Tennant of Wildfell Hall: Chapter 1

1. The story starts very firmly in the summer of 1827.  What are some things that were happening in Britain in 1827?  How was the social landscape, at the time?

2. Why did the story start out with “My father”?

3. The narrator spent a good, long paragraph in the beginning telling the reader what his father wanted him to do in life.  How do you think this might set the tone for the rest of the book?

4. It is interesting that the narrator would then spend the rest of the chapter describing his sister, and what she looked like, and his mother, and what she was doing.  It seems to me that the female perspective of the author overcomes the male perspective of the narrator in this sense.  What do you think?

5. After the mother spoke with Mrs. Graham, she said Mrs. Graham “betrayed a lamentable ignorance on certain points, and had not even the sense to be ashamed of it…On household matters, and all the little niceties of cookery, and such things, that every lady ought to be familiar with.”  What do you think about this?

6. In the church, the “old family pew” of Wildfell Hall had “faded crimson cushions and lining which had been unpressed and unrenewed so many years, and the grim escutcheons, with their lugubrious borders of rusty black cloth, frowned so sternly from the wall above.”  How does this description set the tone for Mrs. Grahams entrance into the story?

7. The narrator spent a good amount of time describing the rest of the characters after church.  Why would he do this?


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