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Agnes Grey

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Agnes Grey is an autobiographical novel which recounts the experience of a young governess born of a financially-ruined clergyman. During England's Victorian period, there wasn't much else for a respectable and intelligent young woman to do: you were either wealthy and had governesses to care for your children, or you were, well, a governess yourself. Such was Anne's life, and the life of her protagonist. Agnes goes to work for two families, the Bloomfields and the Murrays, who are not so much the virtuous Victorian bourgeois, but are the corrupt and callous, but aren't If one were to read the novel for its realistic depiction of life as a governess, it's an incredibly accurate account: the spoiled kids, the sneering servants, the aloof parents with their yapping dogs. If one were to look at Agnes Grey with contemporary eyes, one could see her as a nanny working for a rich couple today in London or New York of today.

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