Literary Period Analysis: Victorian Era


I will be analyzing the Victorian literary
time period. The Victorian era was in Great Britain during
the reign of queen Elizabeth from 1837-1901. It was the age of humor, nostalgia and happiness.
The serialized novel was extremely popular, but satire was not. There were many changes
during this time period, which unfortunately caused many issues. During the Industrial Revolution, products
were manufactured so cheaply that wages plummeted. Child labor was usually used to bring in more
money to their families. Without any labor regulations, workers had poor working conditions
which manifested into poor health. In addition to health issues, The Great Stink of 1858
caused disease to run rampant through the country. Women’s rights were also an issue
in the Victorian Era. Women began questioning their role in society and pushed for more
rights. Lastly, the industrial revolution caused a boom in population size, a demographic
shift, and a growing middle class. Victorians highly valued youth and appearance
as exemplified by The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Victorians also began to view
society as animalistic because of Charles Darwins theories. Additionally, some people
were scared that technological advancement would threaten tradition morals and values.
Overall, Victorians were eager for the future, but still sentimental towards the past. Victorians stressed the importance of loyalty,
thoughtful, honesty, and improvement. These ideas were also characterized in The Importance
of being Earnest and Alice in Wonderland. They also stressed the philosophy of utilitarianism
in order to make everyone in society happy. Victorians continued to follow the tradition
nobility ladder, but with a growing middle class, wealth began to determine status as
well. With the Industrial Revolution thriving, the
middle class wanted more control. The working class started a movement called Chartism,
for more rights. Eventually the Reform Acts answered the working class’s demand. With
the Great Stink of 1858 causing such discomfort and disease, sanitation was on the forefront
of political issues. Parliament resolved the issue with various health reform acts. Additionally,
medical advancements were created to more effectively treat the ill. Along with the
working class, women pushed for more rights. Eventually they acquired property and marital
rights, but not yet the right to vote. Although christianity dominated the victorian
era, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection caused people to start
separating from the church. Authors like George Gissing often characterized the idea of natural
selection in works. This was the beginning of science versus creationism. The Industrial Revolution caused the English
economy to boom and created a larger presence as a world power. It modernized business and
industry, but did cause more environmental stress. However, Northern britain industrialized
faster that Southern britain, which did create more conflicts. Victorians often discouraged
against the regulation of businesses, which is now known as laissez-faire economics. I chose two pieces of literature that perfectly
reflect the victorian era. The first is great expectations by charles
dickens. Dickens describes the life of a common boy named Pip. He develops a crush on his
wealthy, snobby neighbor Estella. Pip loves Estella but he is not of the same status of
her. Although Pip eventually comes into money and is of status, he finds that the socioeconomic
ladders works in tricky ways. Dickens reflects just how much victorians valued the socioeconomic
ladder. During the victorian era, it was not only nobility that decided your position,
it was also character and wealth. Dickens also criticizes victorians for their vanity
in assuming the low class as inadequate human beings. He excellently portrays that status
is all relative.Overall, dickens reflects victorians The second piece of literature a the cry of
the children by elizabeth barrett-browning. Her poem describes the terrible conditions
children faced in factories and mines during the Industrial Revolution in England. . Her
rich imagery allows her readers to understand the truth of child labor. Similar to many
authors of their time, Barrett-Browning writes about the social issues in her society and
pushes for change from the public and the government. Although the Industrial Revolution
brought advancements, it also brought issues for the victorian people. Her work exemplifies
the labor issues caused by industrialization in britain.

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