My Brilliant Career (Miles Franklin) - Coggle Diagram
My Brilliant Career (Miles Franklin)
In the novel protagonist, Sybylla is focused on who she is and what she wants to be in the future
'I longed for the arts. Music was a passion with me.' (Franklin 26)
Sybylla struggles with her appearance and doesn’t realise her worth isn't based upon what she looks like.
'Why was I ugly and nasty and miserable and useless-without a place in the world.' (Franklin 78)
In late 19th century rural New South Wales women didn't have the same opportunities as men. Culture told women were to get married and have kids, then settle down to become a housewife. They were not to use their intelligence to pursue a career. Men on the other hand started in the workforce early and were the income source for the family. Sybylla challenges these gender roles in the novel because she wants have a 'brilliant career' and vows never to get married. Although these views cause her mother and grandmother to be ashamed of her, classify her as a different breed.
'I will earn my own living.' (Franklin 34)
‘…never, never, never to marry.’ (Franklin 40
‘I longed for the arts. Music was a passion with me,’ (Franklin 26)
The novel deals with romance in the 19th century in Australia. Marriage was something society pushed for all women. Not conforming to these societal norms was something to be ashamed of. Sybylla had no intention of getting married and was looked down upon by her mother and grandmother.
'...but laughed at the idea of love, and determined never, never, never to marry.' (Franklin 40)
Sybylla own values own views on marriage are challenged when Harold Beecham comes into her life.
Sybylla describes him as, ‘…fearfully and wonderfully quiet.’ (Franklin 96)
Wealth was a major contributor that could have gotten Sybylla at of poverty and enable her to pursue her dreams. Her love interest, Harold Beecham was the one that could do this. Sybylla struggled to choose a life with him and also have a career. She wanted to be an individual and he would get in the way of that. So she chose poverty over wealth.
'Q. Is he really very rich? A. If he manages to pull through these seasons he will be second to none but Tyson in point of wealth.' (Franklin 91)
Her grandma Bossier was wealthy but did not help her families poverty situation.
'...for our relations to each give a little towards setting us up again...' (Franklin 33)
First wave of feminism was coming into effect in the late 19th early 20th century. Sybylla is a self-assured woman. She knows the complex levels of marriage and how it is an ingrained part of society. Sybylla wonders why marriage is the only option for women. She aims to challenge these norms. Sybylla acted for the new breed woman developement in the world of Women's Liberation.
'I'm sure it's not any wish of mine that I'm born with inclinations for better things.' (Franklin 35)
'...I am only a-woman! (Franklin 201)
Sybylla was an unapologetic women, who knew what she wanted in life. However, because she wanted a career that was not conforming to societal expectations.
'The professions at which I felt I had the latent power to excel, were I but given a chance, were in a sphere far above us, and to mention my feelings and ambitions to my matter-of-fact practical mother would bring upon me worse ridicule than I was already forced to endure day by day.' (Franklin 34)
Sybylla Melvyn consistently complains about her life. Her family has fallen into poverty because of her father’s business decisions and constant drunkenness. Her mother has to struggle alongside him, trying the best she can to bring up the family. Sybylla’s intelligence is unable to help them in the situation. Drought also made it difficult for them to sustain a living when no animals were surviving the conditions.
'In poverty you can get at the real heart of people as you can never do if rich.' (Franklin 34)
'By hard slogging, against flood, fire, drought, pests, stock diseases, and the sweating occasioned by importation, we could mange to keep bread in our mouths.' (Franklin 197)