Victorian Primary Sources

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Primary sources are imperative in building a picture of 19th century Britain as they

give us a first-hand insight into what life may have being like during the Victorian

age. Upper, Middle and lower-class women in Victorian society had a very limited

role, however had very different lives depending on wealth. Upper-class women had

everything they needed finest clothing, servants and enjoyed everything money

could offer however, had very little power. The lower-class women had less choice

and although could never rise to an upper-class standing unless through marriage,

they had some opportunity to rise beyond the lowest areas of society through work,

becoming a prostitute or possibly a kept woman.

The explosion of the Industrial Revolution …show more content…

In the article the lady

been interviewed explains that the money earned is not enough to survive she

explains “Taking one week with another, all the year round I don 't make above 3s

clear money each week”, 3 shillings equates to around 15 pence a week, when

taking this into account women sourced other methods to earn money such as


For instance, both “The Ruined Maid” by Thomas Hardy and the painting

“Awakening Conscience” by William Hunt are examples of primary sources. They

give an insight into the roles of women in Victorian society. They also have similar

ideas, both are kept women, both would have nothing without the male influence in

their lives. However Hardy 's depiction of the women understands societies general

Thomas Farr Word Count- 1540

view of a “Ruined women”, whereas Hunt shows the women at the point of revealing

her moral consciousness.

With both the poem and the painting, the symbolism accounts for the realisation that

these women are “kept”. Looking closely at the painting the girl has rings on all her

fingers except for her wedding finger, this can be seen as a sure sign she is

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