Comparing Christina Rosetti's Approach To The Subject Of Death In After Death, Remember, Song And Dream

1307 words - 5 pages

Comparing Christina Rosetti's Approach to the Subject of Death in After Death, Remember, Song and Dream

Death was a favourite theme of the Victorian writers. Before
antibiotics and a National Health Service it was common to die early
in life from common illnesses such as tuberculosis and during
childbirth. 50% of children died before the age of six in Hanworth,
the Bronte sisters' village. The Victorians held expensive funerals
that were showy and intrigued by the processes of decay, change and
growth. Themes such as these are explored in novels such as 'Dracula'
and 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. Many Victorians believed in life after
death and also hoped for this. In 1851 a religious census found out
that half the population attended Church regularly especially the
middle classes. The Victorians believed that a good life on Earth
would lead to happiness in heaven. However, all this changed as
scientific knowledge was progressing. This made many people begin to
take a less literal view on religion, pinning their faith on what they
could see and prove. Victorian writers were fascinated by the idea of
an ideal woman, especially the men. She was described as a very
desirable person being innocent yet sensual, passive but alert and
always obedient to men. Her aim in life was to be patient and an
attentive wife. Also a loving and affectionate mother as family meant
everything to her. However, in reality, women's lives at the beginning
of the Victorian period were very limited as they could not own money
and they were treated as though they was property of their husbands.
If they had no male relatives to support them then they were
destitute. There were a few respectable jobs available for women such
as teaching, becoming a servant and taking in embroidery. These were
poorly paid jobs. All girls were barred from sitting public
examinations until 1863, and even then 'The Lancet (the professional
journal if doctors) proclaimed: 'Higher Education will produce flat
chested women unable to suckle their babies'. In the Victorian period
only one in four women married as a huge number of women lived on the
streets, begging and prostituting themselves.

Because of this male Victorian writers had two conflicting images of
women. One was the pure, dutiful helpmate and the other was the
exciting but dangerous sex object. As time passed on the lives of some
women changed due to growth of industry, as this created jobs for
them. These jobs were difficult and also poorly paid, but they gave
women a taste of life outside of the home. Victorian writers began to
explore the real lives of working women, but it wasn't until the end
of the Victorian period that woman's rights began to develop. In the
Victorian society motherhood was greatly admired. A mother's love was
considered very important for children as...

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