The Angel In The House Analysis

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During the Victorian period, women had a very specific role to play in society. They had very little influence on the public sphere, only men were to deal with business and political issues. Women were restrained to the private sphere, and were supposed to take care of the house, and of their beloved. The phrase ‘the angel in the house’ was used to describe their duty. Obviously, this applies to women of a certain rank, mostly those belonging to the middle-class. Working-class women soon had to leave home and work in order to help feed their family. The novel genre was only emerging at the time, and thus many women characters started to be portrayed by many different authors, many of which described them as much more complex than the vision…show more content…
Women at that time were supposed to take good care of their family and of their house. They had to be good, gentle, caring and motherly. Margaret does behave in that way, she takes care of her parents when they all come to live in Milton in the way that every daughter is supposed to. However, she does not only look after them, but she actually takes care of almost everything regarding their lives. In a sense, she acts like her father should, but he is somehow too weak to do so. For instance, Margaret is the one organizing the moving from Helstone to Milton in the very beginning of the novel after her father asked her to: “Do what you think best.” (p. 56). This could appear as quite a heavy burden for a young woman like Margaret, and many other women of her age would not have been able to do it. This is even more evident later on in the story. Right after her mother has passed away, Margaret does not have time to mourn, for she must already arrange the funeral and take care of her brother and father: “The father and brother depended upon her; while they were giving way to grief, she must be working, planning, considering.” (p. 302). Once again, this should be her father’s role, and yet, Margaret is carrying the burden of taking care of everything. This idea that Margaret takes care of everything instead of her father is even more striking when we put her in contrast with another young…show more content…
Most of the time, marriages were set up, and women had to marry someone they did not love. Margaret is proposed to twice in the novel, and yet she declines both proposals for she believes marriage should only be a question of love. It is first Henry Lennox, her cousin’s brother-in-law, who proposes to her. It seems as though she was not expecting such an offer, and turns it down: “her instinct had made anything but a refusal impossible” (p. 33). This is modern in the sense that a woman’s will was not as important as a man’s in Victorian England, and Margaret expressing what she believes is rather unusual. Later in the novel, John Thornton makes a similar proposal to Margaret, and once again, she refuses. At the time Thornton proposes to her, she hasn’t realised that she has feelings for him, and she still despises him. She stays true to what she believes.
At the end of the novel, Margaret and Thornton realise that they both have feelings for each other, and thus get engaged. In this sense, Margaret still has traditional values. She accepts to get married, though she had said before that she would never do so. However, she stays true to herself for she decides to marry someone she truly loves, so that the marriage actually means something. Margaret Hale appears as a modern woman in the way she is supposed to ask, she also very often interferes in the public sphere which is usually
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