In a few short pages,” writes Francine Prose in her Introduction, “May Sinclair succeeds in rendering the oppressive weight and strength. This short book charts the life of Harriett Frean, from birth to death. She is born into a well to do Victorian tradesman’s family in a London suburb. Life and Death of Harriett Frean: English literature: The literature of World War I and the interwar period: Olivier: A Life () and Life and Death of Harriett.
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Sinclair is an accomplished novelist, but most of her work is rather puzzlingly out of print. Yet things are beginning to change. Social protection, self interest, and harrett deep insecurity of the middle class, this novel cuts to the heart of the good life. Harriett is proud of her self-sacrifice which she believes is the highest love of all but when she falls in love with her best friend’s fiance she is forced to question everything she thought she knew.
As such, many must have suffered dull, unfruitful, deatg unsatisfying lives that were spent pouring out tea in stuffy, cluttered parlours and caring for their rapidly ageing parents. Her actions destroy the lives of herself, her best friend, and the man she loves.
In the end, this is a novel about the choices we make and how we live with them when we can’t go back and change our minds. Or if you remember, that there’d be nothing now which would tell you that some things you’ve done in the past, especially those you thought were right or beautiful or principled were actually horrible mistakes or acts of cruelty or selfishness.
Yes…I have seen these claims recently, saying that women are unhappy because they should never have tried to have careers.
Life and Death of Harriett Frean – Wikipedia
Stuck within the structural confines of this conditioning, she makes choices that are for the benefit of others and not herself. This is ot remarkable book — frightening, angry, yet inventively, restrainingly, and sensitively written. In its singleminded satire of a long-buried standard, I found it totally depressing, stif As a denunciation of the Victorian-era ideal daughter, dutiful to the point of total self-negation, this probably had considerable bite in its era.
May Sinclair was also a significant critic, in the a Librarian Note: It does, however enable the reader to see how Harriet supresses her own feelings freqn desires. Her parents remain with her as does the expectations she feels society has of her.
And then we learn that her oof was just the same way and that her parents weren’t all shiny and perfect as Harriet idolized them to be.
I caught a little mouse under the chair… Have you seen the Queen, Hatty? Nowadays, the protagonist seems almost mythologically empty, unable and unwilling to ever form any personality, goals, or really any relationship to the world whatsoever beyond a veneration of harrieett father and the love she heroically destroyingly denied herself. It’s amusing that a story can be woven out of something ordinary; it’s even part of Project Gutenberg! Harriett who was so sure of herself till now, grows insecure.
However, the book is also a more modernistic piece in that Harriett almost becomes insane due to the path her life takes a mundane one and questions her belief in very outdated Victorian values such as the family and ‘beautiful behaviour’. Want to Read saving….
Harriett, having grown up and conditioned to a particular culture and way of thinking, believes that acting “beautifully” is the right and only way of living. There’s just so much material. I am sure it would be a book you would find fascinating Penny!
Interesting Literature is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites harriftt earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. My problem with this is that such a thing is foolish and dramatic for no reason. What if you don’t hxrriett out enough? Is it good to think just about yourself at times in life Actually she may never have existed so unimpressive, futile and meaningless her life was, and she herself more and more dependant, at first from her parents later from her maid.
Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Harriett is the only child of her highly moral Victorian parents who have inculcated her with the virtue of behaving well. So many women with intelligence, beauty and ambition struggling in a world that only values the status of a married woman.
The Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair | Book Snob
View all 10 comments. The idea is that you live a life of private misery because you do nothing to make your parents or anyone else the least bit upset ever.
This started as a 3-rating; then moved to 4; and is teetering dangerously on the edge of 5, because while it took me an hour to read, it’s been eating away at my heart for the better part of 48; worming its insidious little thoughts into my heart and brain, while I reflect on the nothing-life of Harriet Frean. Sinclair’s account of the life of a fictionalised Victorian woman, who goes against gender stereotypes in several ways, is a joy and deli I reread The Life and Death of Harriett Frean for my thesis, as Sinclair is an author whom I am focusing on.
Reading this tale I couldn’t help but write in my mind the parallel life of Harriett if she had made a different decision and am not sure if her life would have been happier, only different. It is also a dark and harsh critique of late Victorian morals and propriety as well as an examination of the dark side of familial bonds. Harriet shrivels as she grows older and overall the whole is rather bleak; Harriet never really becomes a person in her own right.