ann, 6, Fanny, 4 , and Harriet, 2, all brats, the little boy likes torturing captured birds The invariably kindhearted Miss Grey, is powerless to prevent such cruelties, Mrs Bloomfield, doesn t care and had given her a cold reception, putting Agnes, in her place, as a lowly governess The new servant quickly becomes disillusioned, the world is a harsh place, indeed The children disobey her, ridicule Agnes, and teaching them becomes impossible The father, is never around, can t be bothered She gets dismissed and returns home, to the drab parsonage, but Agnes will try again, this time seventy miles away, yet another unpleasant experience The Murray s have older children two young boys and Rosalie at 16, very pretty, almost a woman but immature and selfish, her tomboyish younger sister, Matilda, she would rather ride her horses, than dress up for dances Her only happiness is the curate, she Agnes, had met, Edward Weston, while visiting a sick old woman, still the plain looking girl, knows her limitations Soon silly Rosalie, with much encouragement from her social climbing, callous mother, becomes engaged to a rich, evil, drunkard and barbaric aristocrat, Lord Ashby The flirtatious Rosalie marries him, at a proper age, but loves another, Agnes had warned her, but was laughed at, just a common servant It is all about money and social position Of course later on she, will greatly regret her choice, you can t sleep with gold, it gives no warmth A chance meeting with Mr Edward Weston, a man she , never thought, would see again, months after Agnes, had left her work on a lonely quiet beach, in Scarborough, early in the morning, as the glorious sun rose, the two watching the lovely sight, silently, no words were necessary they knew what each felt for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner So here we are, finding consolation in reading about the reality of schooling in a novel published almost two centuries ago That quote is true, my dear Agnes alias Anne And how come we still don t quote you on each curriculum, on each report card, on each test result Well, that is because you let your governess alter ego discover the other eternal truth as well, known to teachers of all curr for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner So here we are, finding consolation in reading about the reality of schooling in a novel published almost two centuries ago That quote is true, my dear Agnes alias Anne And how come we still don t quote you on each curriculum, on each report card, on each test result Well, that is because you let your governess alter ego discover the other eternal truth as well, known to teachers of all curricula namely that many parents may CLAIM to want to hear the truth about their children, and they may CLAIM to want them to learn and work studiously, but in reality, what they want to hear is praise of their offspring s unique genius, and they also want to be spared the parental effort it takes to instil respect and love of learning in their children which is contrary to their natural desire to feel superior to the person assigned to take care of the schooling.Being a governess in upper class Victorian England might sound like a completely different work experience when we compare it to being a school teacher in contemporary Sweden, but it is not Where effort is avoided, and students are indulged to avoid short term tantrums and conflicts, the exact same situation occurs A teacher trying to commit to a calling, a profession, will always be the first target for self involved parents without true inclination for genuine education Targeting the children is too close to self criticism.What I learned yet again from reading Agnes Grey is that human nature is the same over time and space, and that change can only happen on an individual, voluntary level Parenting matters,than anything else in the world The ideas we give our children on how to treat our fellow human beings, and on how to approach the privilege of being educated and well cared for, still make all the difference for their development Tell students that the teacher is inferior to their parents and should be treated like a servant, and nothing the teacher teaches the students will be judged worth knowing Tell them, on the other hand, that learning is the magical gate towards a self determined and independent life, and that the teacher holds the key to the gate, and the children will be sponges soaking up whatever knowledge they can collect It is all about the mindset we give our children.On the sidelines of the main social issue the hardship of young educated women trying to succeed in the teaching profession Agnes Grey manages to describe another ordeal of vulnerable female characters the marrying business One might get the notion that a woman can only choose between Scylla and Charybdis when making her path between the inhumane treatment of governesses and the eternal unhappiness following a conventional loveless marriage.Had the youngest Bront sister lived longer, she might have found a third path for herself that of a successful writer As it is, she remains forever contemporary in her honest and critical assessment of social injustice in her own time, based on firsthand experience and accurate rendering of basic psychological structures in upper class parenting.Is it making me feel hope or despair to realise that there never were any good ol times I don t know I think it makes me feel hope that ANY society, no matter how dysfunctional and discriminating, can occasionally see the rise of brave and independent spirits like Agnes Anne who dare to