Fingersmith-Sarah Waters

The social position of women 
during the Victorian Era 

Fingersmith by 
Sarah Waters
1 / 23
Slide 1: Tekstslide
EngelsMiddelbare schoolvwoLeerjaar 5

In deze les zitten 23 slides, met interactieve quizzen, tekstslides en 1 video.

Onderdelen in deze les

The social position of women 
during the Victorian Era 

Fingersmith by 
Sarah Waters

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

In this lesson will zoom in on the social position of women 
during the Victorian Era. Together with the history department we will explore the socio-economic changes that shaped 19th century Britian. In this lesson you will use Fingersmith by 
Sarah Waters to look more closely at the morals and values of that period and how they still influence our society today. Enjoy!

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

Learning Objectives
At the end of this lesson:
• You have insight in the moral and values of the Victorian era.
• Can critically reflect on the social position of women in the 19th century in Britain.
• Can draw parallels between de position of lesbian women in Victorian times and today.
• You know how to apply Freytag’s pyramid to a story.

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Social and historical context 19th century
 Period of Transition
  • Mankind went from the old way of living to the new. The Industrial Revolution being one of the main motivators for people to move from the countryside to the city.
  • Focus on human inventiveness.
  • Period of Peace and Prosperity
  • The British Empire was a dominant force in the world and this boosted the nation’s confidence and pride.
  • Upward social mobility.
  • A stable and secure family organised along traditional patriarchal lines. 

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Economical and political reasons for imperialism

European imperialism also had economic motives. Europeans wanted to make more profit from their industries by controlling a cheap supply of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal. They were also looking for raw materials, such as natural rubber from Malaysia, cotton from India and copper from South-Africa. In European factories these raw materials were transformed into finished goods that could be sold in the colonies. For example: cotton was used for textiles, and clothes made of this were sold back to the colonies. In this way the colonies became big markets for European goods.
There was also a political reason for imperialism: European countries wanted to show how powerful they were. Especially the British were very proud of the empire they built during their Victorian Age. It became the largest empire the world has ever seen.

The kingdom of the Netherlands, 1815 - 1830. The green section is Belgium that declared itself independent in 1830.

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

1. Victorian Values 
Watch the clip on the next slide 
and think of typical Victorian morals and values.

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

Slide 7 - Video

1.1 What is The Victorian Age and what is meant by "Victorian values"?

Slide 8 - Open vraag

 2. The Victorian Age - Social Context

 The common perception of the Victorians is that they were prudes. Victorians valued a strict morality and repressed sexuality. However, the world changed rapidly over Queen Victoria’s reign and the Victorians embraced many new inventions and ideas.

The rapid change which took place over the roughly 70 years that Queen Victoria reigned, is reflected in the literature of the time. In the literature of the 19th century, we see a mix of romantic and realistic elements.
A lot of the poetry from this century, is melancholic and geared towards politics.
Many novels from this period in time, can be considered to be realistic, contain simple language and happyendings. This period of time also sees the emergence of children’s literature.

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

2.1 On the next slide you are going to watch a clip about literature in the Victorian era. After watching, please answer the questions.

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

Slide 11 - Link

3. The Position of women during the Victorian era.

Women in the Victorian society had one main role in life, which was to marry and take part in their husbands' interests and business. Before marriage, they would learn housewife skills such as weaving, cooking, washing, and cleaning, unless they were of a wealthy family.

Slide 12 - Tekstslide

In Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice the snobbish Caroline Bingley lists the skills required by any young lady who considers herself accomplished:

A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages … ; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions … Pride and Prejudice (ch. 8)

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

Slide 14 - Link

4. Neo Victorian literature
Neo-Victorianism, is a subgenre of historical fiction. Neo Victorian literature is a gateway to projecting a modern perspective onto the past, and it can teach us about systematic social issues that are still present in society today. The use of hyper reality in the novel Fingersmith the reader assumes he or she is reading an authentic Victorian novel. However by using inauthenticities Sarah Waters awakes the reader and mirrors what could have been real in that time and at the same time she questions the restricted morals and values of Victorian society. 

Slide 15 - Tekstslide

4.1 Discuss in pairs: Think of 2 neo Victorian elements and inauthenticities Sarah Waters used in her novel Fingersmith.

Slide 16 - Tekstslide

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

Fingersmith can be divided into three parts; use to Freytag's pyramid to analyse the story by giving examples from the book.

Slide 18 - Open vraag

6.1 Final Writing Assignment
On the next slides you will find 3 assignments. Pick and choose the one which appeals to you most. Bring your writings into class next time, we will peer review each other's work. Good luck, and have fun!

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

1. Write a Historical article 

Write a 250-300 words article for the newspaper in the middle 1800s talking about Mrs. Sucksby's life by using the plot from Fingersmith. Pay special attention to the position of women in the novel.

Slide 20 - Tekstslide

2. Write an essay 250-300 words

The novel is full of good and evil characteristics in the characters. Write a 5 paragraph essay in which you describe a person you think might be good or bad. Use examples from the book to support your opinion. Pay special attention to the role of women in the novel. Use the essay structure you have learnt during writing class.

Slide 21 - Tekstslide

3. Write an essay 250-300 words

Write a 5 paragraph essay about the position of women during the Victorian era and the effect it has on women today. Use examples from the book to support your opinion. Use the essay structure you have learnt during writing class.

Slide 22 - Tekstslide

The End
In this lesson you have learnt about the social changes in the Vicorian era and the effect it had on the position of women. Sarah Waters has shown us that our image of Victorian Britain may not be entirely true. 

Slide 23 - Tekstslide