Class 10 History

Novel Society and Culture: Community, New Woman and Young

Community and Society

The novels reflected the contemporary developments in the society. Many novelists wrote about the problems of city life. Many others wrote about the various changes witnessed in the rural life because of advent of modern technology.

People were becoming more professional and the personal values were eroding at a faster pace. Thomas Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) is novel written in the rural backdrop.

The novel by Hardy has use of vernacular language which is the language spoken by common people. Use of vernacular helped Hardy in correlating with the common people who lived in that period.

The New Woman

During the eighteenth century, the middle class became more prosperous. Women could get more spare time which they utilised to read and write novels. That is how the novels began to explore the world of women. Many novels were about domestic life.

A woman writer could write about domestic life with more authority than a male writer. Many women novelists also began to raise questions about the established norms of society. Many novels began to ask questions about hypocrisy which was prevalent in the contemporary society.

Novels for the Young

Novels for the young boys were based on heroism. The hero of such novels used to be a powerful, assertive, independent and daring person. As this was the period of expansion of colonialism, most of the novels tried to glorify colonialism.

Books; like R. L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883) and Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book (1894) became great hits. G. A. Henry’s historical adventure novels for boys were very popular at the height of the British Empire. These novels were always about young boys who witness grand historical events and get involved in some military action. Love stories for adolescent girls also became popular during this period.

Colonialism and After

During the rise of colonialism, most of the novels glorified the conquests of the Europeans. Later, in the twentieth century, some novels showed the darker side of colonial occupation. Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was one such author.