Analysis Of Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre
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Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre as Adele Varens’ Governess—Feminism, Gender Roles, \u0026 the Victorian Era
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Despite her, in many ways quite narrow background and Tory attitudes Bronte did have a passionate relationship with a Catholic foreigner, and a married one at that, plainly something of that relationship is reworked in her presentation of attraction in both Jane Eyre and Villette - the male interest is not handsome in either case but he has a presence. Reading now the book says both something about the nature of relationships between men and women and between women and society which is perhaps the same thing but writ large as perceived by the woman from the Yorkshire parsonage.
The first point is grooming, or slightly more nicely put seduction. We see in the opening chapters the young John seduce the even younger Paulina, and then put her aside once a more interesting option comes along in the shape of his school chums, and I imagine judging from those first conversations between Paulina and Lucy that something similar happened between Lucy and John too. This seduction method of relieving boredom is not unique to the men, Ginevra acts similarly towards the men that she is interested in.
The key point for me is that the emotional investment is uneven, the pursuer is calculating, the pursued whole-heartedly engaged. This all seems masochistic to me, we have characters caught up in relationships from which they can only receive pain. Since they don't escape them we can only assume that they gain something meaningful from them. This is one of the difficulties for me reading the book - Lucy's sense of having any right to pleasure or satisfaction is so repressed that the reading experience became oppressive. Naturally in the context of the book this seems like a reasonable analysis, then again she is the narrator.
The stories we tell about ourselves are traps as much as explanations or attempts at Enlightenment, the stories told by a first person narrator need to be felt through with a deeply critical eye. Despite this this gloom, Snowe is less oppressed by social status, she is relatively egalitarian in her outlook - a link between her and Monsieur Paul. Despite the police regime of the school, it is the internal oppression that is effective, not apparently the structure of society. That comes across as being something like a climbing frame, albeit one too crowded to have much opportunity to move. I might take the view that the internal oppression is so severe that the plan to open her own school is hidden from herself until late in the book, if less charitable, that Bronte hit on it as a solution late on in the writing process.
Either way this is a book with sudden movements after periods of oppressive continuity, like ice that suddenly cracks. Snowe in that sense doesn't look like an accidental choice of name. If it suggests purity, it can also imply fragility, delicacy and cold. Despite which she endures unsnowlike through changes of the season down to the resigned, less than happy, more than unhappy ending, that Bronte manages to give her. An ending, on reflection, that offers more than Bronte's own. In any case, I sense a reread, and that a different review will emerge after that. View all 31 comments.
Jul 24, Katie Lumsden rated it it was amazing. A great read as always. Although I must admit I am revising my opinion that it is even better than Jane Eyre. View all 3 comments. Shelves: classic-or-cannonical , up-hill-both-ways-in-the-snow , beards-are-mesmerizing , motherless-daughters , reviewed , dangerous-hokum , girls-rule. It is not possible for me to talk about this book without somehow spoiling it. I think it is doi It is not possible for me to talk about this book without somehow spoiling it. I think it is doing damage to my nervous system. I have a weak and brooding constitution, anyway, so recovery calls for those new episodes of Arrested Development to come out ASAP.
Villette was the uncannily similar variety of story. It is so eerie to read books from almost two hundred years ago and see my own thoughts and experiences. It is both comforting and totally exhausting — comforting because we have always been like this; exhausting because, well, we have always been like this. John, when she points out the hypocrisy of his ability to see shallowness in men but not women, is absolutely hilarious. Charlotte Bronte writes a really killer antiheroine, and it is always easier to identify with an antiheroine than a heroine, I think, because it is easy to see our own flaws. While this book easily stands alone as a lovely study on humanity, it also evoked comparisons to Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice for me.
It was the last book Bronte published before she died. As is so common, Villette , the later book, is a less tight story than Jane Eyre — it was more meandering, and where Bronte wants to dwell, she will dwell. In some ways, though, I think Villette is more successful than Jane Eyre in distinguishing antihero from hero because Bronte is kinder to the heroes in Villette and lets me feel a little bitter at them without really despising them here.
