Posted at 11.03.2018
Domestic fiction as a genre was mainly written for women and young women by women writers, and the genre grew exceedingly popular and flourished in the nineteenth century, especially during the mid to later nineteenth century. Domestic fiction, often referred to as 'sentimental fiction' (due to its sentimental plotlines and people) or just 'women's fiction', became the dominant genre for girls in both Britain and America and the majority of domestic writing upheld and recognized the restrictions of the feminine role. Many books of home fiction have thus been criticised for not wanting to challenge these limitations and empower young women to reside in a fuller and more rewarding life, somewhat than reinforcing the idea that girls must exist only within the domestic sphere. This dissertation will discuss three different text messages of the domestic fiction genre - Elizabeth Wetherell's The Wide, Wide World (1852), Charlotte Mary Yonge's The Clever Woman of the Family (1865) and Louisa May Alcott's traditional tale Little Women (1868) - and can examine whether literature aimed at young girls and young women in the nineteenth century started to empower women and present them with the idea of a life away from the limitations of the local sphere, or whether the genre of domestic fiction simply enforced the guidelines and restrictions of the female role.
During the nineteenth century, the influences after the lives of children and young adults were hardly any and far between. Whereas children of the twenty-first century remain undeniably influenced by books, these children are in the age of television, intensive advertising, communication, the internet and modern technology, and also have an eclectic selection of affects at their removal rather than simply books, one of the key and major affects for children through the nineteenth century was the literature that was written specifically for them. Literacy, and literature itself increased significantly through the reign of Queen Victoria, and this can be attributed to lots of factors - one of the main factors being the growth of popular education. Children and the thought of childhood had begun to be viewed and treated as circumstances which was entirely reserve from adulthood, and the child was regarded as a lot more innocent, and possess an even more malleable mind than the adult. As John Backside observes in his study Towards a Sociology of Education:
'Everything regarding children and family life possessed become a subject of valuable attention. Not only the child's future, but his occurrence and very life was of matter: the child had considered a central devote the family. '
The Victorians of the nineteenth century created an extremely sentimental view of child years which would develop to become broadly accepted. Queen Victoria herself and Prince Albert arranged an example for a 'prim and proper' family in which the children were greatly liked and tenderly cared for. On top of that, Victorian parents were encouraged to be strong with the children, but to cope with them with a larger amount of tenderness than previously, and adults significantly saw child years as a period where the child would have to be secured from the complicated adult world and its own concerns. Because of this changing view, education for children became paramount, and increasing matter was located upon ensuring that children were properly educated. As Judith Rowbotham creates in Good Young girls Make Good Wives: Guidance for Girls in Victorian Fiction;
'The child was the daddy of the person, and it was important to people to ensure that children, who represented the next generation, should be properly trained. The question that occupied many minds however, was of what performed a 'proper' education are made up?'
Boys received 'cent dreadfuls'; inexpensive novels which often included violent adventure or criminal offenses and were given in regular monthly instalments. However, a well-educated feminine at this time was assumed to have been fruitfully instructed in the value of her local and social obligations and tasks, as well as in academics subjects. Because of this assumption, young girls were offered the domestic book. Young women and girls were considered to be more 'matched' to life within the local sphere, and the aim of home fiction and 'girl's reports' was to justify the limitations of the feminine position within culture and to influence the feminine, especially the impressionable young woman, of the need to conform to the roles of the local sphere. Didactic writing of the kind was definitely not a contemporary phenomenon - educational and instructive literature for young imagination were also featured intensely in the eighteenth century. These however, were designed for an upper-class market and were shared in the form of essays rather than as catalogs. The contribution that women made in their home was very significant, nonetheless it should be known that that their lives were not always solely consisting of domestic duties and obligations - it was quite common for girls to be as well informed as boys, and also to be accomplished and trained in skills and abilities such as art and music. Still more genteel than what their brothers were taught, yet there is life away from the duties of the home. Public classes were available to the lower and middle classes, although they were not yet made obligatory, and young girls were educated most often from age six until they reached fourteen or fifteen. However not surprisingly, women were still discouraged from pursuing an education, as this might interfere with their obligations within the house. The July 1848 model of the publication The Mother's Journal featured an article entitled 'Girl Education, which motivated mothers to limit the time that their daughters were in education, declaring that their accomplishments would be rendered needless after they married. The article suggests that young women should stay focused on their obligations within the home:
' let her seek an intensive practical knowledge of those principles of which she may as a partner, mother and housekeeper, be called to make daily use.
