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Explain the main aspects of the Victorian novel in terms of: character, plot, story of initiation, formation and

development, point of view (first person, multiple, third person), Gothic elements, tragic vision. Note that the protagonists in Great Expectations, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are orphans, while Tess in Hardys novel is a poor country girl. The plot of all these novels is focused on the initiation and development of the protagonist. Great Expectations and Jane Eyre are first person narratives, and these give more immediacy to their stories. Wuthering Heights uses multiple points of view, and this, together with the tragic aura and sense of strangeness, makes the novel unique in Victorian fiction. Although Tess of the dUrbervilles is written in the third person, it is a character-focused novel which deals with the condition of a 19th century woman in a most sensitive way. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights use Gothic elements: the red room episode and the character of Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre; Wuthering Heights as a setting, the characters of Heathcliff and Catherine, their consuming impossible love and their reunion after death at Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights and Tess of the dUrbervilles articulate a tragic vision. This justified many critics to call them modern tragedies.

The Victorian era is generally agreed to stretch through the reign of Queen Victoria (18371901). Victorian England saw great expansion of wealth, power, and culture.It was a tremendously exciting period when many artistic styles, literary schools, as well as, social, political and religious movements flourished. Culturally, the novel continued to thrive through this time. Among the famous novelists of the time were the critical realists like Charles Dickens, the Bront sisters, and Oscar Wilde, and witnessed a huge expansion in the literary market (partly because of the rise in literacy). The Victorian era was highly conscious of its own relation to the past its heritage or place in history but it also sensed its role in shaping the future. For modern readers, it has come to represent both our literary past and the beginnings of modernity as we experience it today. From a structural point of view we can divide Victorian Novels mainly into three groups: Early-Victorian Novel (or social-problem novel) dealing with social and humanitarian themes realism, criticism of social evils but faith in progress, general optimism ;the main representative was Charles Dickens

Mid-Victorian Novel (novel of purpose) showing Romantic and Gothic elements and a psychological interest. The main representative writers were the Bront sisters and R.L.Stevenson Late- Victorian Novel (naturalistic novel near to European Naturalism) showing a scientific look at human life, objectivity of observation, dissatisfaction with Victorian values. The main representative writers were T.Hardy and O.Wilde. During the Victorian Age for the first time there was a communion of interests and opinions between writers and readers enormous growth of the middle classes who were avid consumers of literature, they borrowed books from circulating libraries and read various periodicals. A great deal of Victorian Literature was first published in instalments in the pages of periodicals, which allowed the writer to feel he was in constant contact with his readers. The novel became the most popular form of literature and also the main form of entertainment since thery were read aloud within the family and offered a realistic, day-to-day portrayal of social life and represented these issues in the stories of the characters. Moreover, novels were models, providing guidance, consolation, wisdom and patterns to follow. Though, the age is characterized as practical and materialistic, most of the writers exalt a purely ideal life. It is an idealistic age where the great ideals like truth, justice, love, brotherhood are emphasized by poets, essayists and novelists of the age. The social life was largely informed by the development of the emerging middle class and the manners and expectations of this class, as opposed to the aristocrat forms dominating previous ages. Victorian novels tend to be idealized portraits of difficult lives in which hard work, perseverance, love and luck win out in the end; virtue would be rewarded and wrongdoers are suitably punished. They tended to be of an improving nature with a central moral lesson at heart. Novelists felt they had a moral and social responsibility to fulfil; they depicted society as they saw it (realism) and denounced its evils (criticism).They aimed at making readers realise social injustices. In literature, the early Victorian age can be said to be the age of critical realism. The critical realism of the 19th century flourished in the forties and in the early fifties. Puritan morality of the early and mid Victorian period was reflected in the novels. The novel became the dominant form of literature In Victorian novels the societys effects on individual are analyzed. Well-known Victorian Novels are: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bront, Wuthering Heights written by Emily Bront and Thomas Hardys Wessex Novel Tess of the dUrbervilles.These novels have some common main aspects. Their major theme is the place of the individual in society, the aspiration of the hero or heroine for love or social position. The protagonists search for fulfillment is emblematic of the human condition. The characters are precisely created and the author makes deep analysis of characters inner lives (psychology). Character is more important than action and plot; complex ethical choices are often the subject. Protagonists appear in their real complexity of temperament and motive; They are in explicable relation to nature, to each other, to their social class, to their own past. Typically a protagonist struggles to find him or herself in relation with other men and women, in love or marriage, with family or neighbors, or with work associates. The protagonists in Great Expectations, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are orphans and Tess is a poor country girl.. Great Expectations and Jane Eyre are stores about a child's maturation, focusing on the emotions and experiences that accompany growth to adulthood. In Great Expectations, both Pip and Estella are orphans that initially belong to different social and psychological categories. Dickenss characters begin by being a cast of stock characters engaged in conflicts. Pip is the village orphan, helped by a series of lower-class, virtuous benefactors: his uncle Joe Gargery, the blacksmith, Abel Magwitch, the convict, Herbert Pocket, his impoverished urban friend. Estella, on the other hand has been educated by her benefactress a vengeful aristocrate, Miss Havisham.