John, in contrast to St. John, does not creep me out. Paulina is a traditionally heroic heroine. On the other hand, Jane Eyre allows flaws in everyone, whether they are golden or dark, so that has a nice subtlety. At the same time that Jane and Rochester are the more clear antiheroes, St. John is so determined to crush feelings and be unhappy that he is not so much the golden hero as Dr. In Villette there is a clear line between hero and antihero; in Jane Eyre the line is more blurred, though the physical descriptions signal a distinction. It might not be useful, though, to compare the two books because they are both wonderful, and I don't know that I prefer the clear distinction or the blurring. In some ways, I think this story is a Bronte Pride and Prejudice.
All of the couples are parallels: view spoiler [Paulina and Dr. John are Jane and Bingley; Lucy and M. Both Charlotte and Emily Bronte, also, always seem more exotic than Austen because the aesthetics of their heroes are described so much more like an emo band. While Austen captures that subtle loneliness of unreliable family, the Brontes go straight for explicit isolation in a cruel world. I doubt I could love either Austen or the Brontes so much without the other.
And it was beautiful to read about the couples from Pride and Prejudice with the severity and stifled animal cry of Charlotte Bronte. This girl is going to tell you what she wants you to know and she is going to leave out whatever the fuck she wants. John was Graham Bretton hide spoiler ]. That little minx! As they say. I was not in love with any of the heroes of this story, and I kind of liked that, too. It was more like a soul-mate friend, of whom I am completely in awe, telling me about the people she loved, and how she understood them and their faults, than a con game of trying to get me to fall in love myself.
In this way, I felt that Lucy was completely her own person, and even though I identified with her in this sometimes-creepy way, she was not a stand-in for me in the love story. I thought view spoiler [both Dr. John and M. Paul were kind of douchebags hide spoiler ] , but that was fine because Lucy was smart about all of them. Paul hide spoiler ] for a long time, and I am usually really good at picking up on romantic leads, so when I re-read I will have to pay better attention to what he does in the early part of the novel.
I really loved this book. As I got to the end, I panicked a little because I remembered that I had always partly been reluctant to read it because I will use up the possibility for a new Bronte story soon, and what a sad, bleak time that will be. I still have a couple left, though, so I will hoard those for later. I wish Bronte would email me new stories from her austere, Protestant heaven. View all 46 comments. I mean, seriously. I would also like to sit down with the person who wrote the introduction and talked about how Villette is so much better than Jane Eyre.
I would like to speak to this person about their drug habit, and how it's affecting their work performance. And WHY have so many of my friends given this book 5 stars? Now, as some of you may know, I love Jane Eyre. It is without a doubt in my top ten books of all time. And I love it not because of the romance, but because I love Jane. Jane is not afraid to speak her mind. Jane is not afraid to seek out love. Jane is not afraid to say, I respect myself too damn much to be your mistress, even though you are a sexy beast and I want you. Jane is an artist. Jane is a loyal friend.
Jane is amazeballs. Villette is about Lucy Snowe. Lucy Snowe doesn't talk a lot. Years worth of stuff happens to her and she goes, Meh, well, that was a thing. Lucy is easily irritated by people, and enjoys being alone which I did appreciate , and Lucy is much put upon by people who sort of use her and abuse her, take advantage of her retiring nature, send her letters and buy her gowns when they remember her, drop her when they are busy with other people. Lucy likes walking around in gardens, and she's fine. Okay, sure. I was okay with all of this. It wasn't better than Jane Eyre, but it was okay. A guy who constantly harps on her clothes, and tells her that she should wear dull colors and no jewelry because she isn't meant for such things.
A guy who insults her intelligence, treats her like a child or a pet, spies on her, steals from her, mocks her in public. A guy who rages at her and calls her a slut for exchanging letters with a male friend. Just no. This man is the most horrible of all the horrible people who surround Lucy, and I am extremely upset that she didn't tell him not to let the door hit him on his badly dressed, cigar-smelling ass as he left. I can do no better to begin with than to quote George Eliot, who upon reading Villette called it "a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre ". Villette is darker and more realistic than Jane Eyre , and more autobiographical and perhaps thus even more powerful.
Lucy is a complex character: repressed, yet deeply emotional, cold on the outside like her name , but fiery within. Her narration is reticent; unlike Jane Eyre, she holds back, never telling the reader everything, rarely allowing herself to show her feelings. A key passage occurs relatively early on the book, soon after Lucy has begun work at the school: "Oh, my childhood! I had feelings: passive as I lived, little as I spoke, cold as I looked, when I thought of past days, I could feel.
