Teaching / Society / Culture /
Jan and I watched Effie Gray last night: John Ruskin and family’s abused bride. Even the servants, seeing the lay of the land, abuse her. Effie wants to be a good Ruskin wife, n body gives her a chance: they like it that she’s pretty, angelic-looking, models clothes well: she has high social status, but no human status.
I fell in love with John Ruskin in grad school, early 1960s, trying to cram my neglect of the Victorians into a semester or two of catchup. I’ll string some notes here, then develop, then edit.
First, summary: women’s rights — wives’ rights — weren’t the Victorians only areas of neglect.
Did you see Harold & Maude? A school the kid is applying to sends a questionaire, trying to get to know the kid: mother fills out the answeers, never consults the kid himself: that’s Effie Gray exactly. Her life is assigned to her, no one cares what her real reactions are.