Essay about Mouring in the Victorian Era

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Mouring in the Victorian Era

The actions of Victorians upon a death is a intricate web of rituals and etiquette. In Vanity Fair, William Thackeray gives modern readers a brief glimpse into deep mourning through Amelia Sedley-Osborne.

The idea of deep mourning was introduced by Queen Victoria upon the death of her husband, King Albert, who died of typhoid in 1861. At that time and for forty years after(the time of her death), the Queen mourned the loss of her beloved husband. She commanded her court to dress in mourning with her for the first three years post-mortem. Because of the Queen's extreme actions, the Victorians elected to mimic her ethics. After her death, the world came out of mourning and began to change fashion, which
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The Procession to the burial site was a spectacle. Until the 1870's, funerals and their processions were elaborate and expensive. Victorians having "to secure a 'decent' burial for family members was characteristic of all classes in Victorian society, even if it meant hardship for the surviving family members. The ultimate disgrace was to be assigned a pauper's grave" (Douglas). Some would even hire mourners, called "mutes," to follow the processional and weep. Into the 1870's, or the end of World War 1, funerals became cheaper and more modest. "The huge numbers of soldiers who died and were buried overseas as well as the resultant collective grief made grand funerals and individual displays of mourning at home seem inappropriate and self-indulgent" (Death).

Many objects were used to remember the deceased post-mortem. "Mementos such as lockets, brooches and rings, usually containing a lock of hair and photograph, functioned as tangible reminders of the deceased" (Hell). Framed pictures were often used as a substitute for the lost member. They were considered tangible objects and often all that was left the grieving. "The invention of the Carte de Visite, which enabled multiple prints to be made from a single negative, meant that images could be sent to distant relatives. The deceased was commonly represented as though they were peacefully sleeping rather than dead, although at other times the body was posed to
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