About the present, it was better to be stoical; about the future -- such a future as mine -- to be dead. And in catalepsy and a dead trance, I studiously held the quick of my nature. Lucy's reticence as a narrator forces the reader to reach out further to engage with her; yet her depth of feeling and her humor are engaging. I defy anyone all right, anyone who likes Victorian fiction to read fifty pages of Villette and be able to put it down; every time I read it, I feel as though I could pick it right back up after finishing, start it over, and be just as enthralled as though it had been years since I'd read it. View all 13 comments. No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure.
Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise. I love when this paradoxical life brings me a book laced with "composite and contra No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. I love when this paradoxical life brings me a book laced with "composite and contracted" meaning, one of philosophical ponder and pathos; one wherein solitude grasps for Hope in order to avoid Despair and longing is elucidated and layered.
Dreamlike and peculiar at times, a revelation of inner thought, the reflective narrative never ceases to make its reader consider life and its oddities, life and its happiness and pain. At a time in my life when I'm at a crossroads with two interesting professional decisions that were forced upon me by this life , I am humbled that Villette occupied my still moments. This is the story of what happens when a woman finds herself in the midst of a strange community, with aloof, pretentious, and judgmental people; when she must ground herself in an academic environment that overflows with pretenses and mockery. This novel's trajectory is what happens when love is unrequited, for it demands social status from the one it inhabits.
These three meandering volumes make lucid the loneliness that blooms within, one that stems from loss of family and identity. I consider that she is both morbid and weak at times; her character sets up no pretensions to unmixed strength, and anybody living her life would necessarily become morbid. Graham, however, seems like a stud - caring, kind, generous, intelligent - and it is easy to see how Lucy would have fallen in love with him. However, to say much about plot would 'spoil' the story and mislead the reader, for this narrative is an extension of memory, a sequence of consciousness that occurs through contemplation and reflection, which makes the plot both surprising and revealing.
One has to work at it a little. It has, after all, quite a reputation as a more accomplished novel and while I can see the reasons behind that, my heart will forever belong to Jane. In many ways, Lucy is more realistic than Jane: she is a lot more human and much less romantic, but she is also much more layered and complicated. Not that she is always pleasant, our Lucy: her story is one of disappointed hopes and abandonment issues. The people she cared for almost universally let her down, to the point where she simply has to assume no one cares. Every time she has let her guard down, she has regretted it bitterly. She is not traditionally attractive, has no fortune or prospects, is independent and proud… but pretty much left to fend for herself because she is surrounded by idiots.
This is not an enviable position in that day and age, when having the effervescence of a Lizzie Bennett did more for you than having brains and a love of hard work. But there is a resilience to Lucy that commands respect: she puts one foot in front of the other, and she is genuinely happy when those she care for thrive. With no relations or money, Lucy packs her bag and leaves jolly old England for Villette a thinly disguised Brussells , where she manages to get a job as an English teacher in an girls' school. Over a period of about a year, she will fall in love twice, be reunited with old relations and make unlikely friends.
But mostly, she'll learn that she can't really let life be something that happens to her. I certainly related to Lucy more than I ever related to Jane, but she often rubbed me the wrong way. Sometimes, I wanted to yell at her to just make a freaking effort already, but no, Miss Snowe is too smart to lower herself to play social games. Bronte's prose is always fantastic, and if you are a fan of Jane looking for something similar, while the story is completely different, the writing is just as rich, the emotions just as strong and the characters just as unique.
View all 6 comments. I believe that this life is not all; neither the beginning nor the end. I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep. Life, however, has worse than that. Deeper than melancholy lies heartbreak. View all 5 comments. Melcat I really really had a bad time with this one Maybe I wasn't in the right space to enjoy it? Amalia Gkavea Melcat wrote: "I really really had a bad time with this one Seldom do I write a review on classics.
I don't think I am capable of doing them justice. I studied it in university and I've read it 3 times over the last few years. It is one of my favourite autumnal reads. We denizens of 'The Book of Disquiet' salute you. We of the small loves and small livings, the tiny joys and tiny dreams, bid you welcome. Our home is well-adjusted and self-assured, for if we profess ourselves any sort of connoisseur, it lies within those realms.