speak up for change To be the change To say and act on what is true for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner Aside from the fact that Agnes Grey s love interest chides her for being a perfect bookworm and says, Except under particular circumstances, I consider very close and constant study as a waste of time, and an injury to the mind as well as the body, this is a sweet and tender love story. Having watched recently the film To Walk Invisible, and having also finished not long ago Wuthering Heights, while I was reading this I could not but imagine the two sisters, Emily and Anne, sitting around the same table, either in the dining room or in the kitchen, each leaning over a very small notebook and writing away their novels in silence Both sharing and not sharing keeping each other s company, but also guarding the privacy of their thoughts and their writing from the other sister.And Having watched recently the film To Walk Invisible, and having also finished not long ago Wuthering Heights, while I was reading this I could not but imagine the two sisters, Emily and Anne, sitting around the same table, either in the dining room or in the kitchen, each leaning over a very small notebook and writing away their novels in silence Both sharing and not sharing keeping each other s company, but also guarding the privacy of their thoughts and their writing from the other sister.And I wondered how was it possible that on the same table those two notebooks were filling with such different fiction How could these two sisters, apparently so similar in character, with the same upbringing and similar experiences, produce such different works With Emily s novel made me dread the falling into Hell, while Anne s account of a governess made me at times wished for a redeeming Hell Agnes Grey is a governess to her very core Not one does she lose her, very proper, identity Even in moments of weakness, she does not doubt for an instance her exemplary view of the world For even if she is very convincing in her neutrality and perfection that stands out against the rest of the, always faulty, characters , the reader can at times question whether things, or people, are as outlandish as she presents them to be I acknowledge that I felt at times like sticking my tongue out at Agnes in a purifying act of rebellion.May be it was the language, always so composed, so correct, so balanced, so measured, so poised, that made me want to scream, or swear, or run away.There was one moment in which I had some hope In a scene I felt that finally Agnes could feel some spite But no, she immediately corrected the suspicion and states that I derived a secret gratification from the fact, not that she was vexed, but that she thought she had reason to be so Definitely, no hope, for she continuesIt made me think my hopes were not entirely the offspring of my wishes and imagination.This non novel, is nonetheless an extraordinary account of what a curious creature of a governess, in mid 19C England, was While reading it was inevitable not to ponder about the restricted world for women, and how at this time they needed to fit in a necessary but also potentially alarming education The account is also saturated with comments on social differences, which made me wonder how conscious was Anne Br nte of the political dimension of some of her sentences It was disagreeable to walk behind, and thus appear to acknowledge my own inferiority for, in truth, I considered myself pretty nearly as good as the best of them, and wished them to know that I did so, and not to imagine that I looked upon myself as a mere domestic, who know her own place to walk beside such fine ladies and gentlemen as they were..And soon onto The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 4.5 starsI ve been conscious for a while of not having read anything by Anne Bronte and decided it was time to remedy that This is Anne Bronte s first novel and has the reputation of being not as good as the second however I certainly felt that it had its strengths The story is straightforward Agnes Grey is the daughter of a clergyman whose family finds itself is straightened circumstances Agnes decides she must contribute to the family finances and takes a post of a governess There is an 4.5 starsI ve been conscious for a while of not having read anything by Anne Bronte and decided it was time to remedy that This is Anne Bronte s first novel and has the reputation of being not as good as the second however I certainly felt that it had its strengths The story is straightforward Agnes Grey is the daughter of a clergyman whose family finds itself is straightened circumstances Agnes decides she must contribute to the family finances and takes a post of a governess There is an account of her time as a governess in two families The account paints a fairly bleak picture of life as a governess and of the role of women of a certain class This is certainly based on Anne s own experience, apart from the romance at the end Anne Bronte has always been seen as a lesser writer than her two sisters this isn t my impression Agnes Grey is a strong minded woman, who very much has a sense of independence, to go out into the world to act for myself to exercise my unused faculties to try my own unknown powers to earn my own maintenance At the end of the novel when she marries Weston the usual Victorian formula would be that he is rescuing her and providing her with hearth and home Theperceptive reader will realise that he is not rescuing her, but she is rescuing him Agnes can be very self effacing at times and her piety I found