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‘Patience Firmness and Perseverance were my only weapons’ Agnes Grey 1847 was Anne Bronte’s first novel and a poignant account of her own experience as a struggling governess obliged to earn her living in one of the few ways open to an educated Victorian girlAgnes is not a romantic heroine such as those we find in the books of Anne’s sisters Charlotte and Emily but her story paints a realistic picture of what happens when an intelligent sensitive young woman has to endure months of isolation and frustration in an unsympathetic household that is not her home


10 thoughts on “Agnes Grey

  1. says:

    Out of all Bronte books Agnes Grey is definitely the one that reads as if written by a pastor's daughter There is just a very familiar uality to it a mix of self righteousness martyrdom and judgment characteristic of Christian romances yes I have read a couple back in the day Not even once during the course of the novel does Agnes make a mistake and therefore she doesn't evolve change She is just the most perfectest creature ever who is mistreated by everyone around her The beginning part of the novel is particularly jarring in this respect her never ending complaints about the family she works for as a governess are annoying Yes the kids are spoiled and the parents are ignorant but Agnes herself has absolutely no experience with kids or teaching and in a dire need of Supernanny's advice The things are not much better once Agnes moves to her second place of employment Here of course everyone is bad too Except the love interest who is a minister naturally It seems to be Agnes' main purpose to observe and document everyone's follies from her employees' to fellow servants' I say enough already In spite of the whiny voice of the main character and continuous moralizing the novel is not a complete loss however Anne Brontë's talent for social critic reveals itself in the latter part of the novel Her portrayal of naughty Murray sisters is delicious Dare I say you can hear the voice of Jane Austen in some of the passages? And how about those spoiled kids who act as if they are serial killers in the making? I can't not give the author credit for writing about that On the other hand the romance is a bit of a disappointment It is nothing like twisted and complex relationships in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights It is a tepid affair culminating in a passionate elbow touching Oh well it's not a bad first effort I know The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is much better


  2. says:

    It pains me to only give this three stars mainly because of the tremendous respect I have for what the three Bronte sisters accomplished in their short lives and because Anne was overshadowed by her older sisters Charlotte and Emily Agnes Grey the first of Anne's two novels 1847 was overshadowed by Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre also published in 1847 But Agnes Grey did two things one it gave us insight into Anne's life her feelings because it was partly autobiographical reflecting her experience as a governess for several years; and two it helped Anne to open up her literary potential which she used to write her second novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall While it is lesser known than her older sister's classic masterpieces it's uality puts it at the same level of excellence in my opinion The three sisters Charlotte Emily and Anne died at the ages of 38 31 and 29 It staggers the mind to think what they may have accomplished if they had lived another 25 or 30 years But what they did accomplish was literary immortality all three of them and for that I say thank you ladies well done


  3. says:

    In 1847 Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre was published her sister Emily's book also Wuthering Heights and finally the 3rd sister Anne's Agnes Grey The first two became classics the other one until recently almost forgotten An autobiographical novel with a simple plot Poor clergyman's daughter becomes a governess to rich snobs in order not to be a burden to her family The father Richard lost his money in a bad investment his ship didn't come in it sank worse yet he owes money too Agnes's parents and older sister Mary and she must struggle to survive It doesn't help that Richard Grey goes into a deep prolonged depression always brooding and becomes nearly useless Growing up Agnes knows little about the rest of the world seeing only her relatives and educated by them Reading was her escape from a dull secluded life After much persuasion the unthinkable idea Anne gets permission to leave home and find work twenty miles from her house in Yorkshire the eighteen year old has secured a position with the Bloomfield family Four children Tom7 Mary Ann 6 Fanny 4 and Harriet 2 all brats the little boy likes torturing captured birds The invariably kindhearted Miss Grey is powerless to prevent such cruelties Mrs Bloomfield doesn't care and had given her a cold reception putting Agnes in her place as a lowly governess The new servant uickly becomes disillusioned the world is a harsh place indeed The children disobey her ridicule Agnes and teaching them becomes impossible The father is never around can't be bothered She gets dismissed and returns home to the drab parsonage but Agnes will try again this time seventy miles away yet another unpleasant experience The Murray's have older children two young boys and Rosalie at 16 very pretty almost a woman but immature and selfish her tomboyish younger sister Matilda she would rather ride her horses than dress up for dances Her only happiness is the curate she Agnes had met Edward Weston while visiting a sick old woman still the plain looking girl knows her limitations Soon silly Rosalie with much encouragement from her social climbing callous mother becomes engaged to a rich evil drunkard and barbaric aristocrat Lord Ashby The flirtatious Rosalie marries him at a proper age but loves another Agnes had warned her but was laughed at just a common servant It is all about money and social position Of course later on she will greatly regret her choice you can't sleep with gold it gives no warmth A chance meeting with Mr Edward Weston a man she never thought would see again months after Agnes had left her work on a lonely uiet beach in Scarborough early in the morning as the glorious sun rose the two watching the lovely sight silently no words were necessary they knew what each felt


