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Agnes Grey

Ratings:
242 pages4 hours

Summary

Anne Bronte’s first novel, first published in 1847, “Agnes Grey” tells the story of its title character, a young girl who works as a governess for families of the English gentry. Bronte based this novel on her own experiences as a governess and depicts the loneliness, isolation, and vulnerability of the position. The novel begins with the Grey family falling on hard financial times and a young Agnes taking a job as a governess to both help her family and show her maturity and independence. She begins work with the wealthy Bloomfield family and is shocked to find them cruel, shallow, and unfair. The position does not last long and soon she is back home with her own family and planning to try again. She finds a place in the Murray household, which is even wealthier than her previous employer. While her situation has improved, she is still marginalized and lonely. In the end, Agnes finds happiness and fulfillment on her own terms. “Agnes Grey” is a stern rebuke of the shallowness of the upper class of Bronte’s time and a beautifully written account of the challenges faced by young women born without many opportunities.

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