We are advocates for an intensive medical education; but at the same time, for an education for the ordinary  tasks which females, as wives, daughters and moms, will be called after to execute. The piano, and the clean, should never take the place of the needle. '
Domestic fiction at the moment was renowned for sentimental and predictable plotlines, exceedingly dramatic scenes and weak, weepy female character types, and this feature acquired the genre its explanation as the 'vocabulary of tears'. This is a period when the biggest ambition of girls was to be hitched also to marry well - for a female to remain solitary was considered not and then be a misfortune, but a travesty yet many of the authors who wrote these catalogs were themselves solitary women. These books were on of the very few techniques girls could envision a life other than their own and for that reason must have a enduring and effective impact how they viewed themselves, both when it comes to society and privately. Furthermore, the writers of domestic fiction were generally solely women, and for a woman to be a writer was at this point a new notion, and additionally, if their works were considered 'unseemly' or unacceptable material for girls, no one would purchase them. Due to the fact that for these feminine authors writing was their only income source, the deal and popularity of the masterpieces was paramount. Because of this, it was extremely uncommon that domestic fiction for girls in the nineteenth century would include a character who would step outside of society's restrictions upon young women, and who pushed the restrictions of 'appropriate' girl behaviour. Because of this, the genre has experienced many kinds of criticism. The early forms of domestic fiction, conceived by authors such as Maria Edgeworth and Mrs. Sherwood, achieved recognition and social status and these experiences whilst being increasing, were also regarded as enjoyable. Alison Adburgham has commented that:
'the books were handbooks to the words of the beau monde, to the etiquette of chaperonage, to permissible and impermissible flirtations, to extra-marital affairs, to all or any modish behaviour and affections. '
The literature was instructive and the character types unrealistic and wooden - home fiction was cured as the perfect device to instruct young girls how they should behave and present themselves. However, writers such as Charlotte Mary Yonge and Louisa May Alcott nonetheless were able to write people who did venture beyond the restrictions of assumed stereotypes in understated and understated ways, and unlike authors such as Elizabeth Wetherell, these writers were able to present an alternative solution life for girls through their people, and been successful in upholding society's limits upon girls in the process. Instead of doing nothing at all to challenge these stereotypes and being criticised because of this concern, these writers somehow could actually empower their female audience to move beyond the limitations of their home sphere and live a far more rousing life, or in other circumstances if their feminine characters did eventually conform to the establishment of marriage and a home orientated life-style, they might still have the ability to maintain the attributes which some viewers may have considered 'undesired' and unacceptable. Additionally, with the publication of Little Ladies in 1863, Alcott challenged and been successful in changing what it was to be a young woman in the Victorian years, and for decades to come.
Due to the great popularity of the local fiction genre in the nineteenth century, it is certainly indisputable that the genre had great effect on its viewers, whether it was the impressionable and innocent little girls which read them or the mothers who read them with their children. But an actual question of the particular genre is if the result was constructive in terms of the development of women's privileges and their prospects in life and the development of these position within the interpersonal structure, or whether these books just upheld and supported the out-of-date and strict limitations set after women of the nineteenth century and previous, and reinforced the stereotypes located after them without wanting to make changes to the. I will try to answer this question in the chapters that follow.