  4. says:

    for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner So here we are finding consolation in reading about the reality of schooling in a novel published almost two centuries ago That uote is true my dear Agnes alias Anne And how come we still don't uote you on each curriculum on each report card on each test result?Well that is because you let your governess alter ego discover the other eternal truth as well known to teachers of all curricula namely that many parents may CLAIM to want to hear the truth about their children and they may CLAIM to want them to learn and work studiously but in reality what they want to hear is praise of their offspring's uniue genius and they also want to be spared the parental effort it takes to instil respect and love of learning in their children which is contrary to their natural desire to feel superior to the person assigned to take care of the schoolingBeing a governess in upper class Victorian England might sound like a completely different work experience when we compare it to being a school teacher in contemporary Sweden but it is not Where effort is avoided and students are indulged to avoid short term tantrums and conflicts the exact same situation occurs A teacher trying to commit to a calling a profession will always be the first target for self involved parents without true inclination for genuine education Targeting the children is too close to self criticismWhat I learned yet again from reading Agnes Grey is that human nature is the same over time and space and that change can only happen on an individual voluntary level Parenting matters than anything else in the world The ideas we give our children on how to treat our fellow human beings and on how to approach the privilege of being educated and well cared for still make all the difference for their development Tell students that the teacher is inferior to their parents and should be treated like a servant and nothing the teacher teaches the students will be judged worth knowing Tell them on the other hand that learning is the magical gate towards a self determined and independent life and that the teacher holds the key to the gate and the children will be sponges soaking up whatever knowledge they can collect It is all about the mindset we give our childrenOn the sidelines of the main social issue the hardship of young educated women trying to succeed in the teaching profession Agnes Grey manages to describe another ordeal of vulnerable female characters the marrying business One might get the notion that a woman can only choose between Scylla and Charybdis when making her path between the inhumane treatment of governesses and the eternal unhappiness following a conventional loveless marriageHad the youngest Brontë sister lived longer she might have found a third path for herself that of a successful writer As it is she remains forever contemporary in her honest and critical assessment of social injustice in her own time based on firsthand experience and accurate rendering of basic psychological structures in upper class parentingIs it making me feel hope or despair to realise that there never were any good ol' times? I don't know I think it makes me feel hope that ANY society no matter how dysfunctional and discriminating can occasionally see the rise of brave and independent spirits like AgnesAnne who dare to speak up for change To be the change To say and act on what is true for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner


  5. says:

