During the Victorian period, the Victorian man was the breadwinner and head of the family and household. It was a time where economic and social advancements reached unprecedented levels, and the men credited with these achievements were expected to be dutiful and attentive husbands and fathers. The Victorian man based his life on his sense of what was right and proper for him. His home was in many cases where he grew up and learned how to run his future home.
It was also a time in history when gender was characterized by what is known as the private/public divide. The private sphere of family and household were the woman's responsibility while the men tended to the public sphere; i.e. work, politics, government. Male social identity and masculinity consisted of home, work and all-male association. Analyzing these areas and how they impacted each other give insight into his overall character.
Equally important to the Victorian man's masculinity was the need to leave sons behind to carry on the family name and lineage. The degree of success achieved by the son depended upon his upbringing and his ability to be able to stand on his own two feet for manly independence. The middle class male's success also depended upon the encouragement or push he received to succeed from his family while growing up.
In this segment, we'll dig a little deeper into the character of the middle class Victorian man.
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