Publisher and Publication Date: Wordsworth Classics. 1994. First published in 1847.
Genre: Classic literature/fiction.
Pages: Total of 153 written pages.
Audience: Readers of Brontë literature, women in literature, Classic literature, and Classic British literature.
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Northern England. Rural. Early 1800s.
Agnes Grey is the youngest sister. Her older sister by 5-6 years is Mary. Their parents are from different socio-economic backgrounds. Her father is a respectable clergyman. Their mother is a squire’s daughter. Her family and friends had advised her to not marry him. They did marry and have a happy marriage. After their marriage, their mother has no contact with her family.
Agnes is the baby and is treated as a baby. She asks to contribute to certain tasks around the home, but it is easier for her family to say no than to teach her how.
Agnes thinks about her current station in life and yearns to do more. She wants to be productive and useful.
A bad investment creates tension and insecurity in the family. Agnes poses her thoughts about being a governess to her family. At first, her family said no, but later they agreed.
In Agnes Grey, Agnes’s first job is a governess with the Bloomfield family. Later, Agnes has a governess job at Horton Lodge with the Murray family.
It’s been several years ago that I read Agnes Grey. I love to reread books because I always pick up on things I did not before.
What I love about Agnes Grey:
1. Agnes is a mature, down to earth 18-year-old young woman when the story begins. She only grows more mature through life experiences that don’t always turn out the way she’d hoped. I love it that she does not sulk, pout, or think highly of herself. She is humble. She is teachable. She is patient and kind. She is resourceful. She is observant about her living conditions and the kind of people she meets. She is a thinking person. She analyzes people and is wise in her judgements and decisions. She speaks her mind when she feels led to respond. She asks advice from people who are trustworthy and wise. She lives her Christian belief. She does not tell me she is a Christian. She demonstrates her life as a Christian. She is an admirable character.
2. Agnes Grey has secondary characters who are a varied mix of temperaments and traits. They are children, youth, and adults. They are boys and girls, men and women. For the book to be small, it is rich is secondary stories, it is rich in personalities and vivid characters. For example, a young boy who torments and is cruel to animals. When he is questioned about his behavior, he still does not believe he is in the wrong, and he blames others for approving of his act. Another character desires money and title and prestige, but when she achieves her goal, she is disillusioned.
3. Agnes Grey is a perfect story for a person wanting to read a classic work but doesn’t want to read a lengthy story. It is small in pages but it’s an entertaining and moral story. It is a story easy to understand. It is a story that has a strong storyline.
4. Agnes is a character who I know her thoughts and feelings. I don’t merely read her dialogue but know her thoughts and feelings behind the words.
5. I wonder what promising books Anne could have written had she lived longer. She wrote another story, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It is sad her life was cut-short.