The Role Of Women During The 19th Century Essay

1985 Words Aug 14th, 2015 8 Pages
In the late 1800s, domesticity was of such importance that handbooks such as Mrs Beeton 's Household Management were extremely popular throughout the nation. This was particularly due to a shift in class structure and the ease of transitioning from working class to middle class. Due to this, women who were born into working class families had to learn the etiquette required of a middle-class lady. Through Beeton 's book, as well as Ruskin 's, women of the late 19th Century learned the values of the home and their roles within it. Women also learned that they were the centre of the home and that, without their existence or presence, the house would surely fall apart (Ruskin, 68:32). In both Our Mutual Friend (Dickens) and The Diary of a Nobody (Grossmith), the role of the women in the household is often questionably different to the understood dynamics of a late Victorian household. Our Mutual Friend challenges the idea that the woman is the centre of the household and that, without a woman, a household cannot work. Whilst, The Diary of a Nobody challenges and plays with the duties and jobs obtained by and completed by women in an everyday middle-class Victorian household. In Our Mutual Friend, Dickens twists the constructs of women domesticity by writing in a bachelor household into the novel: “Mr Mortimer Lightwood and Mr Eugene Wrayburn […] had taken a bachelor cottage near Hampton” (135) The idea of not having a woman to keep the house in order and attend to the…

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