    Agnes Grey Anne Brontë Agnes Grey A Novel is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë The novel follows Agnes Grey a governess as she works within families of the English gentry Scholarship and comments by Anne's sister Charlotte Brontë suggest the novel is largely based on Anne Brontë's own experiences as a governess for five years Agnes Grey is the daughter of Mr Grey a minister of modest means and Mrs Grey a woman who left her wealthy family and married purely out of love Mr Grey tries to increase the family's financial standing but the merchant he entrusts his money to dies in a wreck and the lost investment plunges the family into debt Agnes her sister Mary and their mother all try to keep expenses low and bring in extra money but Agnes is frustrated that everyone treats her like a child To prove herself and to earn money she is determined to get a position as a governess Eventually she obtains a recommendation from a well placed acuaintance is offered a position and secures her parents' permission With some misgivings she travels to Wellwood house to work for the Bloomfield family تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دوازدهم ماه آگوست سال 2014 میلادیعنوان اگنس گری ؛ نویسنده آن برونته؛ مترجم افسانه وفا؛ ویراستار ارسلان فقیهی؛ تهران، آفرینگان، 1380؛ در 280ص؛ شابک 9649021779؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی سده 19معنوان اگنس گری ؛ نویسنده آن برونته؛ مترجم رضا رضایی؛ تهران نشر نی، ‏‫1391؛ در 259ص؛ شابک 9789641852773؛ چاپ دوم 1393؛ چاپ سوم 1395؛ چاپ چهارم 1396؛‬ چاپ چنجم 1397؛نقل از متن ترجمه جناب رضایی «فصل یک خانه کشیشی؛ سرگذشتهای واقعی همه گنجینه ی پند و عبرتند، منتها در بعضی از سرگذشتها پیدا کردن این گنجینه خیلی زحمت دارد، و تازه، پیدا هم که میشود، نتیجه ی آن قدر ناچیز و خالی از کار درمیآید که آدم میبیند اصلاً به زحمتش نمیارزیده؛ من صلاحیت ندارم که بگویم سرگذشت من از این نوع است یا نه؛ گاهی فکر میکنم شاید به درد عده ای بخورد، و عده ای هم شاید سرشان با آن گرم شود؛ به هرحال، ناشناختگی، دلگرم به گذر سالها، و با کمک چند اسم ساختگی، ترس و دلهره را کنار گذاشته ام، و میخواهم رک و صریح، چیزهایی را برای همه تعریف کنم، که حتی به صمیمی ترین دوستم، حاضر نیستم بگویم؛ پدرم کشیشی بود اهل شمال انگلستان، و بحق مورد احترام همه ی کسانی که او را میشناختند؛ در سالهای جوانی با مقرری مختصر کشیشی، و ملک کوچک دنجش زندگی نسبتا راحتی داشت؛ مادرم، که برخلاف آرزوی دوستان و نزدیکانش زن او شده بود، دختر یک ملاّک بود، و خیلی هم با دل و جرئت؛ به او گفته بودند که اگر زن آن کشیش بی چیز بشود، باید از خیر کالسکه و خدمتکار خود بگذرد، همین طور تجملات و زرق و برقهای رفاه و آسایش، که برای او دست کمی از ضروریات زندگی نداشت؛ اما همه این حرفهایی که به او میزدند بیفایده بود؛ کالسکه و خدمتکار البته مایه آسایش و راحتی بودند، اما شکر خدا مادرم دوتا پا داشت، که با آنها هرجا میخواست میرفت، و دوتا هم دست که با آنها کارهای لازم را پیش میبرد؛ خانه مجلل با باغ و محوطه بزرگ، چیزی نبود که آدم از آن بدش بیاید، ولی مادرم حاضر بود در کلبه ای کوچک با ریچارد گرِی زندگی کند اما در قصری بزرگ با هیچ مرد دیگر عالم زندگی نکند؛ پدرش، بعد از کلی جرّ و بحث بی نتیجه، بالاخره به عاشق و معشوق گفت اگر میخواهند با هم ازدواج کنند حرفی ندارد، اما دخترش را از تمام ثروتش محروم خواهد کرد؛ فکر میکرد به این ترتیب آتش عشق و علاقه هر دو نفر فروکش میکند، اما اشتباه میکرد پدرم به حدی قدر مادرم را میدانست که میفهمید او وجودش یعنی ثروت؛ اگر کلبه محقرش را با قدومش روشن میکرد، با کمال میل با هر شرایطی شوهرش میشد؛ مادرم هم حاضر بود با دستهای خودش همه کارها را انجام بدهد اما از مرد محبوبش دور نباشد، مردی که سعادتش سعادت او بود و جسم و روحش با او یکی به این ترتیب، ثروتش رفت به جیب خواهری که عاقلتر بود و با تازه به دوران رسیده ای ازدواج کرده بود، که از هند برگشته بود؛ مادرم در میان حیرت و دلسوزی همه کسانیکه او را میشناختند، رفت خودش را دفن کرد، در خانه ی محقر کشیش دهکده ای در میان تپه های ناحیه؛ با اینحال، به رغم همه ی این مسائل، و به رغم دل و جرئتی که مادرم از خودش نشان داد و بیعقلیهایی که پدرم مرتکب شد، بله، با همه اینها، به نظرم اگر کل انگلستان را زیر و رو میکردید بعید بود زوجی خوشبختتر از این دو نفر پیدا کنید؛ از شش تا بچه، فقط من و خواهرم مری از خطرات نوزادی و طفولیت جان به در بردیم من که پنج شش سال از مری کوچکتر بودم، همیشه بچه به حساب میآمدم و عزیز دردانه ی خانواده بودم؛ پدر و مادر و خواهرم بدعادتم میکردند، نه با لوس کردنهای احمقانه ای که بداخلاق و سرکشم کند، بلکه با محبت کردنهای بی وقفه ای که دست و پاچلفتی و