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Agnes Grey
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Agnes Grey > Week 1: Chapters 1-6

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Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
We will be starting off the discussion in this thread.


Helen_in_the_uk I think Agnes was brave to step outside her comfort zone and become a Governess. However, weren't those children awful!! I am totally sympathetic to Agnes and in disbelief at how awful and uncaring all the adults in the house were, particularly the parents. I think Agnes was totally unprepared for children of this type, although I'm not sure that more age/experience would have helped much when the parents (and uncle) were complicit in the children's dreadful behaviour. I believe Agnes did the best she could with the limited resources she was allowed to utilise. I sincerely hope her next position is better.


message 3: by Carolien (last edited Nov 04, 2014 06:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carolien (carolien_s) | 116 comments I found is interesting in the early chapters that Agnes is quite aware of the fact that her mother and sister sheltered her from most chores. I'm not sure in the longer term whether that really was in her interest since she would probably have to be able to do many of those tasks for herself given that her prospects of marriage weren't great.

She also wanted to feel that she was making a contribution to their situation. We all like to feel needed! My young daughters love it when they can help me to make supper or wash and dry dishes. (Their enthusiasm for cleaning up their own toys are normally slightly lower).

Those children were absolutely awful and the parents contributed significantly to their horrible behaviour.


Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
I believe that Agnes Grey, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights were written at about the same time by the sisters. Does anyone who's read all three notice similarities between the books? I would expect them to have influenced each other's writing.


message 5: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 5 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1209 comments Mod
I thought spoiled brats raised by uncaring and lazy parents was a 21st century phenomenon until I read Agnes Grey!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Agnes is if nothing else, an optimist.

What a horrid family were the Bloomfields!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Anastasia wrote: "I believe that Agnes Grey, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights were written at about the same time by the sisters. Does anyone who's read all three notice similarities between the books? I would exp..."

I have not read Jane Eyre yet, but I read Withering Heights in September for GR group read.

I do not see any similarity (so far) between this book Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights. Maybe I will later on.


message 8: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 5 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1209 comments Mod
I have had a class where we read one book by each sister. I prefer Anne Bronte to the other two. The sisters do not have similar styles and their depictions of men are completely different. Here is an article about the sisters' view of men: http://www.theguardian.com/books/book...


Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
☯Emily wrote: "I have had a class where we read one book by each sister. I prefer Anne Bronte to the other two. The sisters do not have similar styles and their depictions of men are completely different. Here i..."

Wow, that was an informative read. Thanks, Emily!

These kids drive me crazy!


message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments I read this a few years ago, but had a chance to re read. Joining in late:-)

Anastasia, I've read all the Bronte's. This novel of Anne's is far softer than either JE and WH. I love her other novel, The Tenant of Wildfell hall, where she tackles the Victorian system's treatment of women with great aplomb. I'd say that that novel has more in common with JE and WH in terms of suspense and setting.
I wish there were more novels by all three sisters, but there's something about Anne's work that is incredibly appealing, and yet she's usually the lesser known.

Thanks for the link Emily.

Yup, also thought these parents were a present day phenomena. How frightening it must have been as a young women to enter into service as a governess, far from home with difficult families! Knowing that your family were depending on you and that you yourself were considered lowly and without rights. Those parents are something else. The children's cruelty toward animal is frightening.

Carolien, I wonder if Agnes had been able to do more and be more independent if she could have been more forceful in the Bloomfield home.

Does anyone know how much of this novel is autobiographical?


message 11: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "Does anyone know how much of this novel is autobiographical? "

The opening of my edition says it was based on her experiences but not everything is autobiographical.


message 12: by Todd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Todd | 10 comments Lisa wrote. "Does anyone know how much of this was autobiographical"

This is from memory - but I think this is right.... Ann and Charlotte both were governesses at points in their early adulthood. I think Ann was a governess when Charlotte and Emily were in Belgium in school. Wasn't the story then that Ann had to quit her job as Governess because her brother was allegedly having an affair with the wife of the family.

I think also there was a good deal of religious thoughts/etc in Agnes. The autobiographical connection being that Ann I believed "roomed" with the aunt who came to run/nurture the family after the mother's death. So the aunt had a larger influence on Ann then the other sisters in this area.

I read Agnes Gray a while ago. I actually liked it more than Tenant but probably because they are worlds apart in the happy not-happy story scale.


message 13: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments Todd, I think you're correct about the governess parts. The rest, I'm unsure.

Have you read Anne's poetry- it contains very strong religious imagery, similar in fact to her fathers


message 14: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments Todd, I think you're correct about the governess parts. The rest, I'm unsure.

Have you read Anne's poetry- it contains very strong religious imagery, similar in fact to her fathers


message 15: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments I think it's time for a Bronte biography!


message 16: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 5 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1209 comments Mod
Ann was a governess for five years and much of this book was written to show how the rich treated their governesses and the abuses that abound.

I found the following quote at http://www.poemhunter.com/anne-bront/...

Little is known about Anne's life during 1838, but in 1839, a year after leaving the school and at the age of nineteen, she was actively looking for a teaching position. As the daughter of a poor clergyman, she needed to earn a living. Her father had no private income and the parsonage would revert to the church on his death. Teaching or being a governess in a private family were among the few options available to poor but educated women. In April, 1839, Anne began to work as a governess with the Ingham family at Blake Hall, near Mirfield.

The children in Anne's charge were spoilt and wild, and persistently disobeyed and tormented her. She experienced great difficulty controlling them, and had almost no success in instilling any education. She was not empowered to inflict any punishment, and when she complained of their behaviour to their parents, she received no support, but was merely criticised for not being capable of her job. The Inghams, unsatisfied with their children's progress, dismissed Anne at the end of the year. She returned home at Christmas, 1839, joining Charlotte and Emily, who had left their positions, and Branwell. The whole episode at Blake Hall was so traumatic for Anne, that she reproduced it in almost perfect detail in her later novel, Agnes Grey.


message 17: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 5 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1209 comments Mod
This is a link that describes the Ingham family who are depicted as the Bloomfield family in Agnes Grey. http://kleurrijkbrontesisters.blogspo...


message 18: by Todd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Todd | 10 comments Lisa wrote "Todd I think you're correct......"

Lisa - I have not read any of Ann's poetry (or more generally anyone's poetry :)). But I'll take a look sometime.

I'd be up for a Bronte bio. The whole family, their dynamics with each other, and their tragedies, are so intriguing. I read through Emily's link which (happily) supported my memory of things and was a very nice summary of Ann's life. Agnes Grey was an extremely likable character and given so much of Agnes must have been Ann herself - it makes one like Ann that much more.


message 19: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Thanks for the links, Emily!


message 20: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 304 comments Thanks Emily


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