somewhat irritating, but she is a much stronger character than many Victorian heroinesThe nature of work that women of Agnes s type have to do is portrayed as thankless and degrading with cruel employers and children whom are ungovernable and with no respect to someone they treat as a servant I think Anne s portrayal of men is very much different to her sisters There are no smouldering Byronic heroes like Rochester and Heathcliffe Most of the men are shallow and self absorbed Her idea of a leading man is also different Weston is not heroic or good looking He is serious, bookish, kind with obvious faults and vulnerabilities very unlike the men her sisters created This makes her books less easy to film producers like strong male leads I was surprised to find that Anne Bronte is muchradical than her sisters She is concerned about the rights and working conditions of women who work in virtual slavery in domestic service and portrays the upper and moneyed classes who employ them as cruel and unscrupulous Shades of a socialist and feminist approach to life and no swooning over emotionally stunted heroes Agnes Grey does not need Weston at the end of the book she is running a school with her mother and they are independent It is a positive choice I would urge those of you who have not read Anne Bronte yet to do so My favorite of the Brontes is Anne This is my favorite of her novels.In this and Jane Eyre, we have governess eye views of the gentry In Jane Eyre, Jane manages to make herself central her suffering in being a governess in Agnes Grey, there is a meticulous look at the thin veneer of civilization over the soi disant gentry who have all the money and manner but utterly no moral center The examination of this family is one of the most effective pieces of quiet horror in literature, I think, b My favorite of the Brontes is Anne This is my favorite of her novels.In this and Jane Eyre, we have governess eye views of the gentry In Jane Eyre, Jane manages to make herself central her suffering in being a governess in Agnes Grey, there is a meticulous look at the thin veneer of civilization over the soi disant gentry who have all the money and manner but utterly no moral center The examination of this family is one of the most effective pieces of quiet horror in literature, I think, because it resonates as true Fareffective than Charlotte s madwoman in the attic histrionics Though those, too, smack of realitybut not a reality known to Charlotte I blame Byronic fanfiction for that, as well as for Emily s oeuvre, and Anne s own Tenant Rereading for a book group again, it strikes me how very good Anne was at observations of human behavior, though a sense of Anne is difficult to find Agnes Grey is nearly invisible, quite a contrast to Charlotte s books, which convey a powerful sense of Charlotte front and center And Emily was different from both, writing straight from the id vortex It pains me to only give this three stars, mainly because of the tremendous respect I have for what the three Bronte sisters accomplished in their short lives, and because Anne was overshadowed by her older sisters, Charlotte and Emily Agnes Grey, the first of Anne s two novels 1847 , was overshadowed by Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, also published in 1847 But Agnes Grey did two things one, it gave us insight into Anne s life, her feelings, because it was partly autobiographical, reflecti It pains me to only give this three stars, mainly because of the tremendous respect I have for what the three Bronte sisters accomplished in their short lives, and because Anne was overshadowed by her older sisters, Charlotte and Emily Agnes Grey, the first of Anne s two novels 1847 , was overshadowed by Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, also published in 1847 But Agnes Grey did two things one, it gave us insight into Anne s life, her feelings, because it was partly autobiographical, reflecting her experience as a governess for several years and two, it helped Anne to open up her literary potential which she used to write her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall While it is lesser known than her older sister s classic masterpieces, it s quality puts it at the same level of excellence in my opinion The three sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, died at the ages of 38, 31, and 29 It staggers the mind to think what they may have accomplished if they had lived another 25 or 30 years But what they did accomplish was literary immortality, all three of them, and for that I say thank you ladies, well done Agnes Grey is the touching story of a young girl who decides to enter the world as a governess, but whose bright illusions of acceptance, freedom and friendship are gradually destroyedDrawing on her own experience, Anne Bront charts the development of gentle Agnes and sympathetically depicts the harsh treatment she receives along the way Leaving her idyllic home and close knit family, Agnes arrives at the Bloomfield s residence, inside whose walls reign cruelty and neglect Although faced with tyrannical children and over indulgent parents, the generosity of spirit and warm candour learnt from her own family never desert her Agnes also remains firm in the Murray household, where she is used by the two disdainful young daughters for their own deceitful ends and where her chances of happiness are almost spoiled for herA deeply moving account, Agnes Grey seriously discusses the contempt and inhumanity shown towards the poor though educated woman of the Victorian age, whose only resource was to become a governess