وابسته ام میکرد و نمیگذاشت آماده بشوم که با دغدغه ها و تلاطمهای زندگی در بیفتم؛ من و مری در انزوای کامل بزرگ شدیم؛ مادرم که فضل و سوادی داشت و به انواع هنرها آراسته بود، و درعین حال آدمی نبود که بیکار بنشیند، تعلیم و تربیت ما را خودش به عهده گرفت؛ همه چیز به ما یاد میداد، جز زبان لاتینی، که این یکی را پدرم به عهده گرفته بود؛ به این ترتیب، ما حتی مدرسه هم نرفتیم و چون هیچ مجلس و محفلی هم دور و بر ما نبود، کل معاشرتی که با عالم و آدم داشتیم خلاصه میشد به مهمانی عصرانه رسمی و سنگین و رنگینی که گاهی با حضور مزرعه دارها و کسبه اصلی ناحیه برگزار میشد تا پشت سرمان حرف درنیاورن،د که دماغمان را بالا میگیریم و با دور و بریها اختلاط نمیکنیم سالی یکبار میرفتیم منزل پدربزرگ پدریمان؛ اما در آنجا هم تنها کسانی که میدیدیم خود پدربزرگمان بود با مادر بزرگ مهربانمان و عمه ترشیده مان؛ گاهی مادرم برای ما داستانها و حکایتهای جالبی از جوانیهایش میگفت که حسابی سرمان با آنها گرم میشد، اما بعضی وقتها هم میل گنگ و مبهمی ایجاد میکرد لااقل در من برای دیدن چیزهای بیشتر؛ فکر میکردم که لابد خیلی خوش بود، اما هیچوقت به نظرم نرسید که افسوس گذشته ها را خورده باشد؛ با اینحال، پدرم که ذاتا ساکت و آرام بود، نه پرحرف و شلوغ، خیلی وقتها بیخود و بیجهت خودش را میخورد و به این فکر میکرد که همسر عزیزش به خاطر او از چه چیزهایی چشم پوشیده؛ مدام به ذهن خودش فشار میآورد و محض خاطر مادرم و ما بچه ها نقشه های مختلفی برای افزایش دادن مال و اموال مختصرش میکشید؛ مادرم همه اش میگفت از زندگیش خیلی راضی است، اما فایده نداشت، و پدرم کوتاه نمیآمد؛ مادرم به او میگفت که اگر فقط کمی برای بچه ها کنار بگذارد برای همه کفایت میکند، چه حالا و چه در آینده؛ اما پدرم اصلاً اهل پس انداز نبود البته بدهی بالا نمیآورد لااقل مادر حواسش بود که این طور نشود، ولی پدرم پول توی جیبش بند نمیشد و خرج میکرد؛ دوست داشت خانه و کاشانه اش راحت باشد، و همسر و دخترهایش خوب بپوشند و سرشان را بالا بگیرند؛ درعین حال، آدم خیری بود و دوست داشت در حد وُسع خودش، یا به قول عده ای خارج از حد وُسع خودش، به آدمهای بیچیز کمک کند؛ بالاخره، روزی دوست شفیقی به او گفت چه طور میتواند دارایی اش را یکشبه دو برابر کند، و بعد هم باز دو برابرش کند، تا بالاخره سر به فلک بکشد؛ این دوست شفیق پدرم تاجر بود، مرد خوش روحیه ای که استعداد بیچون و چرایی داشت؛ به علت کمبود سرمایه دستش در تجارت بسته بود، اما در عوض دلش باز بود و با سخاوت بینظیری میخواست پدرم را در سود تجارتش شریک کند، فقط به این شرط که هرچه پس انداز کرده، به او بسپارد؛ قول صددرصد هم میداد که هر مبلغی که پدرم در اختیارش بگذارد، با سود صددرصد به او برمیگرداند اموال مختصر پدری به سرعت فروخته شد و کل مبلغ به کف باکفایت تاجر شفیق سپرده شد؛ او هم بلافاصله بارش را بست و آماده سفر دریایی شد؛ پدرم خوشحال بود؛ ما هم از فکر آینده تابناکمان خوشحال بودیم؛ البته عجالتا قناعت کرده بودیم به عواید ناچیز وظایف کشیشی، اما پدرم فکر میکرد لازم نیست زیاد هم سخت بگیریم و از خرجمان بزنیم تا مساوی دخلمان بشود؛ به این ترتیب، با خریدهای نسیه از مغازه آقای جکسن، و همین طور مغازه اسمیت و مغازه هابسن، اموراتمان راحت میگذشت، حتی راحتتر از قبل البته مادرم میگفت که بهتر است پایمان را از گلیممان درازتر نکنیم، چون به ثروت آینده نمیشد مطمئنِ مطمئن بود؛ میگفت پدرم اگر کارها را به او بسپارد وضعی پیش نمیآید که به او سخت بگذرد؛ اما، در این مورد خاص، پدرم اصلاح ناپذیر بود؛ من و مری چه روزهای خوشی را سپری میکردیم؛ با وسایل خیاطیمان کنار بخاری مینشستیم، یا وسط تپه های بوته زار میپلکیدیم، یا پای درخت بیدمجنون که تنها درخت درست و حسابی باغ بود ول میگشتیم، و با خودمان و پدر و مادرمان از خوشبختی آینده حرف میزدیم، از کارهایی که قرار بود بکنیم، جاهایی که قرار بود ببینیم، و چیزهایی که قرار بود بخریم؛ این دنیای جذابی که برای خودمان تصور میکردیم هیچ مبنای محکمی نداشت جز ثروتی که منتظر بودیم بعد از تعبیرشدن آرزوهای تاجر محترم به طرف ما سرازیر بشود؛ پدرمان هم دست کمی از ما نداشت؛ فقط وانمود میکرد که زیاد جدی نمیگیرد؛ امیدهای تابناک و آرزوهای خوش خود را با شوخیها و متلکهایی بیان میکرد که برای من خیلی بامزه و جالب بودند؛ مادرمان که او را این قدر امیدوار و خوشحال میدید از ته دل میخندید، اما باز نگران بود که مبادا پدرمان دلش را زیاد به این قضیه خوش کرده باشد؛ یک روز، موقعی که مادرم از اتاق خارج میشد، شنیدم که زیرلب میگفت «خدا کند خودش را نبازد نمیدانم چه طور تحمل میکند» اما خودش را باخت؛ بدجور هم باخت؛ انگار صاعقه نازل شده باشد، باخبر شدیم که کشتی بخت ما غرق شده و با کل موجودی اش به عمق آب رفته، همینطور چند نفر از خدمه اش، و طفلکی خود تاجر بدشانس من به خاطر او غصه خوردم به خاطر فروریختن همه قصرهای خیالیمان هم غصه خوردم، اما به لطف جوانیم خیلی زود از این ضربه کمر راست کردم»؛ پایان نقلا شربیانی