Our work keeps us fed, clothed, ticking along at a methodical pace that matches the step of our action. Our doings are wrested from the very root of us, and we cannot remember a time when our will was a creature without chain or muzzle. W We denizens of 'The Book of Disquiet' salute you. We of the thoughtful posing and quiet undertaking, the nondescript manner and stoic expression, pass you by. Our persona is mature and respectable, for if we claim ourselves any manner of actor, in those appearances we reign supreme.
Our countenance keeps us from harm, trouble, the majority of unwelcome intrusions and unexpected disturbances. Our face once feared the cruel judgment of every eye, and we will never know how much we have lost in maintaining its proud coldness. We of the reticent life and withdrawn days, the slow solitude and meandering existence, pray you keep at a distance. Our existence is of much self and little other, for if we must cluster our many sensibilities under a single roof, we will choose a room of our own.
Our self-appraisals keep us safe, secure, a well measured freedom in the functions of a perfectly plotted daily life. Our souls cry, and cry, and cry, for we have not yet found the permanent satisfaction that such an existence promises. We of the careful cravings and hesitant urges, the hard won realizations and fierce practices, present to you on rare occasions. Our passions are few and foremost, for if we believe ourselves the bearer of any kind of talent, we cling to it as a ballast of temporal assurance. Our works keep us a measure of the past, future, a present that without such doings would slip into the void of useless persistence. Our praxis heeds neither standard nor accreditation, and thus we are admired, and thus we are condemned.
We of the observant eye and sardonic grin, the quickening wit and sober analysis, say to you, beware! Our modus operandi is an invisible seething, for if we name our most finely tuned instinct, it is the instantaneous measure of irony of any and all. Our entertainment keeps us amused in parts, and fully familiarized with the discordant pomposity of reality in others. Ignorance is bliss, a garden from which we were banished long ago, forevermore to discontentedly mock and claw ourselves bloody on our own eternal hypocrisies. We of the accumulated being and carved out philosophy, the chaotic incorporations and weathered discombobulations, forbid you the ease of category. Our mind is our own and ours alone, for if we hold ourselves to any creed, we demand it change with our every breath and drop of blood.
Our sustenance keep us alive, and woe to any who choose only between spitting us out and swallowing us whole. It is lonely, here, but nowhere else will let us be. We of the experienced heart and cautious brain, the creeping desire and subtle attractions, set you at a distance. Our love knows itself very well, for if there is one thing it characterizes itself by, it is the painfully slow and all encompassing spread of loyalty incarnate. Our self very rarely finds another it can devote itself to, and knows itself too tightly reined to come to any foolish end. We bury our seeds too deeply, and their strangling growths are doomed to die without a trace of reciprocating sun.
And so, we denizens of 'Villette' bid you adieu. We are a small, strange, and sad sort, and our weirdly warped self-censures are likely to accrue as life goes on. Much more likely to build up into an age old oubliette within which we quietly fade to our own ends, than to erode. However, if you are patient, and you do care, we may come out again. We take long in developing affection, and even longer in feeling confident to bestow such affections unlooked for, but if you seek us out and encourage from us the same, who knows. We will still be mindful of all the rest, but perhaps, yes. We will come out to play. View all 12 comments.
Reader, I heart Ms. Reading Villette was like reading a huge epic that I was so emmersed in that I walked in Lucy Snowe's shoes, I felt what she felt. How many authors can do that to you? Lucy Snowe is difficult to get to know at first. In fact, she is difficult to like. This is deliberate; she tells you about other people, what they think, what they feel, but precious little about herself, of whom she appears fiercely private. Only as the story unfolds does she start to let you in - I Reader, I heart Ms. Only as the story unfolds does she start to let you in - I remember being surprised when she showed such tender, gentle thoughts and actions towards the sick daughter of her employer; that, I believe, was the first glimpse of emotion from Lucy and it really endeared me to her.
Lucy Snowe's name was not an accident - Bronte toyed with Lucy Frost for a while before settling on Snowe. She also allows us to see her as others do: "Crabbed and crusty" said Ginevra, a pupil at the school, and "unfeeling thing that I was" written to her in a letter. The point is, she isn't unfeeling at all. She is lonely and trying to make her way in an unfamiliar world. Lucy's past is only hinted at but it appears to have been an unhappy one. Brontes prose is gorgeous, Villette is such a richly embroidered account of a young woman trying to make a life for herself in a foreign country and fighting for independence and friendship.
