Victorian Era Ideologies
The Victorian era which lasted during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901, established the foundations of many social, cultural and moral ideologies in which many are present to this day. Everywhere you look you can almost always see something Victorian-inspired from floral patterned curtains to elegantly hand crafted candlesticks. When visualizing ‘The Victorian Era’ lavish balls, lace covered dresses, tea parties and fancy lifestyles come to mind. However, the Victorian era is much more than this. Victorians were judgmental, proud and often selfish people, as their biggest goal in life was usually to make and/or keep a name for themselves which meant marrying their daughters off to rich, aristocrats to preventing their family
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The protagonist, Sophy, is an uneducated servant who receives a marriage proposal from the vicar she is working for, Reverend Twycott. Her husband, who believes to have committed ‘social suicide’ by marrying a servant, moves them to a new ‘living’ in south London to prevent gossip from circulating. When Twycott dies, Sophy finds herself bored with her uneventful life and estranged from her son, Randolph, who has adopted a superior attitude towards his uneducated mother. She rekindles an old flame, Sam Hobson, and he proposes to her for the second time, which Sophy initially agrees too. When she informs Randolph of the marriage he is furious and forbids her to marry Sam because of the shame of it would bring him in the eyes of his friends. Sophy is unable to disobey Randolph because she is of lower social standing due to her not being educated, even though she is Randolph’s mother. Hardy is expressing the value of education through this short story, and how it can improve a person’s social standing in the Victorian era. As Randolph got older, he became snobbish and arrogant to his own mother which is shown in the story as he obnoxiously corrects his mother’s grammar. Hardy is also stating what effects social climbing can have on a person. Randolph may be smart enough to graduate from Oxford University but he has no common decency and has no respect for his own mother.
These Victorian authors have captured the ideologies and mores of Victorians