Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of English

Advisor(s)

Annette R. Federico

Abstract

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) was an English novelist and religious poet, the youngest of the literary Brontë siblings. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë wrote some of the most esteemed novels of the Victorian canon. Children of an Anglican minister, the Brontës were accustomed to clerical life and the conventions of nineteenth-century religious observance. Anne’s faith, however, was unique and radical, an unorthodox form of Christianity called Universalism, which held that all human beings would be saved, not just those chosen by God. This thesis examines her two novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, in the context of her belief in Universalism. Brontë’s faith motivated and justified her rebellion against Victorian abuse of power: instead of obeying unjust cultural conventions, which implies submission to authority, she uses her faith to subvert traditional patriarchal structures in favor of supporting not only women’s rights, but the rights of all living beings.

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