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Word Count: 797
In this novel Fowles is interested in the genre of the nineteenth-century romantic or gothic novel and successfully recreates typical characters situations and even dialogue Yet his perspective is that of the twentieth century as can be noted in the authorial intrusions and opening quotations drawn from the works of Victorian writers whose observations were uniquely different from the assumptions that most Victorians held about their world In this way he attempts to critique those values that Victorians most heralded Until today the Victorian Age was seen to be a Golden Age where Reason and Rationality were proclaimed as dogma and faith People were beginning to question the claims that religion made about the existence of God and the beginning of man Anything that could not be proven through experimentation and science was immediately treated with suspicion With Charles Darwins The Origin of Species 1859 the biblical myth of Adam and Eve and the origins of man were shattered Darwins work created quite an uproar as it succeeded it in shattering the Victorian peoples unquestioning religious faith The Victorian society imposed a great deal of repressive conventions and norms on its people especially women and the working class Victorian women were socially conditioned to believe that their rightful place was at home with their husbands and children A Victorian woman was expected to accept the patriarchal norm unhesitatingly Her duty was to her husband and children Only if she toed this social line would she be deemed a proper young Victorian lady The institution of marriage was often a contract agreement Money often married into a titled family as in Charles and Ernestinas case thereby reinforcing the dominant societys power Money and nobility were often the main criteria for a Victorian marriage The practice of prostitution was a topic that Victorian archivists rarely touched upon Most historians up until recently thought that the Victorian age was known for its virtuous and pure qualities yet Fowles
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