Jane Eyre is the story of a search for identity in the Victorian environment. An orphan since early childhood, Jane feels exiled and ostracized at the beginning of the novel, and the cruel treatment she receives from her Aunt Reed and her cousins only exacerbates her feeling of alienation. Afraid that she will never find a true sense of home or community, Jane feels the need to belong somewhere, to find kin, or at least kindred spirits. This desire tempers her equally intense need for autonomy and freedom. The main character from Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, a gypsy orphan mysteriously adopted by the novel's first Mr. Earnshaw off of the streets of Liverpool, is known only by a single name. He is characterized as passionate, dark, brooding and vindictive.He seems to represent wild and natural forces which often seem amoral and dangerous for society. His almost inhuman devotion to Catherine is the moving force in his life, seconded by his vindictive hatred for all those who stand between him and his beloved. He is cruel but magnificent in his consistency, and the reader can never forget that at the heart of the grown man lies the abandoned, hungry child of the streets of Liverpool. Catherine is beautiful and charming, but she is never as civilized as she pretends to be. In her heart she is always a wild girl playing on the moors with Heathcliff. Tess, the central character of the novel that bears her name, is intelligent, strikingly attractive, and distinguished by her deep moral sensitivity and passionate intensity. But she is also more than a distinctive individual: Hardy makes her into somewhat of a mythic heroine. She is the eldest daughter in a poor rural working family; a fresh, well-developed country girl who looks markedly more mature than she is. Great Expectations and Jane Eyre are first person narratives. The narrator is obtrusive and omniscient: he provides his comments on the plot and he establishes a rigid barrier between what is right or wrong (judge); retribution and punishment usually appear in the final chapter where all the events, adventures, incidents are explained and justified. In Wuthering Heights, Nelly Dean (known formally as Ellen Dean) serves as the chief narrator. A sensible, intelligent, and compassionate woman, she grew up essentially alongside Hindley and Catherine Earnshaw and is deeply involved in the story she tells. She has strong feelings for the characters in her story, and these feelings complicate her narration. Lockwood's narration forms a frame around Nelly's; he serves as an intermediary between Nelly and the reader. And part of the story is told through Isabellas letters to Nelly. While the central interest is maintained, the sequence of its development is constantly disordered by flashbacks. This makes the story all the more enticing and genuine. Hardy uses 3rd person omniscient point of view, which means he presents the story as it is understood by various characters so that we know the thoughts of many, and Hardy includes a strong narrative voice to guide the reader interpret the story. Long complicated plots and sub-plots of these novels are focused on the initiation and development of the protagonist. One central theme is the extent to which wealth and power and pride and ambition (which appears here as attributes of the upper class) are dehumanizing. Another important theme traces the effect of environment upon the development of the individual. The mysterious construction of the plot can be noticed in all these novels. Pip, Estella and Heathcliff, even Jane ( at the end of novel) and Tess have benefactors Pips is the criminal Magwitch Abel ; Estella has been educated by her benefactress a vengeful aristocrate, Miss Havisham, Alec dUrberville offered help for Tess family , and Janes uncle left her a heritage. In Great Expectations Pip is the main character, a boy around 13 years old, easy to fright, and goes through his life suffering lots of sadness. He is in love with a girl named Estella and wants her to find his love, but for him being shy and not showing himself to her, it makes it very hard for him. Pip meets an escaped convict, Magwitch, and gives him food, in an encounter that