  6. says:

    Having watched recently the film To Walk Invisible and having also finished not long ago Wuthering Heights while I was reading this I could not but imagine the two sisters Emily and Anne sitting around the same table either in the dining room or in the kitchen each leaning over a very small notebook and writing away their novels in silence Both sharing and not sharing; keeping each other’s company but also guarding the privacy of their thoughts and their writing from the other sisterAnd I wondered how was it possible that on the same table those two notebooks were filling with such different fiction How could these two sisters apparently so similar in character with the same upbringing and similar experiences produce such different works With Emily’s novel made me dread the falling into Hell while Anne’s account of a governess made me at times wished for a redeeming Hell Agnes Grey is a governess to her very core Not one does she lose her very proper identity Even in moments of weakness she does not doubt for an instance her exemplary view of the world For even if she is very convincing in her neutrality and perfection that stands out against the rest of the always faulty characters the reader can at times uestion whether things or people are as outlandish as she presents them to be I acknowledge that I felt at times like sticking my tongue out at Agnes in a purifying act of rebellionMay be it was the language always so composed so correct so balanced so measured so poised that made me want to scream or swear or run awayThere was one moment in which I had some hope In a scene I felt that finally Agnes could feel some spite But no she immediately corrected the suspicion and states that I derived a secret gratification from the fact not that she was vexed but that she thought she had reason to be so Definitely no hope for she continues It made me think my hopes were not entirely the offspring of my wishes and imaginationThis non novel is nonetheless an extraordinary account of what a curious creature of a governess in mid 19C England was While reading it was inevitable not to ponder about the restricted world for women and how at this time they needed to fit in a necessary but also potentially alarming education The account is also saturated with comments on social differences which made me wonder how conscious was Anne Brönte of the political dimension of some of her sentences It was disagreeable to walk behind and thus appear to acknowledge my own inferiority; for in truth I considered myself pretty nearly as good as the best of them and wished them to know that I did so and not to imagine that I looked upon myself as a mere domestic who know her own place to walk beside such fine ladies and gentlemen as they wereAnd soon onto The Tenant of Wildfell Hall


