In my first blog post titled “What I Hope to Learn About Victorian Literature”, I discussed how I was interested in learning about how Victorian writers connected their lives and world around them to their writing.
After reading the wide range of works that Dr. Schacht had presented us with in the course, I feel as though that goal was fulfilled and I learned a lot of interesting things about the people and world of Victorian England through the literature.
Beginning with the first part of the semester we saw the great disconnect among people from the world around them. I am always interested in seeing how women were treated during time periods so reading about Harriet Martineau and George Eliot’s views on Margaret Fuller and Mary Wollstencraft was interesting as both gave well developed insight into how a Victorian woman may have seen the world around them. This was further seen in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and how Bronte presents us with different depictions of women from the strong willed Catherine Earnshaw who unfortunately succumbed to societal expectations of her, to Isabella Linton being able to escape from the wrath of Heathcliff.
Further, I thought exploring how class was a large factor in how citizens were treated was also interesting. This was the first time I had read both Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Both novels were excellent ways in depicting the class differences. Further, after hearing other groups report their findings from their research about Bronte and Dickens’ lives, it is evident that some aspects of their personal lives made it into their works such as the Bronte’s unfortunate illnesses and Dickens’ story being similar to Pip’s through a rags to riches story.
To add, seeing how certain writers were looking toward the future through their writing was interesting. From Oscar Wilde’s writing on prisons and how reform must change in terms of the justice system to Amy Levy’s perspective on Jewish society and how it should be depicted in literature, both were interesting to examine from a Victorian’s point of view.
Overall I thought that the variety of different literature we read this semester gave me perspective into how a Victorian may have seen the world around them regardless of their gender, religion, class, etc.