This book isn't a romance in the same way that Jane Eyre is. I wasn't sure for a long time who the leading man would be in fact he doesn't even appear until the second half of the book. And it isn't love at first sight, we watch it grow. I absolutely adored this book and it is now a firm favourtie of mine. I finished it last night and I finally closed the book in a daze. I don't want to give anything away, but I was not expecting what happended at the end at all.
That came completely out of the blue for me. Go ahead, indluge and enjoy! This trickery changed the way I was reading. I needed to pay attention! All those dark, brooding, anxious passages, the anguish, the loneliness…she only told us what she wanted us to know. A bitter, sly, dark, strong character. The ending sealed the deal for me. Mar 28, Nancy rated it it was ok Shelves: fiction , classics , relationships. Villette lacks the fire and passion of Jane Eyre. Since we already know this is a fictionalized version of Charlotte Bronte's time in Brussels where she had some sort of relationship with the professor she worked for, this may be the reason for the tameness. There are many similarities in the characters of Jane Eyre and Lucy Snowe in that they are orphans, they are loners, they yearn for love and, for much of the book, they love from afar with no hope of reciprocation.
Villette is a colder boo Villette lacks the fire and passion of Jane Eyre. Villette is a colder book because I believe Charlotte Bronte was trying to put her real life love behind her by writing it out. I think it was done out of sadness, depression and loneliness and she built a wall between herself, her characters and her readers. There is such a thread of "this doesn't really matter" running through it that it is hard to become close to the characters or care very much about what happens to them. If they don't care, why should we? Villette also lacks the pace of Jane Eyre and plods through dreary days with long, boring musings and moralizing.
I got weary of the sermons. It was as if Bronte wrote anything that came into her mind, avoiding the crux of the situation. When in Brussels, she fell in love with a married man, had no hope of ever having a life with him and returned home to Yorkshire alone and miserable. Then she tried to write a book with a "so what" attitude and that didn't work for me. I just checked the reviews posted before mine, and feel like a salmon swimming upstream. Oh, well. Oct 21, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: rated-books , reviewed-books , english-calssics , guardian I felt like it was almost semi-autobiographical in nature. But it's still not in the same league with Jane Eyre, which will forever be considered Bronte's masterpiece.
But in my opinion Jane Eyre is the gold standard of classic English literature. But still, I give Villette 4 stars, certainly worth reading. This was a really beautiful journey which often left me puzzled, but in the end I absolutely loved it. Lucy, our main character, is determined to become independent and make something of her life, and so she goes from England to France, more specifically to the village of Villette. When you finish her books, you feel like you've been through so much, even though all you've been doing is to sit in your couch and read.
I must admit that this book has its weak spots and dragging descriptions which were nonetheless beautiful and fascinating! This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The genius of Charlotte Bronte is that she dissolves that thin line between reader and character. You dear reader feel everything as Lucy feels it. It is so painful to not know why M. Paul has offered no word of explanation for his absence. A brief note, saying 'Trust me' and then the fete night where Lucy's sensibilities are pushed beyond endurance and then the resolution. And the final page - well - we are supposed to have learnt as Lucy has learnt, about Trust and Faith and Love. If you believ The genius of Charlotte Bronte is that she dissolves that thin line between reader and character.
If you believe in love then M. Paul will be returned safely. What more to say. Actually I decided there is quite a lot more to say - reading Villette, and then attempting to respond to the whole, required me to consider - what exactly is the nature of a review? I think the basic response - is that I want everyone else to read and enjoy the book as much as I did, and then to contact me and tell me all the pieces they loved, hated, wanted to change, couldn't improve upon, how it related to them etc. If my followers experience different emotions, a different rationale then no problem - the point is to read and appreciate her, and also I think because she's one of the Very Best.
The experience of reading Villette will ultimately give you a more referenced and perceptive vision from which to read other novels - be it from the 19th, 20th or 21st century, and certainly you can go back in time to - when the Novel begins - mid 18th century? Tristram Shandy - by Laurence Sterne. Any suggestions folks? So to Villette - Bronte is an intellectual writer - and she writes in the style of her contemporaries which require that your abilities as writer be constantly reaffirmed.