  7. says:

    Aside from the fact that Agnes Grey's love interest chides her for being a perfect bookworm and says Except under particular circumstances I consider very close and constant study as a waste of time and an injury to the mind as well as the body this is a sweet and tender love story


  8. says:

    Agnes Grey is Anne Bronte’s first attempt at a novel It is partly autobiographic Young Anne Bronte worked as a governess with a view to support her family Her time as a governess made her see the precarious position of a governess; they were not servants and nor of the family This made both uarters at a loss as how to treat a governess Anne’s time as a governess were filled with bitter experiences and it is not surprising that at Anne’s first attempt at writing that she should bring a female protagonist Agnes who undergoes a similar fate as her as a governess Charlotte Bronte in her “Biographical notice of Ellis and Acton Bell 1850” stated that “hers Anne’s was naturally a sensitive reserved and dejected nature; what she saw sank very deeply into her mind; it did her harm She brooded over it till she believed it a duty to reproduce every detail of course with fictitious characters incidents and situations” While Charlotte thought that Anne’s personal experiences and observations did her harm I think they helped her produce two great literary works which served to convey strong messages to the Victorian society The main reason Anne wanted to write the novel was to bring to the light the many difficulties indignities discriminations a governess faces while carrying out their duties She wanted the society to know them to view things from a governess’s point of view It is said that many society ladies of the day have expressed their wishes to treat their governesses differently after reading the book This in itself is the reward for her labours This shows how successful her story was As the title implies the story of Agnes Grey is focused on the protagonist Agnes Grey who is also the narrator of the story The story flows from Agnes’s childhood to her position as governess and teacher to her marriage and motherhood If you take the story itself it is a very simple one One cannot even say it is an exciting story except perhaps towards the end Yet the story binds you with such power that you cannot put it down It draws you in with its honesty and earnestness Agnes is not perfect; she has her goodness and many weaknesses She honestly bares her life to the reader without reservation or justification This uality in narration makes the readers like Agnes They can sympathize with her and also empathize with her Anne’s character employment is clever; the supporting characters she employs in the story helps to bring out and develop the character of Agnes This is so successfully done for even if you don’t like Agnes at the beginning she slowly grows on you and you end up liking herAnne’s writing is beautiful It may not have the imagination of Emily or the passionate ranting of Charlotte but there is an earnestness a truthfulness a boldness and a tranuility It is her writing that captures me This is not to say that I don’t like the writing of Emily or Charlotte but Anne’s writing is special It is one of the reasons among other things that Anne has become my favourite Bronte Also I feel Anne’s style is Austenian following the writing of the Regency period Her subject matter is essentially Victorian but the gravity of Victorian writing is absent from her work Instead she has adopted the light and beautiful writing of the preceding Regency period Agnes Grey is a sensitive story just like Anne’s other novel The Tenant of the Wildfell Hall I love this sensitivity and I love Anne for her sensitivity The read was interesting and engaging I enjoyed it It is a pity that such a talent was taken away at a young age of thirty before her potentials could be fully realized However for her limited life she gifted two great works to the literary world And we readers will forever be grateful for her for her literary contribution


