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Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
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Agnes Grey (original 1847; edition 2005)

by Anne Brontë (Author)

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3,4361031,568 (3.56)2 / 362
Member:KingRat
Title:Agnes Grey
Authors:Anne Brontë (Author)
Info:New York, NY : Barnes & Noble Classics, 2005.
Collections:Digital copies, To read
Rating:
Tags:fiction

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Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë (1847)

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Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte was originally published in 1847 and feels much like a biography, based as it is on the author’s experiences as a governess working among families of the English gentry. Becoming a governess was at that time pretty much the only way a woman could earn a respectable living. The author does capture the awkwardness of being caught between the classes, she is above the servants, but not on the same level as those she works for. Even bearing in mind her upbringing and the time, I didn’t really like Agnes Grey, finding her rather judgmental and stiff although she did mellow quite a bit by the end of the book.

The story tells of the two positions that Miss Grey was in, first with the Bloomfield family and then with the Murray family. The Bloomfield children were absolute horrors and she had no back up from the parents whatsoever. The Murray children were somewhat older and presented Miss Grey with a whole new set of behavioral problems. The eldest daughter was vain and self-centered and the other daughter was given to rough behavior and cursing like a stable boy. Being a governess was a very difficult job as on the one hand you are held responsible for the behavior of your charges but on the other you are meant to be invisible, there, but in the background.

Being the daughter of a minister, herself, it came as no surprise that it is the local curate that sees beyond the governess to the woman that she is. Agnes returns his regard, but at the same time her elder charge was using all the men in the neighborhood to practice her wiles one, including the curate, Mr. Weston. Then Agnes gives up her position and returns home when her father dies. She and her mother open a small school but one day, while on a walk she again meets Mr. Weston who now lives in a nearby parsonage.

The character of Agnes Grey was that of a very moral and religious young woman and it was very easy to see the parallels between this fictional character and the author herself. And although the book seemed to have an abrupt ending, I thought it was nice that the author wanted her governess to have that happy ending that she herself did not. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 20, 2017 |
2/2014 ( )
  moonlight_reads | Dec 11, 2016 |
Agnes Grey (Classic)
This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

Synopsis
Young Agnes must venture forth into the big bad world to earn her living since her father ignored her mother's advice and lost all their money.

My Thoughts
Agnes is a sheltered young woman who goes out to earn money to help relieve the family problems due to her father's speculation.
But since she's not of the laboring class, she can only do certain kinds of work because heaven forbid she do something below her station. So she goes through several families as a governess.

And this is where my snark and meany side kicked in. Agnes expects that she can reason with the children to make them act in the way she wants, as she doesn't have the authority or backing from the parents to make the children do things. The first family has a young boy as the oldest. Have you ever tried to reason with a young boy? Yeah, it doesn't work so much. Even if he's a good boy. And such like.

And remember that "class/station" thing? Well, Agnes gets all riled up when the people she is working for treat her like a servant and ignore her and don't ask her to in their social circles.

WELL, BIG FREAKING DUH!

I take that back. She doesn't get riled up. She sermonizes and moralizes to her journal. Which brings up the other thing I didn't like about Agnes. She was a naive, self-righteous milk-sop. Argh.

With all that, you might wonder why I gave it 3 stars. It was well written. It was engaging. It showed me how a closeted young girl would react to the more decadent side of England. I don't know if I want to read Anne's one other book now though. Pure vanilla pudding is ok, but nothing you want to eat a lot of.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Author: Anne Bronte" ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Always trying her best even in the most testing of circumstances, Agnes is the epitome of conscientiousness. ( )
  siok | Nov 28, 2016 |
Here is the only realistic Brontë who faithfully captures the idealised-but-often-unrewarding profession of teaching and the hapless circumstances which produce governesses in the nineteenth century. The novel is in essence a therapeutic exercise for Brontë, in which she lists all the ways parents and children can be terrible.

We begin with Grey's useless father, whose lack of commonsense in money verges on ridiculous, and the impractical mother, whose belief that love coquers all borders on insanity. This romanticism of poverty passes onto the naïve Grey who endures the necessary hardships of unruly students and helicopter parents. The freshness of Brontë is that Grey does not win over the children and they do not magically improve a la Sound of Music. Instead, the pupils remain horrid and it is clear that the fault does not lie solely with them. Grey herself is obviously inexperienced and portrayed accordingly, she is not a capable governess, lacking the temperament and the robust health required.

With the ever-so-slightly sweetly unromantically-romantic romance, the novel makes no pretences about the real hardships of governesses but injects just the tiniest bit of wishful romantic fulfilment as it is a story after all, not a miserable autobiography. ( )
  kitzyl | Nov 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Anneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brockway, HarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desai, AnitaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Douglas, HazelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fox, EmiliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goreau, AngelineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglesfield, RobertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaarma, JüriIllustreerija,secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kepler, RagneTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kipp, SabineNachwortsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuusik, TerjeToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, AnneTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lopez, Menchu GutierrezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsden, HildaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, AnthonyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruohtula, KaarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwarzbach, FredIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shuttleworth, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, AnneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suess, Barbara A.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut.
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It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior.
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Book description
Agnes Grey is forced by the poverty ensuing on her father's death to seek work as a governess, the only employment available to middle-class young women of the time. Her humiliating first position lasts only six months, but she is soon employed by the Murray family. Tormented by the coquettish Rosalie and the student tomboy Matilda, she finds her position increasingly lonely and difficult. Only Mr Weston, the poor, plain curate shows any kindness, and Rosalie seems bent on his conquest. Anne Bronte knew only too well what is was to be a governess - "your efforts baffled and set at nought by those beneath you, and unjustly censured by those above". With Agnes Grey she created an impassioned account of a role which stripped so many Victorian women of their dignity. And, reinforcing her insistence on a woman's right to personal freedom, vividly presents the natural landscape as a mirror to her heroine's inner life.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140432108, Paperback)

When her family becomes impoverished after a disastrous financial speculation, Agnes Grey determines to find work as a governess in order to contribute to their meagre income and assert her independence. But Agnes' enthusiasm is swiftly extinguished as she struggles first with the unmanageable Bloomfield children and then with the painful disdain of the haughty Murray family; the only kindness she receives comes from Mr Weston, the sober young curate. Drawing on her own experience, Anne Bronte's first novel offers a compelling personal perspective on the desperate position of unmarried, educated women for whom becoming a governess was the only respectable career open in Victorian society.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:05 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When her family becomes impoverished after a disastrous financial speculation, Agnes Grey determines to find work as a governess in order to contribute to their meagre income and assert her independence. But Agnes' enthusiasm is swiftly extinguished as she struggles first with the unmanageable Bloomfield children and then with the painful disdain of the haughty Murray family; the only kindness she receives comes from Mr Weston, the sober young curate. Drawing on her own experience, Anne Bronte's first novel offers a compelling personal perspective on the desperate position of unmarried, educated women for whom becoming a governess was the only respectable career open in Victorian society.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 17 descriptions

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