To this end, the text is full of references - to the Bible, Old and New, Greek philosophers, contemporary, and notable greats, English History - and surprisingly to Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles published in If you are not familiar with these noteworthy tomes and other writers - then yes it can be off putting - but we have the esteemed Tony Tanner, a Fellow of King's College Cambridge, and Reader who provides the End Notes and an Introduction.
Can anyone explain the Tess reference, considering Hardy didn't create her until - 38 years after Villette? Nevermind - the esteemed Tanner also translates the heavy use of conversational French - although I generally preferred my own, and only used his when I struggled with vocab. All of this can be a little intimidating - Do not be put off. Ms Bronte applied midth century writerly style, mixed with her own and being a woman, she needed to establish her credentials not to mention maintain her assumed status as Currer Bell. See Daniel, iii. The note refers to words spoken by M. Paul to Lucy - a comment on her integrity of character. Or try this: Chapter Note 4.
Home de Bassompierre as being immutable. He is an intractable character unwilling to change his mind - a good Scotsman in my opinion - one of the few characters - who quickly and easily sums up Lucy's position. Which is what he does when Paulina asks Lucy what she does - Lucy replies: 'I am a teacher,' Our narrator provides a careful lead in, culminating in the Count's reply: He did not know much about Lucy Snowe: what he knew, he did not very accurately comprehend: indeed his misconceptions of my character often made me smile; but he saw my walk in life lay rather on the shady side of the hill; he gave me credit for doing my endeavour to keep the course honestly straight; he would have helped me if he could: having no opportunity of helping he still wished me well.
When he did look at me, his eye was kind; when he did speak, his voice was benevolent. I wish you strength and health to win in it - success. Then having paused on the unpalatable idea, Well Miss Snowe, why do you go on with it? But I would also like to point out - how simple is her style when - it comes to the crunch. There are plenty of examples of what I would call highfalutin language - but we'll skip those. Let's focus on the plot. Here is the point at which she must return to the Rue Fossette to Madam Beck's Pensionnat and her work as a teacher.
Reason, coming stealthily up to me through the twilight of that long, dim chamber, whispered sedately, - 'He may write once. So kind is his nature, it may stimulate him for once to make the effort. Lucy has allowed herself to hope that there will be a continued interest in herself and her circumstances from Dr John, and indeed his mother Mrs Bretton, who is in fact Lucy's Godmother, and her only semblance of family.
The conversation between Lucy and Reason continues for several pages, she wants to write to Dr John, allow him to see the real her, but Reason answers: At your peril you cherish that idea, or suffer its influence to animate any writing of yours! At the end of this bitter argument - with herself, Lucy is found in the classe, huddled by the stove trying to imbibe some warmth into her frozen mind and body - and interesting it is M.
Paul who finds her thus: 'Mademoiselle, vous etes triste. I see on your cheek two tears which I know are hot as two sparks, and salt as two crystals of the sea. While I speak you eye me strangely. Shall I tell you of what I am reminded while watching you? You remind me, then, of a young she wild creature, new caught, untamed, viewing with a mixture of fire and fear the first entrance of the breaker-in. Our narrator often describes M. Paul as gnome like - but here the sense of his ability to discern exactly what she is feeling borders on the other-wordly - a true elf, gnome, magi - he is not privy to Lucy's past or recent excursion to La Terrasse the comfortable home of Graham and Mrs Bretton, and yet he reads Lucy absolutely.
Which woman - out there has not yearned for a man -or mortal to address her so? To observe with the naked eye and yet see beyond what is on the surface? This is extraordinarily racy for present times - more so for - and yet M. Paul is no demon lover or celibate priest or any other incarnation he could be - but simply a man, aware of Lucy struggling to retain all her desires beneath a smooth facade. All the normal desires of a young woman, to have friendship, love, security, status, comforts - a pleasant life, with excitements as well as work and struggles.
Paul identifies after Lucy's performance in the school play "vous etes une petite ambitiouse". Yes - she is clever. She has desires and aims, but are these Needs any different from any woman young or old in any time period? Lucy's particular historical time setting means - she cannot advance in society through work or employment. In the early 19th century, her only way forward is to marry. This is the essential difference therefore, between then and now - her options are extremely narrow, but she battles on. Severely tried, she makes her way but will not use the wiles of certain ones - such as Ginevra Fanshaw.