The female of the mid-nineteenth-century put in the majority of her time in the company of other women and middle-class young ladies in particular put in their time using their moms, their sisters and feminine servants or nannies and also require resided with them in their residences. Their experience was majorly affected and centred around a womanly community, where domesticity and the local role that they would pursue in their futures was central with their lives. As the term implies, domestic literature presented the home and the family as the best context and environment for the character building and moral reformation. Drawing seriously on the 'Sunday school' movement, the genre embodied children with the idea that these were able to change and save others around them through charity, prayer and devotion. Home fiction generally tended to comply with one basic plot line, which presented the story of a young woman (possibly recently orphaned, or separated from her parents) deprived of support she got previously depended on and is also thus faced with the task of making her own way in the odd and unfamiliar outdoor world. Her ego at the outset of the novel is often harmed or is merely non-existent, and she believes that her guardians will always be there to safeguard and 'coddle' her; however she learns painfully that is not the case as she becomes familiar with real life. This is a global in which she is extremely prone - certainly not immune to reduction, pain or hardship as she may have previously been, and she actually is surrounded by people who are much less virtuous than her. The failure of the world to exceed her anticipations awakens the young young lady to her own possibilities, and what she herself is capable of due to her mind-boggling good nature and spirituality. By climax of the book, the young girl would usually come to realize and have confidence in her own worthy of and most notably, will come to comprehend an exceptionally significant Religious value that everything in life, even if it is bad, is caused by God and can eventually lead to something good. Commenting on domestic fiction, Nina Baym describes the genre of the home book in Women's Fiction as 'the storyline of a girl who is deprived of the supports she got rightly or wrongly depended on to maintain her throughout her life and is also faced with the need of being successful her own way on earth. ' Written by Susan Warner and published under the pseudonym Elizabeth Wetherell, The Wide, Wide World is argued to be the novel which first founded the genre of children's home fiction, and one which certainly embodies these characteristics of the local novel.
The Wide, Wide World is one of the initial and best types of what would develop to become typically the most popular genre of nineteenth century fiction - the home (or sentimental) book and furthermore, it is considered to be America's first 'best-seller' book. Warner was an American evangelical author of spiritual and children's fiction and, of course, local fiction. However, as books were considered by some to be 'sinful' and detrimental to moral education, Warner explained her novels as testimonies. Sales of the 'story' were unprecedented before its publication such as almost per annum, The Wide, Wide World sold over 40, 000 copies and this number would go up to 225, 000 at the end of the 1850's. Her works were among some of the most popular of local fiction written in the nineteenth century, and many featured storylines where both moral and spiritual text messages were woven. Warner's novel featured an accurate portrayal of what life was like through the Victorian era in the us and this is one reason behind its great reputation. Although the book is written and set in America, the people of the story are well-born British and Scottish, plus they act according to their stock and upbringing, and an interval by the end of the book takes place in Scotland itself. As a result, despite this as an American text message, The Wide, Wide World was wholly relevant and relevant to English viewers. Mid-nineteenth century visitors of the book recognised and treasured its relevance with their own lives and women noticed themselves and their situations mirrored in the problem of the protagonist Ellen Montgomery, and individuals she complies with throughout the storyline. Although this publication was written by a woman for females, it had not been particularly targeted at children. What sets it besides as a children's word and more importantly a girl's text message is the actual fact that the protagonist is a young woman.
Published in 1850, the novel experienced fourteen editions in only two years, and the book was eventually publicized in Britain in 1852. It taken care of its vast attractiveness throughout the nineteenth century; however it waned in acceptance during the early area of the twentieth century, especially throughout the 1920's at a time when non-domestic children's literature began to flourish. In What Katy Read: Feminist Re-readings of 'Basic' Stories for women by scholars of nineteenth century girls' fiction Shirley Foster and Judy Simons it is stated that Warner's wording 'dished up as a bridge between the pious Sunday university tales of the 1830's and the child-centred journeys of the last mentioned 50 % of the century' and moreover the novel highlighted an 'unprotected heroine overcomes hurting and tribulations to achieve spiritual efficiency and moral maturity', which would become the archetypal plot which dominated the local fiction genre.
