Friday, 14 October 2011

Agnes Grey

When people think of Bronte, they think of controversial tales of passionate love on the moors of Yorkshire. Agnes Grey is not part of one such tale. She is a church-going young woman who goes out to earn a living for her impoverished family by being a governess.

You can pick up Agnes Grey at any point and be able to tell instantly what she is like as a person. Every chapter is filled with religious quotations and though she arrives at her first post with a fresh outlook and ready for anything that may come her way, she is not ready for the way of the upper-class children.
The children Agnes deals with are, plainly put, spoilt brats. They are their mothers' little darlings and hence anything that they may do wrong is never the mother's fault, it is that of Agnes. Over the course of the year she spends at her first chance at being a governess, in this instance to a noisy boy and two spoilt little girls, her once excitable desire for adventure is soon relinquished as she realises that not everyone has such good manners as she.

Being only working class, Agnes Grey has an incredibly satirical narrative, exposing to the reader the never-ending coquetry of characters such as Rosalie, a later pupil of Miss Grey, and how others such as Rosalie's sister Matilda may pick up bad habits from their far-too-fond-of-alcohol fathers. I especially liked the dashed out swear words such as "d-n" that terrible Tilly uses. It made me laugh to think of a typical Victorian lady reading Agnes Grey and falling off her seat in shock when none other than a young lady could say such a scandalous word.

Agnes Grey is a feel-good sort of book that mainly anyone can read. It makes the reader think - ah well my life may be rubbish now but maybe eventually a vaguely handsome priest with a good heart will turn up and sweep me off my feet. Or something...

By Jess

1 comment:

  1. I like your review, thank you :-) I am writing a thesis about Agnes Grey and does share several of your ideas.. Best wishes,