is to haunt both their lives. When Pip receives riches from a mysterious benefactor he snobbishly abandons his friends for London society and his 'great expectations'. He grows through misfortune and suffering to maturity in the theme of Dicken's best-loved novels. The novel Jane Eyre goes through five distinct stages: Jane's childhood at Gateshead, where she is emotionally and physically abused by her aunt and cousins; her education at Lowood School, where she acquires friends and role models but also suffers privations and oppression; her time as the governess of Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with her Byronic employer, Edward Rochester; her time with the Rivers family during which her earnest but cold clergyman-cousin St John Rivers proposes to her; and the finale with her reunion with and marriage to her beloved Rochester. In Wuthering Heights we read about Heathcliff who was a waif taken in by Mr. Earnshaw and his household. He grows bitter as he grows older falling in love with and losing Catherine. He seeks to destroy Hindley and Edgar Linton blaming them for losing Catherine. He believe that Hindley caused his loss of Catherine by degrading him. Through her marriage to Edgar Linton, Catherine becomes introduced to a world of materialism. She dies and her death fuels Heathcliffs rage against Hindley and Edgar. However, soon after, Hindley also dies and the Earnshaw estate and Hareton fall into the hands of Heathcliff. Later, Heathcliff wins the custody of his son, Linton. He forces Cathy to marry Linton and plans to steal the Grange from Edgar through Linton. Both Linton and Edgar dies and the Grange goes to Heathcliff who now owns both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff marries Hareton to Cathy trying to make Hareton fit his image. Cathy is loving to Hareton and when Heathcliff dies, both Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights go to them. In Tess of the dUrbervilles A Novel of Character and Environment, Pessimism and Fate - a pour girl was raped by Alec, and she gets pregnant. The baby she gave birth dies and Tess decides to look for a new life elsewhere where no one knows of her and the incident after promising herself that she would never get married. She ends up at Talbothays working as a milk maid. There, she meets three girls and a man, Angel Clare. They fall in love, and get married. However, Tess never told Angel about the rape and the child until the night after the wedding. Although he had an affair before the wedding, he grows furious and leaves her to go to America where he grows ill. In the meantime, Tess returns home distraught and seeks to flee from her troubles. She meets Alec who still loves her and keeps pressing her to marry him saying that Angel is never going to come back. She lives with Alec for a while before Angel comes back expressing his continuing love for her. However, to leave Alec, she murders him and leaves with Angel. They stay in a house on the way home for a week. However, when they leave, Tess is arrested for murder, in a symbolic place, Stonehenge, and executed. Angel marries Tess younger sister as Tesss last wish. Wuthering Heights and Tess of the dUrbervilles have a tragic vision, the heroes suffered a lot. The entire drama is a destruction of a human soul; how love can save and damn one man. There are mythical, irreducible conflicts between man and his fate. Human beings appear to be crushed by a superior force: first of nature, then of society or by the characters own errors. Highly poetized descriptions of personified nature take a symbolic, active part in the dramatic unfolding of events . Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were evidently influenced by aspects of Gothic. Many of the Gothic elements serve to anticipate and elevate the importance of the plots turning points. Jane Eyre is full of unexplained or partially explained occurrences: the light that she sees in the Red Room (chapter 2), which she takes to be the spirit of her dead uncle but might just be somebody walking out side with a lantern; the splitting of the oak tree by lightening just before the wedding, seemingly indicative of the stormy times ahead; Janes prophetic dreams. The novel has been criticised for its use of coincidence: Jane goes wandering and just happens to end up at the house of her cousins. The turning point of the novel rests upon such an unexplained event. Jane

returns to Thornfield because she hears Rochester calling for her help, and travels back to find the house burned down and Rochester maimed. Wuthering Heights is a story of a wild passion in witch gothicism runs simultaneously to romanticism. The fantastic and the supernatural are easily found. In Wuthering Heights, Gothic features are an extension of the Romantic content. ExampIes are the ancient dilapidated houses, terrifying dreams, the appearances of Cathy as a ghost, her haunting of Heathcliff after her death, the suggestionof Heathcliff as a diabolic figure in possession of black magic, the frequent occunence of bad weather, and visits to the graveyard, all conected to a doomed love theme. Moreover, throughout the noveI, the frequent hallucinations of Cathelme and Heathcliff occur at moments of great emotion, passion and suffering. Both of them develop illness and starvation due to psychological disturbances. Heathcliff disturbs the grave of Catherine, and when he died he is buried alongside Catherine so that their decaying bodies can become one. To sum up, Victorian literature has had a profound influence on modern literature and media. Writers such as Dickens and the Bront sisters still sell robustly on most book resellers' lists and are frequently adapted into films and television productions, both directly and in modernized retellings. In addition, many modern novels demonstrate that the intricate cultural mores of the Victorian era finds a home in the modern cultural psyche. References: <http://www.online-literature.com/dickens/greatexpectations/> 9.03.2011 <http://www.online-literature.com/brontec/janeeyre/> 9.03.2011 <http://www.online-literature.com/bronte/wuthering/> 9.03.2011 <http://www.online-literature.com/hardy/tess_urbervilles/> 9.03.2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_literature> 11.03 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathcliff_%28Wuthering_Heights%29#Character> 15.03.2011 <http://www.cesjf.br/cesjf/documentos/revista_letras_docs/art_alunos/LIT_LING_INGLESA/Go thic_elements_in_Wuthering_Heights.pdf> 19.03.2011