Helen Smith

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Jill Durey


This thesis comprises two parts. Part One is a novel (The Fire and the Ash), set in the latter half of the nineteenth century. lt chronicles, for the most part, the marriage of a young Irish couple. Part Two is an essay entitled Victorian Women and the Law. This area of research was selected because the life span of the woman in my novel coincides almost precisely with the reign of Queen Victoria. The life of women in Victorian Britain is commonly known to have been difficult. The social dictates of the time required that they be groomed from early childhood for a life of servitude to father and, hopefully, later a husband. There was little room, apart for a small minority of exceptional women, for self-expression, other than through the domestic arts within the home.