As talked about in the release, domestic fiction in some instances possessed become known as the 'terms of tears', and Warner's novel certainly conforms to this description, once we can see at many points throughout the written text. The novel begins with the disruption of Ellen's happy life, as her mom is dying and her daddy has lost his fortune and after doctors' advice, her parents travel to Europe, and it is unknown the length of time they will be absent. Ellen leads a fulfilling and pampered lifestyle in NY, and as a result of her parents' departure, she must leave her home in order to live a life with her Aunt Bundle of money, her father's sister (who appears to share his nature) in the countryside. Ellen tries to be courageous for the sake of her mother; however she sees little comfort and is plainly devastated at her departure and Ellen, crying, flings 'her biceps and triceps around her mom, and hiding her face in her lap provided way to a violent burst of grief that seemed for a couple moments as if it would rend spirit and body in twain. ' Aswell to be a prime exemplory case of the domestic novel, The Wide, Wide World is considered to be always a little bit of 'sentimentalist' literature, and the novel unquestionably portrays how sentimental Warner's style is. The action of the storyplot is introverted within Ellen, and we can see that she is a weepy figure at many points throughout the novel. For example; 'Dressing was miserable work to Ellen today; it continued very greatly. Tears dropped into the drinking water as she stooped her listened to to the basin, ' is an remove from a four page stretch of the book, and within these pages Ellen is portrayed to be crying on five distinct occasions. Normally, Ellen sheds her tears almost once every two pages, and it is clear that her visitors are anticipated to weep with her, and many probably did.
The Wide, Wide World is described as the quintessential home book, and many feminist critics have centered on inspecting the novel's portrayal of gender dynamics. Warner's people conformed to the stereotypes of ideal young women. Ellen Montgomery, the heroine of the book, is the epitome of what modern culture desired a woman to maintain the nineteenth century; her 'behavior is always moderate, indicative of unselfish submission to people in due authority over her, such as her parents. Elizabeth Wetherell was an early on professional of the stereotype of your good girl on the most ideal lines. ' Her do is correctly ladylike and throughout the novel she pursues self improvement, and even though she actually is descended from luxury and money, she discovers how to be 'domestic' and care for both home and herself, and also commenting on this issue, Rowbotham goes on to case;
''The concept of didactic fiction throughout the nineteenth century was that feminine influence was more necessary to the daily moral health insurance and power of the family device and of the nation than that of a man. It had been a woman's first work in life therefore, to be as professional in her sphere as a man in his; to cultivate her womanly skills in the emotional realm so as to maximise their usefulness within the home orbit'
In addition to the, it was believed that self-sacrifice instead of self-sufficiency was what marked women as experts, and Ellen certainly conforms to the belief and it is clear that she sacrifices her own wishes for the advantage of those around her. We see Ellen's completely good and self-sacrificing characteristics at many points in the novel, particularly if her Aunt Bundle of money becomes sick. Although her Aunt has cared for Ellen terribly since she found its way to her treatment, Ellen must cast this reality aside and dominate as mind of the household, as it was essential for an ideal nineteenth century gal to become adjustable also to keep her composure in difficult situations. Throughout the novel, Ellen experiences and learns self-sacrifice and unassuming dynamics and learns to do with no luxuries she's been used to, and it could be suggested that Ellen is the perfect embodiment of the Victorian female ideal, often referred to as 'The Angel in the House'. The image of ideal womanhood, as defined by Barbara Welter in her well-known article The Cult of True Womanhood features female virtues such as:
'Piety, purity, submissiveness and domesticity. Put them jointly and they spelled mother, child, sister, partner - female. Without them, not matter whether there is fame, achievements or riches, was ashes. With them she was guaranteed happiness and ability. '
Women were desired and mainly required to embody these characteristics and also to become the domestic ideal, which Victorian image of the ideal wife and the perfect woman had become known as 'The Angel in the House'. The 'angel' was powerless, passive and specialized in her spouse, and completely genuine. The appearance 'Angel in the House' hails from the name of the extremely popular poem by Coventry Patmore of the same name, in which he presents his better half Emily- the 'angel' of the subject - as a model for all those womankind, under the impression that his better half Emily was the complete ideal Victorian wife. Warner's book is a word which features women, most notably Ellen's mother and Alice Humphreys who conform to the ideals of 'The Angel in the House' and it is from these women that Ellen learned to be the perfect and exemplary middle-class Victorian gal. As Signe O. Wegener observes in Adam Fenimore Cooper Versus The Cult Of Domesticity,
'Whereas [authors such as] Child and Sedgewick marginalize the mom, Warner allows her more prominence and influence, constantly emphasizing the almost symbolic attachment between mother and girl. Mrs. Montgomery, although an invealid, is the most crucial person in the heroine Ellen's life, carefully shaping her little princess into an angel in the house - and a mirror of her pious and self-sacrificing home. As befits a mother from the hey-day of the cult of domesticity, she has the "proper priorities".
