SOCIOLINGUISTIC MARKERS OF A GOVERNESS' IMAGE IN THE VICTORIAN AGE (ON THE MATERIALS OF THE NOVELS BY THE BRONTЕ SISTERS)

Abstract

The present article deals with a shift in the social perception of an English governess in the 1830-ies in view of sociolinguistic markers by means of which her image is created. The shift was caused by rising living standards of Victorians, especially of those involved in industry and trade. The eagerness to emulate their landed aristocracy, which middle-class English people have always been well-known for, is reflected by the fact that the eligibility of employing a governess for one's children is no longer restricted to aristocratic families. Instead, it is regarded as a matter of pride and a symbol of wealth and prosperity by middle-class people. As a result, Victorian literature sees the arrival of a new genre − the governess novel where the main character falls a victim of her financial situation and has to tolerate the brutal working conditions and suffer from both her employers' and her pupils' undisguised contempt. The article studies the anthroponymic space of the novels «Agnes Grey» by Anne Brontё and «Jane Eyre» by Charlotte Brontё and analyses the dictionary definitions of key lexemes, which reveals some class prejudices a governess has to face and the reasons for her intermediate social position in a Victorian house.

About the authors

E. S. Kapustkina

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310

postgraduate student, Department of English Linguistics

References

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