Summative Blog 19th Century

Throughout the 19th Century, both the Romantic and Victorian age have emerged pivotal concerns, in which we correlate with today’s society. It is through these concerns that in this day and age, we can feel a deeper connection and have meaningful and creative lives as we continually opened to the world who previously experienced the struggles and questions in which we do now.

The women of the Romantic age expressed the way they felt; many authors and poems shared that they were stereotyped and repressed due to social values. It was through this, that a feminist power seized itself into the 19th Century. Women such as Dorothy Wordsworth and Mary Wollstonecraft were brought into the light, where women were able to voice their opinions and express their discontent with their own societies. With the strong movement of women’s rights in the 21st Century, we now have been encouraged to speak the perspective of women and so forth be labelled as feminists. This has taken a toll on the way the world is perceived as people who have a more appealing voice in the world such as ‘UN Women Goodwill Ambassador’, Emma Watson, has recently been able to make this happen with her debut and influential UN speech “He for She” in 2014. Likewise, Jane Austen took a similar but dividing route in her novel “Emma”, as she portrayed the protagonist as someone who wanted to control every element of her mundane lifestyle. From this, we now have come to terms with the fact that life forges its own path and we are just along for the ride. A similar experience emerges when Emma tries to match make who she thinks belongs to who. However, she discovers towards the end, she has a deep and uneasy revelation in her life when she realises something she can’t control, her vulnerable and stripped back feelings.

Another author who gauged their audiences in the Victorian Era was Charles Dickens with his novel “Hard Times”. He bases his idea of an ‘Imaginative Freedom’ around a young circus girl named Sissy Jupe. Her role as the protagonist it to optimise the way of freedom, to take risks and live one’s life to the fullest. However, some may say that the antagonist, Mr Gragrind, who was her teacher and later on in the novel her guardian detested everything about her and what she stood for. In the world we live in today, this can be an ongoing theme with people of a higher status or people who believe in the importance of facts and the utilitarian lifestyle. These usefulness factors still stand in today’s society. People who are seen as poor, ‘not normal’, rebel against what they have already been given stand in the place of Sissy Jupe. These people are ones who express their mind on topics some are unwilling to touch. For example, now we have a civilisation were LGBTI’s are free to express their creative minds through makeup, colours, and even who they are in the world.

Art in the 19th Century has made an enormous impact on the way people feel and view the world today. An incredible piece by Eugene Von Guerard “Milford Sound” (1877-1879) reflects the balance that can be created through realistic and non-realistic feelings. This constant essence of being comfortable with nature can be seen through the colour palette. Starting from the top of the painting the lilac and grey sky to the brown and green rocky mountains then gazing into the crystal blue water onto to the pulled back green and brown land. When looking at the feelings artist receive today, it shows them that there is no limit in the way art can be expressed and that the colours they choose to do so display the powerful meaning and feeling they receive from their environment and landscape. Another artwork which reveals the concerns of the time is Frederic Lord Leighton’s piece “Cymon and Iphigenia” (1884). Cymon means beast and foreshadows the idea that this individual is a reckless person, however, seems to be smitten with Iphigenia who reveals herself as a symbol of seduction. In this time images like this were very popular but frowned upon. In the 21st Century, they are increasingly prevalent to express the emotion of the time and how one individual or one experience can change another’s ways.

Finally, one novel in which I truly would recommend to anyone who would want to explore literature would be George Eliot’s “Silas Marner”. Although the story is about Marner, the thing that sprung itself onto me was the character, Godfrey Cass and his relatability to 21st Century. Cass is seen as a harsh persona who is only concerned with his wealth and his image. If that doesn’t sound like the 21st-century stereotype then I don’t know what else could be. Later on in this story, he wants to take his love child back for himself and his new wife and claims that she would be better off with the wealth he has. The mistake that this character has made and that I guess most individuals seems to make is that the infatuation with money has nothing to do with the person and their identity. His biological daughter, Eppie has grown up with a loving step-father (Marner) and has become the loving, caring and generous person she is due to his paternal instincts. This story can be seen as a ‘man in the mirror’ reflection. Cass needs to look at himself and see that money doesn’t solve everything it is the love you have for the people around you and in this case, it’s for his daughter.