Ellen's mother is submissive to her partner, yet is conflicted as she will not want her girl to be directed away and certainly does not want to go to Europe. However, since both her doctor and her man (who are both dominant males) demand that she do, she must obey them and the narrator observes, 'Captain Montgomery added the weight of specialist, insisting on her compliance. ' And of course, the submissive angel in the house, Mrs. Montgomery is required to succumb to the parting. Mrs. Montgomery has zero ability in her husband's household yet she never voices her grievances, even when she actually is to be separated from Ellen whom she loves and adores - Ellen learns and shows much throughout the novel from her direction and it is evident that this is exactly what her mother wishes, and we are offered this fact after her moms departure when Ellen is offered a bible and workbox, essential items for the perfect Victorian girl. The explanation for these gift items, her mother explains, is these will provide everything necessary for maintaining good patterns, and that can help Mrs. Montgomery to be confident that Ellen will:
'be always nice, and tidy, and industrious, depending upon others as little as possible; and careful to boost yourself by every means  I'll leave you no reason, Ellen, for declining in any of the duties. I trust you won't disappoint me in one particular. '
Furthermore, under her the information of her mom (albeit, her invalid mother) Ellen learns to become the 'the angel in the house', and one illustration where we can easily see this is the point of which Ellen 'experiments' in poking the flame in her home. As Mrs. Montgomery is unfit for housework, Ellen learns to recognize the unspoken arrangement where the household responsibilities are transferred onto her:
'The room was dark and cheerless; and Ellen experienced stiff and chilly. However, she made her way to the flames, and having found the texas holdem, she applied it smoothly to the Liverpool coal with such good effort that a bright ruddy blaze sprang up, and lighted the complete room. Ellen smiled at the consequence of her test. "That's something like", she thought to herself; "who says I cannot poke the flame? Now, why don't we see if I can't do something else. "'
Ellen is often uncertain of her capabilities within the domestic sphere, and this 'experiment' with the texas holdem gives her some notion of what she could be able to perform, and what results they could provide for the house and then for others around her which is clear as she continues 'experimenting' within the area. This implies, quite basically, that her labours could light up and bring friendliness to a frosty, dark and cheerless home. She could end up being the 'angel in the house' or the 'light of the home' and through her local labour, as we can see, Ellen herself becomes more pleased and a lot more contented. Furthermore, it would appear that her mother's instruction and influence was not in vain and Ellen has seemingly fulfilled her mother's wishes, even as can see by friends describing Ellen as:
'" a most remarkable child!" said Mrs. Gillespie.
"She actually is a good child", said Mrs. Chauncey.
"Yes mamma, I don't think she could help being polite. "
"It is not that,  mere sweetness and politeness would never give so much
elegance of manner. As much as i have seen, Ellen Montgomery is a flawlessly well-behaved child. "
"That she is' said Mrs. Chauncey; 'but neither would any cultivation or example be sufficient for this without Ellen's through good process and great sweetness of temper. "'
The embodiment of 'the angel in the house' seems to be a dominant theme throughout Warner's text, however one of the ladies in the forefront of Ellen's life who should essentially provide as some sort of alternative of Ellen's mom, is the precise opposite of the female ideal. Ellen, despite all those things her mom has remaining her with to make an ideal life for herself in her absence, confirms little solace with her father's sister, Lot of money Emerson. Described in What Katy Read as:
'In conditions of the paradigmatic fairy-tale composition of the book, she actually is the wicked stepmother. Obviously incapable of passion and bearing profound grudges, she tyrannises over Ellen: she cheats her of her mother's letters, she refuses to allow her to wait the local university, and to be able to vindicate herself in the sight of Mr. Van Brunt, her farm manager, she makes her niece confess to faults which she is not guilty.  In gender conditions, indeed, she seems not only more male than feminine, but embodies a domineering and intense masculinity. '
Ellen's Aunt Fortune turns out to be the complete opposite of her mother. Unkind and callous, she shows Ellen no affection whatsoever, and in a notice to her mother, it is clear just how uneasy Aunt Lot of money makes her, even in aspects beyond her control such as her appearance and manner:
