Words of Wisdom:

"The reward of suffering is experience." - Papyrus

Annie Besant Article Analysis

  • Date Submitted: 11/15/2014 07:00 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 38.2 
  • Words: 1349
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How does the writer present her thoughts and feelings about aspects of Victorian life?
How far is the extract similar to and different from your wider reading in Victorian literature? You should consider the writer’s choices of form, structure and language, as well as subject matter.

Annie Besant’s article is foremost an impassioned retelling of the worker’s revolt at the Bryant and May match factory, where the insensitivity of the factory owners and the desperation of the female workers is illustrated using bitter and lurid language and imagery with Biblical overtones (Exodus 9:12 shows the Pharaoh hardening his heart to the plight of his slaves, and the image of “...their blood [trickling] on the marble”   is reminiscent of Old Testament sacrifices). This is done in order to evoke the suffering and hardship the match-makers experience in the minds of its working class audience. The latter portion of the text is full of political and economic vocabulary, rhetoric and persuasive writing, that still maintains its religious and moral undertones, made especially clear by Besant’s reference to Dante Alighieri's ‘Inferno’. Though none of my reading takes the form of an article, the extract has similarities and differences with texts such as ‘The Communist Manifesto’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ in its depictions of religion and industry, ‘The Golden Year’ with regards to the role of a poet, and ‘Pygmalion’ with regards to how economic status shapes perceptions.

The opening description of Mr. Theodore Bryant is reminiscent of Dicken’s satirical description of the board members in Oliver Twist. Besant speaks of “...the greatness of [Mr. Bryant’s] public spirit” in a way that is clearly ironic, as it is followed by several passages where she decries Bryant’s selfishness and callousness towards his workers. The same device is used in the opening chapters of Dickens’ novel, where the unsympathetic members of the board are described as “sage, deep, philosophical men”, with the...


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