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A couple of Victorian books that are accessible here on the eNotes.com eTexts are Tess of the d'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Other books that represent the Victorian era are any published by Charles Dickens, such as: Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. Books that were printed at that time period focused on many of the realities of life such as poor vs. rich, the battle between social classes, and individualism. As far as the family unit is concerned though, not much respect was given to children unless they were the first born sons of prestigious families. The social class systems was alive and well in England which made it difficult for women or children to be treated with much respect. In a typical family, however, Men were supposed to work while the wife stayed home with the children. Children worked for the benefit of the household and rarely attended school unless of course the husband was rich. However, as seen in the above-mentioned books, children and women face such challenges and find ways to overcome their obstacles. They do not overcome their obstacles by changing society, though; they simply endure and persevere until they achieve their realistic dreams to be loved and to have a family. Tess, though, winds up committing murder and dies a criminal, but that just adds to her character as an individual. So, family values weren't so much about preserving the family unit as it was to survive and to live according to one's education (or lack thereof).
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