Unit 1 - Mid Century Women: Philosophy and Reality

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  • Created by: jxck
  • Created on: 21-04-15 18:51

'Angel in The House'

  • A poem published in 1854 by Coventry Patmore.
  • The poem suggested that a wife's function was to please her husband, not just in bed but by making his home a peaceful haven, and by bringing up his children properly.
  • It made clear that a wife's role was essentially domestic.
  • A perfect 'Angel in the House' wife should be 'Alturistic'; she exists to give pleasure and by giving pleasure, it makes her happy.
  • The poem didn't attract much attention when first published but became increasingly popular in the nineteenth century as women became more vocal with their demands for gender equality.

Key Name and Date:

  • Coventry Patmore
  • 1854
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Seperate Spheres

  • The idea that Men and Women occupy seperate and different sections of society.
  • Men work outside the home, in factories, offices and in government.
  • Women work inside the home, making sure it is suitable for her husband when he returns from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
  • Men should have a wage sufficient to keep a family and married women contributed to society by maintaining and running the family unit.
  • Women could not occupy the same professional sphere as men, if you worked, you were not a lady, as you could not fulfil the 'Angel in the House' role.
  • Occassionally middle-class women could work as dressmakers, milliners or governesses, but to do so signalled to the world that your family had fallen on hard times. 
  • Working-class women would work because they had to. They would often work for middle/upper class women as cooks and maids. This was known as Domestic Service.
  • Men could also go into domestic service but as butlers or boot-boys.
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