As you can probably notice by my summary I really enjoyed learning and diving into the world of 19th Century Literature and Art. I do strongly believe that through the Romantic and Victorian Ages authors, novelists, poets, dramatists and artists highlight concerns in which we as the 21st Century civilisation incur. These forms of literature truly express in more ways than one how our creative and meaningful lives can be truly lived to the fullest and I’m extremely taken back by how much they do this.


#6 Peer Review

Hi Victoria,

Wow! I also choose this question and the character but our responses are done in a way which is unique to our writing styles.
With every word and new idea, you bring up it all flows. I really applaud your mention of “Yes she is a product you have manufactured, but she is not a daughter you have loved.”, because for some reason I don’t even think Godfrey Cass sees the damage he has caused in this little girls life and his own by not claiming Eppie as his own. Instead, she’s been yearning to feel that masculine hole inside of her that she finds in Silas Marner.
Your concluding paragraph is structured in a way where you are looking into Godfrey’s mind and forcing him to hear what you’re saying. He has done the wrong thing but he now has to live with the consequences of his actions.
Maybe, you could of adding a picture but I don’t really think it needs one as your words are already so vivid!
You’ve done a fantastic job!!

#7 A Letter to Godfrey Cass

Dear Godfrey Cass,

You don’t know who I am, you don’t know where I am from, but I know your story. Although the way you reveal yourself to the world as being someone harsh and cruel, in one certain circumstance you show a glimmer of hope. Nobody can tell if you are being sincere because they’ve never seen that side of you before but I’m willing to see both sides of your story. You seem to have been ashamed of one of your own hidden and neglected her for many years and only now you seem to have realised the missing piece in your life.

Eppie is not only your blood and your daughter but someone who can change you for the better. It is only now after she has developed a bond with someone else whom you despise that you want to claim her as your own to save your image and relationship with your wife Nancy. Although it may be true that a daughter should have a relationship with her father, Silas Marner has filled that void in immensely, where you should have previously been and by commanding and demanding a forced relationship with your biological daughter isn’t the right way to start a relationship.

You have lost in this case because the true affection that you can see Marner has towards Eppie and vice or verse overcomes the ‘happy family’ image that you are trying to display. The higher status lifestyle doesn’t always trump the lower class lifestyle. The materialism that you can’t shake loses against the depth of having a genuine connection and a happy and healthy lifestyle.

If you believe it is your ‘duty’ why didn’t you do it from the beginning? Be the father you knew deep down you should have been. However, flashing your monetary wealth is the way you do so. You are showing your daughter, her step-father as well as your wife that you are someone who always gets what they want by any means. Even I can see it when you’re trying to portray to Marner that monetary benefits will be provided by having your daughter in your life. Why would you show off your money? That is not all that matters in this world? Is your daughter healthy and happy? The answer is yes. Has she been well looked after and raised? The answer is also yes.

Humor me, why would you show off your money? That is not all that matters in this world? Is your daughter healthy and happy? The answer is yes. Has she been well looked after and raised? The answer is also yes.

Think about these mistakes if you ever get a chance to do this again. Learning from them is the best way to have even a slight relationship with Eppie. As I said before, a daughter should have a relationship with her father. As a concerned stranger, maybe look at it through someone else’s eyes.

Kind Regards,
Annaliese Ferraro

#5 Peer Review

Hey Adam,
I really like how unique this blog is! I like the fact that you are being true to your thoughts instead of rambling upon how relevant you previously thought your journey to the art gallery was our studies, shown in the opening line. When you start presenting the idea of Romanticism, I quite enjoyed the emphasis you place on this particular type of art that strays from the traditions, to convey, as you put it, the “cultural movement” of that time period.
I found it so interesting how to close your post you created your own piece of artwork to display what you’ve learned on your venture to the art gallery and how it truly contrasts to Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”.
You’ve done such a great job! 🙂

#6 The Scholar Gypsy – Matthew Arnold

Question: Take one stanza from the Scholar Gypsy and carefully explicate its meaning saying how you think the language and form (stanza shape) contribute to the stanza’s power and effect.

The significance of this stanza was to highlight the rumors, which has begun circulating about the whereabouts of the scholar gypsy. It was as if wherever the scholar gypsy was located was such a sacred place and it would take some time to venture to. The location of the scholar gypsy was the countryside. It paints the scene in a sense that something big and miraculous is coming.

