Tom Brown's Schooldays Social Sensitivity

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Tom Brown's School Days is a novel about upper-class boys developing into upper-class men. Women exist only on the periphery of the novel, mostly in the role of mothers and servants; young women are not mentioned. Because of this deliberate oversight, Hughes ignores a major part of the maturation process for most males: their relationships with females. More important, the female characters who are included in the story function only in relation to the men they nurture or serve. Hughes never portrays the women in the story as individual, fully developed characters. Thus, although Hughes viewed himself as a champion of social reform, his seemingly exclusive concentration on male issues—manifested in his advocacy of "muscular theology," his devotion to men's colleges and cooperatives, and his creation of books for and about boys—reveals his entrenched Victorian sexism. Moreover, despite his professed desire to...

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This section contains 278 words
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Buy the Tom Brown's Schooldays Study Guide
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