  9. says:

    45 starsI’ve been conscious for a while of not having read anything by Anne Bronte and decided it was time to remedy that This is Anne Bronte’s first novel and has the reputation of being not as good as the second; however I certainly felt that it had its strengths The story is straightforward; Agnes Grey is the daughter of a clergyman whose family finds itself is straightened circumstances Agnes decides she must contribute to the family finances and takes a post of a governess There is an account of her time as a governess in two families The account paints a fairly bleak picture of life as a governess and of the role of women of a certain class This is certainly based on Anne’s own experience apart from the romance at the end Anne Bronte has always been seen as a lesser writer than her two sisters; this isn’t my impression Agnes Grey is a strong minded woman who very much has a sense of independence “to go out into the world; to act for myself; to exercise my unused faculties; to try my own unknown powers; to earn my own maintenance” At the end of the novel when she marries Weston the usual Victorian formula would be that he is rescuing her and providing her with hearth and home The perceptive reader will realise that he is not rescuing her but she is rescuing him Agnes can be very self effacing at times and her piety I found somewhat irritating but she is a much stronger character than many Victorian heroinesThe nature of work that women of Agnes’s type have to do is portrayed as thankless and degrading with cruel employers and children whom are ungovernable and with no respect to someone they treat as a servant I think Anne’s portrayal of men is very much different to her sisters There are no smouldering Byronic heroes like Rochester and Heathcliffe Most of the men are shallow and self absorbed Her idea of a leading man is also different; Weston is not heroic or good looking He is serious bookish kind with obvious faults and vulnerabilities; very unlike the men her sisters created This makes her books less easy to film; producers like strong male leadsI was surprised to find that Anne Bronte is much radical than her sisters She is concerned about the rights and working conditions of women who work in virtual slavery in domestic service and portrays the upper and moneyed classes who employ them as cruel and unscrupulous Shades of a socialist and feminist approach to life and no swooning over emotionally stunted heroes Agnes Grey does not need Weston at the end of the book; she is running a school with her mother and they are independent It is a positive choice I would urge those of you who have not read Anne Bronte yet to do so


  10. says:

    My favorite of the Brontes is Anne This is my favorite of her novelsIn this and Jane Eyre we have governess eye views of the gentry In Jane Eyre Jane manages to make herself central her suffering in being a governess; in Agnes Grey there is a meticulous look at the thin veneer of civilization over the soi disant gentry who have all the money and manner but utterly no moral center The examination of this family is one of the most effective pieces of uiet horror in literature I think because it resonates as true Far effective than Charlotte's madwoman in the attic histrionics Though those too smack of reality but not a reality known to Charlotte I blame Byronic fanfiction for that as well as for Emily's oeuvre and Anne's own Tenant Rereading for a book group again it strikes me how very good Anne was at observations of human behavior though a sense of Anne is difficult to find Agnes Grey is nearly invisible uite a contrast to Charlotte's books which convey a powerful sense of Charlotte front and center And Emily was different from both writing straight from the id vortex