Written by Matthew Arnold: Stanza 6

“This said, he left them, and returned no more.-
But rumors hung about the countryside,
That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray,
Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and tongue-tied,
In hat of antique shape, and a cloak of grey,
The same the gypsies wore.
Shepherds had met him on the Hurst in spring;
At some lone alehouse in the Berkshire moors,
On the warm ingle-bench, the smock-frocked boors
Had found him seated their entering,”

In each stanza at the centre of the paragraph the structure changes for one line. The 6th line is the shortest and makes the shape of the stanza change its mold. It forwards a message that we have to think about and put the pieces together for.
The line reads as The same the gypsies wore.” – It is the only line in this stanza which pauses with a full stop, reading the unlikely matter which has been noted before. In this sense, the speaker is comparing or detailing the scholar persona to be alike one of a reaper (grim reaper context) “in hat antique shape, and a cloak of grey,”

I like the fact that you can see how far language has come from back then to now. Words have been grammatically corrected, sentences have been punctuated to allow for pauses, but In saying that the way this certain stanza is written with all it’s short and sharp sentences portrays the pace in which this story goes through. It’s fast and continually beating. The speaker effectively without making it too sudden changes the pronoun to second person pronoun. This is done intentionally to create a sense of intimacy with the scholar gypsy as well as for special effect.

#4 Peer Review

Hi Belle,
I could not believe my eyes when I saw that we had similar views on “Hard Times”. I’ve also always wanted to venture to a place of such wonder and beauty like England. I appreciate that you see Dicken’s writing as words which are purposefully placed to be analysed. For example when you mention, “give them a little more play”, you highlight that child-like innocence in adults wanting children to become workers instead truly having a necessary part of their development such as ‘play’. As well the idea of that the circus is linked to the imaginative part of an individual which needs to encompass both the serious and imaginative sides to a human being. I adore the fact that your image came from Pinterest, some people, i.e. myself really don’t know how to incorporate other forms of social media so it is really refreshing to see the media outlet you’ve chosen. All in all, you’ve done a fantastic job, I can’t fault it!


#5 Art Gallery Visit

Write a short summary of your gallery visit today. Mention 2 or 3 of the paintings that most appealed to you and why.

Exploring the art gallery of NSW has been the time of the semester I always wait for. It is one of the few places where I am truly taken back and amazed by the artwork and their backstories. The choice in colour, the meanings as well as the time frame all come together to host a fantastic collective piece of artwork, sculpture and or film.

As we ventured through the 19th century exhibit to find many artworks, which I was astounded by. One such as John Glover’s “Launceston and the River Tamar” which was created in 1832. This piece stood out to me, as it’s romantic themes bounced of the art by using colours of nature, the greens, and the browns, which are all earthy tones. When I glance at this piece I feel as though the trees are imposed, that nature, the scrubland has to enforce European quality, the essence of perfection. The major aspect, which is being admired in this artwork, is the abundance of land. I believe Glover has positioned the frame this way to recognise that there is so much beauty in nature that it could go on for miles. On the right side of the frame, Glover has placed a minuscule sized husband and wife, by doing this he has envisage what it would be like to reflect in nature and it amplifies how small the human race is compared to the environment around us.

Another incredible piece, which I cannot forget, is Eugene Von Guerard’s “Milford Sound”, (1877-1879). The reason why this piece is so unforgettable to me is that the image, which is created, has a balanced realistic and non-realistic feel. What I mean by this is that, the image created through the colouring of lilac and grey tones force the viewer to imagine him or herself in a world of such beauty that it almost seems fake. The artwork is made to show the relationship those human beings to nature, that it is almost insignificant when looking at the height of the mountains in the background. In all honesty when I look at this particular artwork I feel calm, it becomes like a ‘home’ environment, in the sense where it makes me feel comfortable and content like I am allowed to believe in the realistic and the imaginary.


Sir Luke Fildes 1875-1876 piece “The Widower”, was an artwork which I was truly glad to see on Wednesday ‘s trip. The image as a whole consist of a father caring for his children, the setting, which seems run down and a mother in the background cooking with what they have. The darkness, which the painting alludes to, refers to the troublesome times. Fildes focuses on the fact that they’re not rich by the costuming, he dresses each person with broken or dirty clothes to make it easier for the viewer to comprehend. It also references to the idea that this particular family are suffering and going through hardship but besides all that the importance of family is the strength that keeps them together.