'I wish there is somebody here that I possibly could love, but there isn't. You will want to know what sort of person my aunt Fortune is. I think she actually is very beautiful, or she'd be if her nose were not quite so sharpened: but, mamma, I cannot tell you what sort of feeling I have about her: it appears to me as if she was razor-sharp around. I'm sure her eyes are as sharp as two needles. And she doesn't walk like other folks; at least sometimes. She makes queer little jerks and starts and jumps, and flies about like I don't know what. '
In her new lease of life with her aunt who's neither a 'girl' nor a Religious and who certainly will not react in a familial manner towards Ellen, Ellen is clearly superior. Furthermore, Aunt Lot of money blatantly denies Ellen the further education that her mother desired. Only when Ellen matches Alice Humphrey, a refined Christian woman (who is certainly reminiscent of her mom) does indeed she find consolation in this unforgiving and seemingly hopeless place. Alice is a pious and idealistic female so that the daughter of the minister, she actually is a faithful churchgoer - unlike anyone else in the area. Alice essentially will take Ellen under her wing and with this new found companionship, and Ellen will get the schooling and moral teaching that her Aunt Fortune has denied her. Alice and her bother John, who's often away studying at college, save Ellen from the unkind and impious atmosphere her aunt has created and this act of rescue by Alice supports the theory and teaching that girls shouldn't affirm their own desires, but await a fellow Christian to act as a saviour also to intervene and of course in this kind of domestic novel, this is always the situation.
As well as encouraging the perfect of the angel inside your home and creating people that may actually embody every one of the characteristics of the Victorian female ideal, The Wide, Wide World also stimulates the Christian idea that the good and virtuous perish young, but despite an early demise their deaths are seen as being religiously significant however untimely. Due to these deaths, other characters have the ability to recognize the failing in their own morals. Although Aunt Fortune is gravely ill, Warner will not allow her a important death as she actually is not religious or devout enough to be worthy of it. However Alice Humphreys enters Ellen's life as a perfect role model and certainly the embodiment of the womanly ideal, and her extensively good and clean characteristics essentially means that she actually is not because of this world:
'She is able to mount a recovery mission and dominate Mrs. Montgomery's responsibilities. However, Alice Humphrey's is such a perfect Angel inside your home that it is unsurprising that Death acquired already proclaimed her for his own. Before she dies, Ellen discovers from her how better to combine education, accomplishments and domesticity, taking over Alice's place as princess and professional of comfort in the Humphrey household. '
Both Ellen's mom and Alice, much like the figure of Beth in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, die a beautiful and (religiously) significant death despite being tragic and untimely. In utilizing this device, Warner allows other personas to discover and understand their moral failures in having to witness the popularity of God's will in the death of others. Although Aunt Fortune becomes seriously ill, Warner will not allow her a meaningful death as she is not pious or religious enough to be granted one. In keeping Lot of money alive, Warner provides her the chance to be religiously altered, and we can easily see the beginnings of this conversion in Fortune's matrimony to Mr. Van Brunt, who incidentally is undergoing religious conversion because of this of Ellen's effect and the subject matter here's clear - relationship is the one positive results for Ellen's relatively vile aunt. Furthermore, this result is evidently lacking in any positive feminist styles, as it would appear that women who are considered to be undesirable such as Fortune, are humbled and essentially 'saved' by men. Although definitely not a desirable girl or an 'angel in the house', Lot of money is still an extremely interesting persona. As a single woman with a prominent personality, and in owning a successful plantation, aunt Fortune in the beginning seems very progressive, especially for a lady as of this period. However, a very important thing which Warner allows to occur to Bundle of money is her eventual matrimony to newly turned Mr. Vehicle Brunt. Lot of money is initially assertive, and certainly self-employed, yet it appears that a guy is the only person who is able to 'take care of' her. Abandoning any durability she previously had in her own capability, she now finds this in her hubby. In addition, but all who are involve celebrate the union and agree that for unfeminine and undesired Fortune, this is the best thing that could possibly happen for her.
