Posted by Kay on February 18, 1998 at 17:00:59:
In response to Contemporary readers, written by Constanza on February 18, 1998 at 09:48:53
] I wonder how Forster's readers (I mean his contemporaries) perceived the novel and the characters. Would they have realized what Charlotte's faults were?
Probably the younger generation of Forster's social class could. Many of the Victorian beliefs about women and what was proper had become fossilized, so that we see Forster's women characters afraid to act or even think because it might be wrong. Women of Charlotte's generation still believed they had to be the "Angel of the House." But it's a fast-paced new century.
Change seems even to overtake Charlotte (and saves her a little, in my mind). One would think she would disapprove of Miss Lavish, especially since she abandoned Lucy, but Charlotte is actually attracted to her original spirit and independence. I guess Charlotte, in the back of her mind thinks that some of her notions should be challenged.
In part II, you can see even more differences between the generations. Forster himself came from a family of strong women, and many of his friends were discussing inequality in education between men and women.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.