Finally, an artwork, which I became extremely interested as soon as I laid eyes on it, was Frederic Lord Leighton’s piece “Cymon & Iphigenia” (1884). When being told that ‘Cymon’ refers to the beast, it quickly appeared to me that the character was a reckless persona. However, simultaneously was smitten with the main woman in the frame. Although Cymon is seen to be a womaniser, which is shown by the other female in the frame, the artwork can be seen as a seduction not just on Cymon’s part but also on Iphigenia’s. Her body language is seen as promiscuous through the way her garments only show parts of her body and the positioning of her body on the bed. In the background there is the sun, which is rising, it can be seen as a symbol of his conscience awakening.


#3 Peer Review

Hi Julena, I really like your approach to this creative question. When I read it, it almost reminded me of a television program in the 90’s called “Boy Meets World”, when you wrote, “How experiencing new things will lead us to emotions we’ve never felt before”. The way you have used short and sharp syntax pops out at someone who reads it. It isn’t boring nor too long that someone would get distracted, it is just the right amount. However, for next time maybe expressing or even elaborating on what you mean by “teach us the way of the world.”. If you do that it may open another underlying theme of the book such as lack of experience of the world surrounding young people. As well maybe a photo or a quote even, portraying someone’s disinterest to what Mr Gradgrind is teaching in the class. Overall you’ve done a great job! 🙂

#4 Themes in Hard Times

Take a passage from Hard Times (a paragraph long) and explain why and how this paragraph is important to the key themes of the novel.

I’ve taken a passage from Book the First: Chapter two, which I was engaged with when it was read in the lecture. This passage is broken up through the stage of three pages. It is one of the initial places that the audience introduced to one of the key themes which is the conflict with being able to attain imaginative freedom versus fact, fact, fact.

Dickens’ emerges this concept of Imaginative freedom when introducing a circus girl names Sissy Jupe. Her importance to this theme is that she is the symbol of everything that is allowed to be out of line and free. By introducing her in this paragraph Dickens’ also shows how harsh people can be when they think they are of a higher standard, as shown by Mr Gradgrind when he complains about the way she says her name.

“Girl number twenty”, said Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his square forefinger, “I don’t know that girl who is that girl?” “Sissy Jupe, sir,” explained number twenty, blushing, standing up, and curtseying.
“Sissy is not a name,” said Mr Gradgrind. “Don’t call yourself Sissy. Call yourself Cecilia.” … Page 8

“Girl number twenty is unable to define a horse!” said Mr Gradgrind, for the behoof of all the little pitchers. “Girl number twenty possessed of no facts, in reference to one of the commonest of animals! Some boy’s definition of a horse. Bitzer, yours.” …. Page 9

Another notion, which I find really interesting, is the underlying argument between imaginative freedom and fact. It is almost as if Mr Gradgrind is tagging in someone who he believes holds sufficient about of detail to embarrass someone who lacks the basics, someone who breathes their sentence and goes with the flow. Bitzer’s role isn’t just to answer the question it is to foreshadow the desperate lengths the idea of ‘fact’ goes to the life of the citizens in Coketown.

“Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Shed coats in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in the mouth.” … Pages 9-10

This scene in the novel, at the school, reveals the constant concept which runs throughout the story. That Coketown is not just a town who judges those who are poor, though live with happiness in their lives rather than to those who live in an upper class or higher status and are despaired by how unhappy facts make them. However, it introduces ‘Imaginative Freedom’ and by having it allows the character and the reader become more open to the benefits of being ‘free’ within your mind and in this society.

Image: CokeTown

Quotes: Dickens, Charles, and Fred Kaplan. Hard Times. 1st ed. Print.

#3 What a suburb!

Write a paragraph describing your own city or suburb using some of the literary language techniques that we have seen working in Charles Dickens.

I wanted to reflect on the suburb I live in. The area where for the past 10 years has made up the person I am today, the people, the houses, the community centres.

Horsley, oh Horsley once was a beautiful piece of green land which could be paced back all the way to the Father himself. You couldn’t see much just land upon the land upon the land. The formation of houses, the local pub, the nearby grocery store which was only 5 minutes away were all pivotal industrial movements to make my area boom and current. This form of a ‘boom’ turned into a destruction of landscapes. A quiet place emerged as a suburb known for its late night hooligan led drives. Although due to the many changes, in a sense the community has grown closer. The many of the locals know each other by name and greet them with a sense of family. This is my suburb, this is my home.