65 pages 2 hours read

Anne Brontë

Agnes Grey

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1847

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Character Analysis

Agnes Grey

Agnes, a young girl of 18 when the story begins, is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. The daughter of a clergyman and a squire’s daughter, she describes herself as having a “pale hollow cheek,” ordinary dark brown hair, dark grey eyes, and “intellect in the forehead” (107). Agnes has been taught that inward character and virtue are more important than beauty, and she only begins to pay attention to her appearance and dress when she develops an attraction to Mr. Weston. Agnes disapproves when others are vain, selfish, headstrong, or temperamental since she was taught to be cooperative and put others first.

Agnes was a compliant child who craved affection. One reason she becomes a governess is to try to ease the economic burden on her parents, whom she cherishes deeply. Her mother is her role model and guide, and Agnes is shocked when other women do not demonstrate the same nurturing, maternal impulses, such as Mrs. Bloomfield, Mrs. Murray, or Rosalie. Agnes has also been taught to hold her tongue and so does not defend herself when her employers scold her but resolves to try harder. Agnes believes women should exhibit decorous behavior, modest speech, and intelligence, and focus on others rather than themselves.