The Miseducation Of Victorian Women

Elizabeth Barrett Browning expresses her views on the education or lack of education of Victorian women in her verse novel, Aurora Leigh. In this work, she reflects how Victorian women are not educated for the purposes of becoming capable, enlightened human beings, but are instructed to be ornamental, informed-but not intelligent, compliant housewives. Although, Barrett Browning does not directly state this, I think that she would agree that the “education” that Aurora Leigh and many women of the Victorian era received was not a true education at all. Webster’s dictionary defines “educate” as, “to develop mentally and morally esp. by formal instruction.” It is clear from Aurora Leigh ...

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Martineau who wrote What Women Are Educated For. Their views support what Barrett Browning communicates in Aurora Leigh with additional insights into the reality of the Victorian education of women.
The main focus of the instruction of young women in the Victorian era, which they referred to as an education, was on making these women into “Ornaments of Society” (Damrosch 1604). This meant that women were to adorn society with their appearance, their voices, their instrumental abilities, their dancing skills, their knowledge of obsolete information, and of course their most elegant and proper demeanor. In Aurora Leigh, Aurora describes her aunt’s expectation of English women in the Victorian society to be “models to the universe.” (pg 19 line 446). Therefore, the education that Aurora receives is meant to train her to fulfill this ridiculous standard. Aurora, however, clearly finds her aunt's concept of education to train her for nothing of importance, let alone to be a ...

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completely random, but the information that she learns in regards to these places is trivial. In addition, she never mentions at anytime, learning about her residing country, England, even though her aunt finds it so important for Aurora to become like an English woman that she is to abstain from speaking Italian. Knowledge about what was going on in England at the time is not for her to know because then she might start wanting to participate in the way that the country was being governed. However, acting like a proper English woman, with smoothed back hair (pg 16 line 386) and uttering trivia, is of the utmost importance for it will catch her a husband and make her family look ...

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The Miseducation Of Victorian Women. (2005, March 30). Retrieved March 17, 2018, from
"The Miseducation Of Victorian Women.", 30 Mar. 2005. Web. 17 Mar. 2018. <>
"The Miseducation Of Victorian Women." March 30, 2005. Accessed March 17, 2018.
"The Miseducation Of Victorian Women." March 30, 2005. Accessed March 17, 2018.
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Added: 3/30/2005 11:59:38 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 2338
Pages: 9

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