1. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Relationships in lower class victorian Britain

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by I.A. By the Barn, Jun 30, 2016.

    The pair of main characters in my wip have to meet and develop a deep relationship across the book, however I feel constricted by the time period I've set my story in. There is seems to be a concept that victorians were very strict with personal space and relationships build up slowly, however that's with upper class. The only lower class relationship I can point to is Oliver and the artful dodger but they are much younger, in London, both lads, and practising not the most legal of operations.
    One character is a lad who has been isolated in a built up area for years and the other is a similarly isolated girl who lives in a village in Wales. Both are about 17 and have suffered mental abuse from 'mothers' and they are both trying to discover their true selves while rescuing the parents of the girl.
    I just don't know how their interactions would be, I'm quite far through my draft but I'm going slow as each interaction doesn't feel right. This is one of these times I wish I could leap in a time machine and see what everything was like.
     
  2. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    Do you need help with any type of logistical plot issue, or just how to portray their dialogue and conversations/mannerisms?

    If it's the latter, the best bet is going to be 1) go to the library, 2) check out a bunch of books in Victorian England with the lower class (Dickens comes to mind but I'm sure there are loads more), and 3) study the types of speech and mannerisms they had.
     
  3. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Thank you. Its dialogue and mannerisms and how they slowly change as they become friendly really. I have a few of Dickens' books and I'll have to ask the librarian for others.
     
  4. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you mean the kind of Welsh village where the bathtub (if you even have one) is what you keep the coal in? :D

    Are you're wondering whether their relationship might get physical and how fast? If these two are extremely lower class (the level William Booth formed the Salvation Army to minister to), and if they're both that deprived of love, they might well try to find comfort in each other's arms very quickly. Or not, as I mention later.

    "Built up area" = urban? Be aware that in the slums of the large cities of Victorian Britain, the moral influence of the Church of England was very low. In London, at least, the lines of the parishes had been drawn ages ago, before the population exploded, and individual rectors tended to be dead set against dividing them into smaller parishes, as that would diminish their income from real estate, tithes, and so on. It got so that an individual rector or vicar, even if he wanted to minister among the poor of his parish, would have found it impossible: there were simply too many souls in his area. So it's doubtful your boy would have learned "Thou shalt not" from the Church or be following middle or upper class conventions about sex.

    Your girl might have more reservations, depending on whether her "mother" attended or avoided the local capel. Since you say the girl had an isolated upbringing, it sounds like the abusive woman has avoided attending services. So your FMC would have only her natural maidenly reluctance to overcome. Did the "mother" have random men in? What did the girl think of that? Were they, too, abusive to her? Was the abuse ever sexual?

    Seems to me that whether you want their relationship to get physical fairly quickly, or if you want them to hold off, a major factor will be their own messed-up psychologies, their fears that they don't deserve love.
     
  5. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    (I should say this is a historical fantasy) Arthur (the lad's name) grew up in Chirk where he was told to stay inside the house at all times. This is because his 'mother' had kidnapped him after her own son had died. She was terrified that people would find out so she kept him inside mostly and often removed his voice and pretended he was 'deaf and dumb'. She in fact had a strong connection to her local parish as she thought she could earn forgiveness this way.
    Lu (the girl) lives in a small farming village not too far from Chirk where her mother insisted that you shouldn't make friends and form emotions for others as it subtracts from your magic. Her mother did not attend church and insisted the true gods were long forgotten and so were the holy places and Lu should stay far away from the church. Lleu (Lu's father) is more forcefully abused by his wife than Lu is and it is often physical.
     
  6. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, yes, I know the place. North of Oswestry, and north-northwest of Shrewsbury. Welsh Borders, Offa's Dyke. Been through there a few times. Not exactly East End London or Liverpool urban, is it?

    I think for a region like that you can study ongoing folk customs re: courtship, etc., the ones that had been around since the 1500s or before, which will have kept going no matter who was on the throne in Westminster. Figure out how you want your pair's relationship to go, and use what the period gives you to account for it.

    By the way--- I'm sure you're aware in Cymraeg (Welsh) the vowel u is pronounced sort of like the one in the French word rue (in North Wales) and like ee in feet (in South Wales), never like oo. You are considering that re: your FMC's name?

    Oh, and will it make any difference to their relationship that Arthur is a Saeson? I mean, with a name like that . . .

    Pob hwyl!
     
  7. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Diolch! yep that was pronunciation I was going for. I hadn't really thought about Arthur though. I know that english was trying to be taught in schools at the time, but being that Arthur spent most of his life in Wales, he would know welsh (if not a great deal and not permitted to speak it)
     
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