4(b) study the sources F, G and H and use your own knowledge. Do you agree with the view that, by 1882, the concept of the ‘angel in the house’ had been overturned?
The angel in house concept was very popular in the 19th century and it was a custom that many wives conformed to. The ‘angel in the house’ was described by Coventry Patmore’s poem towards his wife and how he fulfilled his needs by being altruistic. Men and women also had ‘separate spheres’ which was the ideology that men should conformed to public affairs and women should conform to private affairs within the home. However, by 1882, ideology changed and more women decided that they did not only want to conform to private affairs but they should be able to be public and voice their ideas, the concept had been changed slightly, however not completely overturned as many women still conformed to the ‘angel in the house’ concept.
Source F was written by Caroline Norton and published in 1854. It implies that the concept had not been overturned, as she is referring to the power that her husband still contained with the custody of their children. This shows that Caroline was rebelling against the norms that a wife should have towards her husband. In Caroline’s accounts of her years married to her husband she describes that he was physically violent towards her and on many occasions family members had to get involved. Caroline speaking out towards her husband in court showed merely that