In this essay I will analyze 19th century women. I will see how far the women from the stories conform to the 19th century stereotype. In order to do this I will compare women from “The Ostler” , “The adventure of the speckled band” and “The Cottage” to the typical Victorian stereotype women of their classes. Several women in the 19th Century were illiterate because many of them were poor and didn’t get the facilities to get good education or good comportment. A typical poor women from the 19th century would be working as a mill worker being paid very low wages.
A poor woman’s life would be difficult as she would have to look after her children and also deal with the difficulties of a job. She would be classed as property of the husband. We would feel sympathetic towards the poor woman as she would work harder than the rich woman to earn enough money, as the rich woman would do little or no work but still get the sumptuousness of life. The husband of the poor woman had the right to do whatever he wanted to do to her as she would be very subservient to him. In contrast rich women would be educated and well spoken in the politest manner.
The rich women had an advantage as they were literate and could afford the best facilities. They would wear the most stylish and expensive clothing. But in similarity the rich women would also be classed subservient to her husband as she would act biddable and dutiful. In the rich woman’s spare time she couldn’t do anything like cleaning, working or anything of the sort. A wealthy wife was supposed to spend her time reading, sewing, receiving guests, letter writing, seeing to the servants and dressing for the part as her husband’s social delegate.
Mrs Scatchard is a sympathetic and loving mother towards her son Isaac. Mrs Scatchard is a “women above the average in her lowly station, as to capacities and etiquette”. She showed her enthusiasm for her son Isaac when he told her she would see his fianci?? e, “by flinging her arms around his neck… ” . By showing an act of contentment and delectation tells us that she is a loving person.
Although she is an old woman Mrs Scatchard is still in charge of her son as she makes decisions for him. “don’t go back Isaac!… . Although she makes decisions for Isaac we can see that she is protective mother and only wants what’s best for her son. Mrs Scatchard isn’t a 19th century stereotype woman, despite the fact that she is poor, she can read and write which is different to the 19th century stereotype. Rebecca Murdock is a woman who Isaac met in the street. She was in the process of committing suicide until Isaac convinced her that there was more to life than she thought. Rebecca is a very manipulative and Machiavellian person.
She said to Isaac “If you tell her how we met and who I am, she will move heaven and earth to prevent our marriage”. This shows how she convinces Isaac to change his mind rather persuasively. Rebecca in a sense is competent at what she does, she does things in ways which people don’t really take notice of. Rebecca thinks before she acts and knows what to say when people ask her questions, “I want to make her love me next best to you Isaac, before she knows anything of who I really am”. This shows her cunningness and insidiousness as she tries to trick Isaac to make his mother love her.
Rebecca Murdock isn’t a 19th century stereotypical women despite the fact that she is poor. In contrast to 19th century stereotypical women she is conniving, manipulative, and devious. Also she is described as being “beautiful” which would not be equivalent to the 19th century stereotypical women. Bessie is an innocent 18 year old girl who is left at home when her father had to go away on duty. Bessie is shown to be trustworthy as her father left her at home on her own and knew she would be capable to look after the house herself.
Bessie acts very audacious when she said “I am not a woman to walk a mile and a half through rain, mist and darkness, to tell a whole kitchen full of people that I am afraid”. This shows her character to be dauntless and intrepidity. She again shows an act of courageousness when Shifty Dick and his friend tried to break into the house. “You think you can frighten me because I am only a poor girl left alone in the house”.
Bessie gets scared as anybody would be, but she overcomes her fears and defends her father’s property. Get out you villain, or ill brain you on the spot”. Bessie isn’t a 19th century stereotype throughout the story as she acts brave and fearful against the intruders. But in the end she conforms to a 19th century stereotype because she married a man who says “A man marries according to his own notions, and to please himself”. This therefore showed she ended up just like all the other typical subservient 19th century stereotype women in the end. Helen Stoner is a very ladylike figure who acts feeble and helpless even in the smallest of situations.
She acts helpless to show that she is not capable to do anything and wants people to portray her as a feminine lady. She acts helpless when she said “… Oh sir do you think you could help me too”. Sherlock Holmes replies “You must not fear” patronising her, while bending over and patting her forearm, treating her like a mere stereotypical girl. Helen can’t rely on herself, she always has to ask someone for help when she is in the slightest form of distress.
This quotation tells us that Helen is attesting the fact that she is feeble “I have a right to look for help and advice… . Helen Stoner is portrayed much like the 19th century stereotype due to the way she acts and behaves. Mrs Hudson is the 19th century stereotype of a poor woman. When Sherlock Holmes says “Mrs Hudson has a good sense to light the fire”, this tells us that she knows her place of character and that she is servile. To Conclude I have discovered that the most stereotypical women in the 19th century was Helen Stoner because of her way of thinking, conduct, and personal character.
She gets frightened even in the smallest of situations. Bessie is not the average stereotypical girl because of her braveness and courage. But despite this in the end she turned out to be the common stereotypical girl by marrying a man, this therefore made her subservient to him. Mrs Scatchard would be classes as a stereotypical poor woman in the 19th century but regardless of here being poor she was well educated. She was able to read and write whereas the stereotypical view of a poor woman would be solecistic and uneducated.