Most governesses were from middle-class homes who had to go out find work in order to support their families. When I was writing about Miss Treen in Her Mother’s Daughter, I decided to make her strict, but fair. www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/the-figure-of-the-governess, www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/charlotte-brontes-teaching-career. These accomplishments included speaking French, playing the piano, dance. Agnes’s governess was strict with her, allowing her bland food like porridge, chicken soup and blancmange, not red meat or spices which were thought to inflame the temperament. In contrast to a nanny (formerly called a nurse), she concentrates on teaching children, rather than caring for their physical needs. In modern times, a governess would not be called so.

Governess during Victorian Era: Their duties & role A woman who is employed in a household to train the children and to teach them is identified as a governess. Although the subjects were dictated by parents, the governess was free to design her own timetable for … November 1848 “Briarstone Manor!” The rough shout of the coachman jerked Elizabeth to wakefulness. On occasions she was invited to join the Berry Clays for dinner, but the rest of the time she dined alone in the nursery or schoolroom. In 1847 Charlotte Brontë published Jane Eyre, the story of a governess who eventually marries her employer, the brooding Mr Rochester. Towards the end of the 19th century, the role of the governess started to be noticed in literature. She wrote a letter exclaiming, “I hate and abhor the very thoughts of governess-ship.” (Pfordreshe 2017). New arrivals and old resentments push Agnes to the peripheries, and finally the consequences of one fateful day shatter her dreams for the future. See More. They were given piano lessons or taught how to play any other musical instrument. As a sign of this social limbo she frequently ate on her own, away from the rest of the family and servants. Most governesses lived with their employers and were paid a small salary on top of their board and lodging. She has a grown-up daughter and son. The only possibility open to them was to get a job as a teacher, either in a small girls’ school or in someone else’s home. Heartbroken and surrounded by the threat of scandal, Agnes is faced with a terrible choice: stay and surrender, or flee and fight to keep her freedom. But as times goes on, her life at Windmarsh Court changes. Governess during Victorian Era: Their duties & role, Top 8 Victorian Era Poems That Must Be Read, Victorian era last name generator: Random last and first names. Industry commitment to professional behaviour. The young girls under the tutelage of the Victorian governesses were taught the manners and etiquettes that the girls of the well to do families had to learn. A governess is a women employed in a private household to educate pupils (usually girls) in a range of “accomplishments” ranging from reading to drawing. Female employers often worried that the governess might try to marry one of the young gentlemen of the house. Governesses became increasing popular through the Victorian era for both the Upper and Middle-classes. When a boy was old enough, he left his governess for a tutor or a school. If a particular governess was young and attractive, the lady of the house might well perceive a potential threat to her marriage, and enforce the governess's social exclusion more rigorously. [7], Several well-known works of fiction, particularly in the nineteenth century, have focused on governesses. : The Useful is Blended Throughout with the Agreeable, the Whole Being Interspersed with Proper Reflections and Moral Tales. “Charlotte Bronte's Teaching Career.” Lapham's Quarterly, 2017, www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/charlotte-brontes-teaching-career. According to Harvey Pitcher in When Miss Emmie was in Russia: English Governesses before, during and after the October Revolution,[6] as many as thousands of English-speaking governesses went there. For more on our cookies and changing your settings click here. This was because of the amount of time spent the governess spent with the children during the formative age and the lack of intimacy between children of upper-class households and their mothers. There were few options for ladies required to work, and the majority of the situations were often uncomfortable.

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