Shirley Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Shirley Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Industrial revolution (Motif)

The narrative occurs during the industrial revolution in England thus alludes to its economic and social impacts. Furthermore, the nation had experienced a dip in the economy following the revolutionary wars that were taking place. Therefore this accelerated the need to mechanize the industry and incorporate the new manufacturing processes. The conflicts in the novel emanate from the changing dynamic in the trade and industry sector fueled by economic depression. Also, the social and economic issues emphasized in the story are a result of the transpiring industrial revolution. The manual laborers are protesting against the factories and their owners due to the loss of jobs. Termed as Luddites they expressed their opposition against the technological advancement replacing their roles.

Marriage (Motif)

In the Regency era young adulthood was marked by matrimony particularly for young women. Social class and wealth being at play, finding the right partner for a woman or a man was procedural in nature. The narrative entails eligible bachelors and single women from different social classes. Robert is admired by both Caroline and Shirley and although Caroline loves him he initially loves Shirley. There is a potential of a marriage between Robert and Shirley until Louis comes into the picture and they fall for one another. Though they belong in different castes they end up marrying each other as well as Caroline and Robert.

Female bond (Motif)

The story illustrates the idyllic rapport of female friendship between women with the same mindset and tastes. Through Shirley and Caroline, the author shows independent and spirited young women in a patriarchal society as they forge a friendship. Though they hail from different social classes since Shirley is a wealthy heiress they share their inclination to be unconventional. Furthermore showcases the supportive nature of their friendship that is not compromised by their complicated romantic lives.

Nationalism (Motif)

The narrative transpires on the backdrop of the rising nationalism in Europe and the subsequent conflicts. It highlights the Napoleonic Wars that saw nationalism soar throughout Europe as the nations sought to liberate or conquer. Additionally the conflict between United States, Britain, and its colonies because of expansionism fueled by a nationalistic mentality.

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