19th Century Humanities

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall     by Anne Bronte

          This is a book written by Anna Bronte, who was one of the Bronte Sisters. It describes the story of a young wife during the Bristish Regency era, when King George IV was in throne, also otherwise known as Prince Regent.  The wife had ran away from her abusive husband who's drunk almost all the time. This novel gives insight into the historical roles of men and women and also illustrates how marriage has changed and how some things-- such as abusing-- have not.
          The Tenant of Wildfell Hall begins with a letter from Gilbert Markham, promising to tell Halford his biggest secret in his life. In the fall of 1827, a widowed woman named Helen Grahm moved into an old building in Wildfell Hall. Mrs.Grahm earned her living by painting landscapes, and she used a pseudonym for each of her paintings to hide her current location. 
          Throughout the winter, Gilbert and Helen started having many pleasant conversations. Gilbert gradually became very fond of Helen and soon confessed to her about his love. Outside were rumours all about Helen and another guy named Lawrence having a thing for each other. Despite of the rumours, Gilbert still believed in Helen, until one day when Gilbert visits Wildfell Hall the following week to lend Helen a book, just in time to see Lawrence and Helen walking together, arm-in-arm. Gilbert poured himself into his work and avoided meeting Helen as much as he can. Helen finally catches Gilbert one day and asked him why he's avoiding her. Gilbert refused to answer such question, but was curious about what Helen meant when she wanted to explain. Gilbert visited Helen the next day and revealed his emotions. After Gilbert was done with expressing his thoughts, Helen gives him her diary to explain what she had always wanted to tell him.
          Her diary began in June 1, 1821, seven years earlier. Helen met a man named Arthur Huntingdon, she was very interested in him and married him even though it was against her aunt's advice. Helen believed that she can help him regain his reputation back through her own good nature, but when he rejects her moral advices, Helen becomes disillusioned.        Arthur Huntingdon preferred drinking and having illicit affairs outside of the house. As the marriage worsens, Helen excludes him from her bedroom, and Arthur retaliates by teaching their son how to drink and swear. Helen, unable to bear with Arthur's behaviour and attitude, made an attempt to escape. But when Arthur found out and caught her, he destroyed all of Helen's property, including all her paint brushes and works of art, making Helen penniless and worthless. Helen soon made her second attempt and succeeded, bringing her son along with her; she arrived in Wildfell Hall and earned her living as an artist. 
          Helen's diary clearly depicts women's search for identity, which was against the Victorian marriage laws. During the Victorian era, married women were considered as an absolute property of husbands. In other words, if a wife leaves her husband, their children must be under the husband's property and not the wife's property. Until later in 1882, the Married Women's Property Act was held, reforming the rights of women.


1)      A) Which main topic does the artifact relate to? In what ways?
This artifact relates to the gender roles of women in the society because it clearly illustrates the abusive power of males and how all properties, no matter what, belongs to the males.

B) Which other main topics does it also relate to?
This artifact can also relate to human's expression through arts according to the paintings that Helen Grahms drew.

2) Why did you choose this artifact, and how much time did you spend creating and/ or processing it?
   I chose this artifact because reading different various kinds of stories are always interesting, making you want to learn more about what happened in the end. This took me about two hours to complete reading the summary of the story plot and summarizing it in my own words.

3) What insights and understanding have you gained from the creation and/or processing of this artifact?
   It made me understand what it feels like when males have the power over you and you could suddenly become a nobody if the male authorizes his power over you.

4) Does this artifact reflect your best work and/or ideas? Why, or why not?
   This artifact doesn't really reflect my best work, although the story was very intriguing, it isn't the best way to explain how women were liberated due to its lack of detail of the progress.

5) Rate this artifact on a scale of -5 to 5 for the following 4 criterion:

   A) impact on the quality of your portfolio                     2

   B) Impact on your level of happiness/enjoyment         4

   C) impact on your learning                                            3

   D) Level of creativity and originality                             1

6) Any additional comments.