Department Chair

Dr. Ralph L. Wahlstrom, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of English

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

English, M.A.


English Department


Dr. Karen Sands- O' Connor, Ph.D., Professor of English

Department Home page

First Reader

Dr. Karen Sands- O' Connor, Ph.D., Professor of English

Second Reader

Dr. Mark Fulk, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English


Women during the Victorian Era did not have many rights. They were viewed as only supposed to be housewives and mothers to their children. The women during this era were only viewed as people that should only concern themselves with keeping a successful household. However, during this time women were forced into working positions outside of the household.

Women that were forced into working situations outside of their households were viewed negatively by society. Many women needed to have an income to support their families because the men in the household were not making enough money to survive. When the women entered the work places they were not made to feel welcome and were often harassed. These women workers therefore were not welcome in the work place (outside of the household) or in society.

The texts Helen Fleetwood, Goblin Market, North and South, Shirley and Sybil all have women in different working roles during this era. All of these texts strive to show that working women of all classes and working roles are viewed and treated poorly by Victorian society as a whole. However, the society is not giving the women any other option to advance or fix the situation that they are in. These texts show the unsafe conditions these working women were faced with and the treatments of them from society as a whole.