Nor does she have the fine breeding and background of Paulina - or her looks. Lucy's only advantages are what lie internally - her morals and intellect, her character - and it is on these that Charlotte Bronte builds her novel. Lucy chooses to believe, no matter how arduous the journey that - through her own strength and determination she will find a measure of happiness and success - and indeed she does.
A lot readers will start Villette expecting a rehash of Jane Eyre —a novel which I enjoyed but wasn't particularly taken by—which is a pity given that the narrative of Villette takes its reader through a much more labyrinthine path that the straightforward Bildungsroman of Jane Eyre. Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, ant tilled with manure. She has a way with words, managing to orchestrate long yet fluid phrases, that beautifully convey the many nuanced feelings and thoughts of her protagonist as well as the different landscapes she navigates.
She offers her readers intricate and sharp observations, vivid descriptions, thoughtful asides and complex character studies that struck me for their realism. Villette 's plot rests upon its narrator's interior struggle. In fact, this novel, is all about Lucy Snowe. A study of her psychology and of her shifting sense of self. Yet, even upon a third reading, she remains somewhat unknowable to me as she is careful to keep her feelings in check , and on more than one occasion she refrains from sharing certain knowledge with her readers speaking of, there is an almost meta aspect to her narrative as she directly address readers and refers to scenes occurred in previous 'chapters'.
About the present, it was better to be stoical; about the future—such as a future as mine—to be dead. We never know why she has become so alienated from her feelings but given that even as a child she was self-possessed and quiet observer, it seems that it is merely an aspect of who she is. This divide between duty and self-fulfilment, reason and feeling, is the main focus of the narrative.
The narrative that follows will see her confronted with different forms of femininity and womanhood which are often embodied in the women she meets in England and in Villette. One painting features a Cleopatra-like figure whose sumptuous body makes our protagonist at ill at ease; the other one demonstrates the traditional life of woman: a young and demure bride, a wife and mother, and finally a widow. Lucy, in the course of this maze-like narrative will demonstrate a headstrong will in that in spite of the concealment of her feelings she remains true to her self. Her character is so real that I was inevitably drawn to feel what she felt: I wanted what she wanted, for I couldn't stand to see her unhappy.
I had nothing to lose. Unutterable loathing of a desolate existence past, forbade return. If I failed in what I now designed to undertake, who, save myself, would suffer? If I died far away from—home, I was going to say, but I had no home—from England, then, who would weep? The cast of characters is not necessarily likeable but I grew fond of them nonetheless, Lucy's banter with a certain professor and a rather spoiled pupil made for some truly entraining scenes. I appreciated how imperfect and sometimes idiosyncratic these characters were as these things made them all the more believable. This novel is a beautifully written character study that plays around with Gothic and Romantic elements.
There is great character development, shifting dynamics between friends and acquaintances, a painfully concealed and unrequited first love, and a series of feverous experiences which blur the line between reality and fantasy Villette is a compelling portrait of a woman's shifting individuality. I'm not sure how to write a review for this book--I don't think I'm even qualified to. Yes, I read it, but not as well as it deserved. I went into it lightly, assuming that it was a weaker, watered-down, inferior version of Jane Eyre.
By the end, I realized that this book is a force unto itself. The force of this book is subtle, though; it doesn't smack you between the eyes, but rather creeps up on you stealthily, winding almost invisible tentacles around your consciousness, catching you up into I'm not sure how to write a review for this book--I don't think I'm even qualified to. The force of this book is subtle, though; it doesn't smack you between the eyes, but rather creeps up on you stealthily, winding almost invisible tentacles around your consciousness, catching you up into the story before you know you've been caught.
Like its protagonist, Lucy Snowe, it lurks quietly, just watching; also like Lucy, the story has a hidden power. The story is the semi-autobiographical tale of Charlotte Bronte's unrequited love for her professor. The main character, Lucy Snowe, is an English orphan who flees England for the hope of adventure and a better life. She ends up in Villette, a fictional town that represents Brussels, where she takes a position in a girls' school as a teacher. She suffers an unrequited passion for one man, but ends by falling in love with another, who is ultimately a much better match for her.
Lucy is telling the story, but we are still kept in the dark quite a bit as she proves to be an unreliable narrator. Her refusal to acknowledge certain truths about herself, even to herself, helps to keep her audience confused and mystified by events. All in all, I think this is a book that has hidden depths, and I feel that my own assumptions caused me to miss some of these layers of meaning. I need a re-read to really appreciate all that is there. When will that be? I have no idea, but I won't be able to do the book justice until then.
