Short Analysis of Chevely, or Man of Honor Essay
Updated: Nov 20th, 2019
The paper is an analysis of the symbolism of Rosina Lytton’s work which shows the gender disparities that existed in the Victorian Era exploring the theme of women and specifically wives whose husbands are public figures, and the pain such women had to undergo.
In the opening scene Mowbray beats his wife Julia. However, to conceal the acts of domestic violence her husband makes everyone believe that she has slipped on the floor and that it was an accident. Although the doctor has reservation about the accident, Julia concurs with her husband lies to the doctor about her cause of injury (Lytton 2). One of the symbols used in this book is a mask. At the beginning of the book, Julia has a mask which she wore.
The mask represents the fact that the reality can be concealed so that it will not be seen as it is supposed to be. There are instances where Julia pretended that her marriage was happy even though it was not the case. For instance, when she learnt that her husband was having relationship with other women she pretended that it was not true (Lytton 10). In addition, she masks herself when she has been mistreated and physically injured by concealing that everything happened was an accident though it was not.
Mowbray pretends that she loves Julia although it is not the case as his actions tell otherwise. He is aware that his marriage has problems but wants his way to stay with him and pretends that it is working so that he can gain political favors as a morally upright and family person (Lytton 18).
The author’s symbolic use of mask at the beginning is seen later where the other author shows instances of what the wife is expected to do. The book details how Julia is forced to pretend that everything is well in her family even when she is mistreated. When her husband has other mistresses she is insulted verbally and physically (Lytton 7).
The theme of this book is about women as well as how they were expected to play a secondary role to their husbands no matter their attitude towards their wives. They were expected to remain in their marriages with god-like patience even though it was hurting (Lytton 22). Men unlike women did not follow the same code of behavior and expectations by the society. Mowbray accuses her wife of ill temper as well as separation when his wife violently responds to him after finding him with a mistress (Lytton 27).
Men expect their wives to be patient and silent when they mistreat them yet they tell everyone when they feel that their wives have wronged them as Mowbray did to Julia. Julia goes to the extent of giving her husband money to fund his extravagant lifestyle thinking that it would make him love her more but it results into more problems (Lytton 30).
The book has used irony as a key feature. The character presented in this book deserves an honor. The author has used the title as a symbolism to show that what people see may not always be real. She exposes the life of wives of public figures along with the pain they have to experience as well as betrayal they undergo in order for them to remain married. Rosina’s book serves as a good study of gender disparities that existed in the Victorian Era and provokes one’s mind to think whether there are places where such gender disparities exist.
Lytton, Rosina. Chevely, or Man of Honor. London: Swan Sonnenschein Press, 1839. Print.
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