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There is no mad woman in the attic or slinking maniac on the moor in this Brontë novel. In fact, Agnes Grey is not very gothic at all, unlike its cousins Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, literary offspring of sisters Charlotte Brontë and Emily Brontë, respectively.

Agnes Grey, a plain and sensible governess (not unlike Jane Eyre) with a fitting name, tries to supplement her impoverished family’s income by attempting to instruct wild, unruly and spoiled children of wealthy parents. Her employers undervalue her moral instruction and care mostly about matching their older daughters with rich suitors and keeping the younger children out of sight.

In Agnes’ lonely and friendless life appears an equally conscientious and principled young rector, stirring the governess’s heart to flame with hope for a future of Godly companionship.

Once you’ve finished the book, read an in-depth literary analysis “Fruits of the Spirit in ‘Agnes Grey’ by Anne Brontë.”