Borrowing from and in the advocating of Christian themes and ideals, The Wide, Wide World and novels which adopted in the genre of domestic fiction functions as a kind of guide to young women, who had been thoroughly urged to harbour humble and submissive behaviour towards their elders and especially towards their husbands. Bundle of money, although in the beginning she shows no signs or symptoms of third, submissive path, is eventually submissive to Mr. Truck Brunt (although, not as submissive as Mrs. Montgomery was towards Ellen's daddy) and he subsequently is the only person who is able to influence her of anything and is the only person who is able to control her, and we can see this doing his thing when Fortune converts against Ellen. It really is Mr. Van Brunt's vitality over Fortune that Ellen relies on to don't be beaten or rejected things which she wants.
At the climax of the story, Ellen is sent for by her mother's family who have discovered here existence and desire her to come and stick with them in Scotland. Although miserable and unwilling to leave John who after the loss of life of Alice became a professor and moral instructor for Ellen, just like a good Victorian gal Ellen feels that it's her duty to follow the needs of her family, reiterating the importance of familial responsibility. Sadly, as was the circumstance in her aunt's house, Ellen soon discovers and therefore is disappointed that she does not fit in with her family. Finding her much too patriotic and offended by her devout Religious principles, her Scottish family are depicted as snobbish and unsympathetic. They consider her spiritual devotion unsuitable for a child of Ellen's age group, and are unsupportive of her desire to adhere to her beliefs. Although Ellen, of course ever before gracious, is grateful of the concern on her behalf well-being and their clear love for her, longs to come back to John. Typical of the home novel Ellen does indeed get her happy stopping when John, who got left to go to Europe before Ellen kept for Scotland, journeys to her new home in Scotland and expresses his wish to see her. Inside the context of the book, the looks of John is relatively some sort of pay back for Ellen's strife to be always a 'good lady' even when confronted with adversary. Although John does not immediately take her away, he does indeed guarantee her that he'll take her back again to her home in America when she is older, and he will continue her moral education in his trips and correspondence. However, when John initially enters the scene, Ellen's pleasure and the abandonment of her tears of sadness is clear:
'The seed so early sown in little Ellen's brain and so carefully tendered by sundry hands, grew in course of time to all or any the good stature and comely perfection it possessed bit fair to reach; storms and winds that experienced visited it does but cause the root to have deeper keep;. . . Three or even more years of Scottish discipline wrought her no ill; they did but serve to temper and beautify her Religious character; and then, to her unspeakable enjoyment, she returned to spend her life with the friends and guardians she most liked, and to be o them, still more than she had been to her Scottish relations, the 'light of the sight''.
In all but the first release of the novel, this is where the story ends. Yet, in the primary model the final chapter depicts the happy marriage between Ellen and John with him as a chapel minister and she a housewife specialized in her hubby enjoying an higher middle-class life.
Taking many of these aspects into consideration, it is certainly apparent which the Wide, Wide World is among the best examples of the nineteenth century local novel - the plot is skinny and conforms to the characteristics of domestic fiction and to Victorian girl 'guidelines', and it could seem to be that the storyline merely will serve as a tool by which nineteenth century ideals are articulated. A words which probably features little literary merit, it conveys to young (and impressionable) young ladies the value of Christian piety, obedience, value and honesty. It would appear that despite efforts by critics to unearth hidden feminist messages within the written text, the fact stands that there surely is no more to this 'story' (as Warner would have us refer to it) when compared to a reinforcement of more developed nineteenth century limitations on women. Within the text there are clear types of negative female stereotypes such as women who are lacking in ambition and who are humbled by men, and also who are really (and frequently cripplingly) religiously faithful. The type of Alice is the perfect woman and the embodiment of the female ideal - she is beautiful, well informed, standard, humble and above all completely pious. Any girl without these qualities was in dire need of a religious conversion, once we see regarding aunt Bundle of money. Ellen, following her mother and Alice's lead, is clearly the future feminine ideal. In analysing the storyline and the character of Ellen Montgomery, it is very difficult to dispute the fact the fact that Wide, Wide World have any other thing more than uphold and enjoy society's feminine restrictions, nor achieved it attempt to enable young women to reside a fulfilling life anywhere apart from the local sphere to that they were confined.