Thursday, July 22, 2010

Moving On To a More "Governess-Heavy" Novel

Last night I finished Lady Audley's Secret. I really enjoyed the novel, but like with Vanity Fair, the woman was not really a governess for much of the book at all. Without giving away too much of the plot, I will say that Lady Audley's secret was definitely a good one. Though perhaps slightly too drawn out at times, Braddon included many clues within the novel that tied up nicely at the end. Also, the final twist of the book was incredibly well done and something that I really appreciated. In Victorian literature, I sometimes find the plots a little bit predictable, but I think it's important to realize that many of today's books and movies are loosely based on these older novels, and also that in our society today we've been trained to "expect the unexpected."

One of my criticisms of Lady Audley's Secret is not as much a critique on the book itself as of the quote that I posted in another of my posts about the book: "Lady Audley's Secret (1862) subtly undermined the Victorian myth that female self-assertion was a form of insanity." For much of the book I saw Lady Audley as incredibly powerful because of her sexuality and able to use that to her advantage, but by the end I thought that rather than sticking with that she caved and let them call her insane. A part of me wished that I had seen a bit more of her power as a female shine through regardless of the pain that may have caused for other characters.

Though they haven't necessarily been as "governess-heavy" as I'd hoped, in both Lady Audley's Secret and Vanity Fair I've been able to consider how women rose to a higher position after holding a situation as a governess. This morning I started Uncle Silas by Sheridan La Fanu, a novel that I think will focus much more on the role of the governess since it is told from the point of view of her charge.

So far I'm really liking the style and the plot seems to already be captivating. I'm excited to keep reading :)

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