Queen Victoria (“Falling Angels” By Tracey Chevalier)

queen_victoria_by_bassanoQueen Victoria

In the novel “Falling Angels” By: Tracey Chevalier, the death of Queen Victoria was a monumental moment in the story. In the beginning of the novel, it explains how Gertrude Waterhouse was dressed up appropriately for a wedding, while Kitty Coleman was not. This could be looked at as a sign of how both the characters are being viewed. Kitty Coleman is being perceived as not following tradition when she shoes up in a blue dress for the funeral instead of the proper attire of a black dress. Meanwhile, Gertrude Waterhouse is in traditional cloths. Already we get a sense that Kitty Coleman may have different views on society and it’s tradition than Gertrude Waterhouse. Also a quote from the book states (Gertrude speaking), “I was of course as civil as I could be, but it was clear that Kitty Coleman was bored with me. And then she made cutting remarks about Livy, and said disrespectful things-not exactly about the Queen, but I couldn’t help feeling that Victoria had in some way been slighted.” This quote captures how close Queen Victoria must have been to Gertrude Waterhouse and how Kitty Coleman must have offended her by the statement she said.

When reading father into the story, you come to realize that Waterhouse’s are not in the same class as the class as the Gertrude’s. This may be an indicator of why Gertrude was more involved in the Victorian way of life and why the death of Queen Victoria influenced her more than Kitty Coleman. Gertrude states, “…and to be sure I am very pleased with our new little house and with a garden full of roses rather than the neighbor’s chickens scrabbling in the dirt.” This shows how different a life style that the Waterhouse’s have been living. It also explains the Coleman’s residence as well, “The front of the house is so elegant- the garden is full of rosebushes, and the steps leading up to the door are tiled in black and white.” Then Gertrude adds, “The door of our own house opens directly onto the pavement.”

Queen Victoria’s rule had an impact on society. According to the article, “Victoria- by The British Monarchy”, “During Victoria’s long reign, direct political power moved away from the sovereign. A series of Acts broadened the social and economic base of the electorate.” Also, the article states, “On social issues, she tended to favor measures to improve the lot of the poor, such as the Royal Commission on housing.” This fact ties in the connection of respect the Gertrude Waterhouse has for Queen Victoria. In a sense, Queen Victoria was helping out her family, and her passing was a tragedy for her and the family. Back towards the beginning of the book it states how even Gertrude’s daughter Livy was even crying for the Queen. This could have been an influence of the parents educating her on the benefits the Queen may have had on the family. Also, it states how Kitty Coleman was actually making fun of Livy for crying. This shows how Kitty Coleman did not share the same connection as Gertrude did in accordance to the benefits that the Queen did for societies lower class.

Link to Website: http://www.royal.gov.uk/historyofthemonarchy/kingsandqueensoftheunitedkingdom/thehanoverians/victoria.aspx

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