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Chapter 7
A New Kind of Angel in the Modern Age

Living in the Industrial Age

In our story, Engel is surprised to find that the new factory-made angel is unlike the guardian angels who watched over those in need in the past. Instead, her hurtful words and actions reveal her lack of compassion for others below her rank. Engel has witnessed what is called a cultural shift brought on by the new Industrial Age. Women's roles in an agrarian society where men and women worked as a team at the same location were now forced to spend their days apart in separate worlds achieving separate goals. In fact, the strict gender ideals and stereotypes established during the Victorian era led men to hold more power over women on every social level. This belief in  ‘separate spheres’ meant that a man’s place was in the world of economics and business while a woman was a trophy of the home. Separate spheres worked alongside Darwin’s theory, the ‘Survival of the Fittest,’ which placed men higher on the evolutionary ladder.

The man’s power is active, progressive defensive. He is eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender. His intellect is for speculation and invention; his energy for adventure, war, and for conquest... but the woman’s power is for rule, not for battle – and her intellect is not for invention or creation, but for sweet ordering, arrangement, and decision… she must be enduringly, incorruptibly good; instinctively, infallibly wise, wise not for self development, but for self-renunciation: wise, not that she may set herself above her husband, but that she may never fall from his side.’

                                                                                                                                                                  John Ruskin


According to the Britannica, The Industrial Revolution transformed economies that had been based on agriculture and handicrafts into economies based on large-scale industry, mechanized manufacturing, and the factory system.

With the introduction of steam energy powered by coal in Great Britain, over 9,000 miles of railway were laid, connecting cities and towns. Huge steam turbines generated electricity in power plants for homes and factories. Steam locomotives carried passengers and cargo from factories to ports. Wealth was no longer restricted to the royal class. Large fortunes were made in manufacturing. The middle class prospered and aspired to demonstrate their status by purchasing many affordable manufactured goods.


The downside of all this progress was equally powerful. Young people raised in rural towns, who typically had their families and local communities support and guidance, moved to the larger cities to find work in factories. Overly trusting and naïve, without anyone to advocate for them, many found themselves victims of isolation and exploitation. 

A lack of empathy for those living in crowded, filthy, often dangerous living conditions was prevalent among the upper classes, especially towards young women and children.


Gallery of Images

1—Emily Augusta Andrews (1824-1860) married Coventry Patmore, poet and friend of Millais and the Pre-Raphaelites. Not only was she the inspiration for The Angel in the House, a famous poem written by her husband, but she also had her portrait painted by Millais. She was highly admired among Patmore's literary circle (including BrettBrowningRuskin, and Carlyle). 

2-The new generation of conspicuous wealth created by industrial technology and a cheap labor market

3- Complicated rules of social engagement were cultivated to restrict the boundaries of classs.  Preparation for marriage to the right person within one's rank required an in-depth understanding of the customs and intricacies associated with the etiquette of the upper class. 

4—The Crystal Palace was architecturally structured to resemble a Gothic church; the only difference was that it was made of cast iron and glass. It was a testament to the advances of science and an iconic symbol of man's achievement in harnessing the power of steam. It was the crowning achievement of Victoria and Albert. 

5- Without child labor laws to protect them, many factories were "maned" with children who worked twelve-hour shifts.

6- Coal miners worked from dawn until dark to extract the tons of coal required to run the steam turbines that produced the power to run the factories and the trains. 

7-Eviction. Sickness, death, or injury could lead to job loss. Many homeless people were living on the streets of London.

8—Singer sewing machines were used to manufacture new, affordable clothing for a Victorian society that required women to change clothing at least three times a day. For example, they might wear morning gowns for being alone, afternoon dresses for receiving guests, and evening gowns for dinner.

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