View all 4 comments. There are even times when not only Lucy but Bronte herself hides significant information about the other characters from the readers, often casually mentioning having withheld it long after the fact. She is difficult to sympathize with, because she does not seek to be understood, not by us nor by anyone else. She seeks always to appear smaller, not because she enjoys being ignored, because she has found being human-sized altogether too painful to endure. She has no hope of power of pleasing, but this does not mean she has stopped wishing that she had it. The first few chapters and the protagonist, Lucy Snowe, never really captured and held my attention.
I ended up finishing it by listening to the audiobook and reading along. But then the ending blindsided me, and the introduction, which I read afterwards, made me cry. I recall my great love for Jane Eyre happened after I reread it. And I feel my love for Villette can only grow. Lucy and Jane are very much alike, but Lucy is far more real than Jane. Thomas John Winnifrith, author of The Brontes and Their Background: Romance and Reality Macmillan, , argues that the allusions to Heaven and Hell are more than metaphors, and have a religious significance, because "for Heathcliff, the loss of Catherine is literally Hell The eminent German Lutheran theologian and philosopher Rudolph Otto , author of The Idea of the Holy , saw in Wuthering Heights "a supreme example of 'the daemonic ' in literature".
However, the word daemon can also mean "a demon or devil", and that is equally relevant to Heathcliff,  whom Peter McInerney describes as "a Satanic Don Juan ". One British poll presented Wuthering Heights as the greatest love story of all time. Our first encounter with Heathcliff shows him to be a nasty bully. Isabella elop[es] with him, he sneers that she did so "under a delusion Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same" Chapter IX.
Beauvoir, sees this as "the fatal mirage of the ideal of romantic love Despite all the passion between Catherine and Heathcliff, critics have from early on drawn attention to the absence of sex. In the poet and critic Sydney Dobell suggests that "we dare not doubt [Catherine's] purity",  and the Victorian poet Swinburne concurs, referring to their "passionate and ardent chastity". Childhood is a central theme of Wuthering Heights. Wordsworth , following philosophers of education , such as Rousseau , explored ideas about the way childhood shaped personality. Lockwood arrives at Thrushcross Grange in , a time when, according to Q.
Leavis, " 'the old rough farming culture, based on a naturally patriarchal family life, was to be challenged, tamed and routed by social and cultural changes' ",  At this date the Industrial Revolution was well under way, and was by a dominant force in much of England, and especially in West Yorkshire. This caused a disruption in "the traditional relationship of social classes" with an expanding upwardly mobile middle-class, which created "a new standard for defining a gentleman", and challenged the traditional criteria of breeding and family and the more recent criterion of character. Marxist critic Arnold Kettle sees Wuthering Heights "as a symbolic representation of the class system of nineteenth-century England", with its concerns "with property-ownership, the attraction of social comforts", marriage, education, religion, and social status.
Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire was especially affected by changes to society and its class structure "because of the concentration of large estates and industrial centers" there. There has been debate about Heathcliff's race or ethnicity. He is described as a "dark-skinned gypsy" and "a little Lascar ", a 19th-century term for Indian sailors,  Mr Earnshaw calls him "as dark almost as if it came from the devil",  and Nelly Dean speculates fancifully regarding his origins thus: "Who knows but your father was Emperor of China, and your mother an Indian queen? Various critics have explored the various contrast between Thrushcross Grange and the Wuthering Heights farmhouse and their inhabitants see "Setting" above.
Lord David Cecil argued for "cosmic forces as the central impetus and controlling force in the novel" and suggested that there is a unifying structure underlying Wuthering Heights : "two spiritual principles: the principle of the storm, The earliest known film adaptation of Wuthering Heights was filmed in England in and was directed by A. It is unknown if any prints still exist. This acclaimed adaptation, like many others, eliminated the second generation's story young Cathy, Linton and Hareton and is rather inaccurate as a literary adaptation. The film with Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff is the first colour version of the novel.
It has gained acceptance over the years although it was initially poorly received. The character of Hindley is portrayed much more sympathetically, and his story-arc is altered. It also subtly suggests that Heathcliff may be Cathy's illegitimate half-brother. There is also a French film adaptation, Hurlevent by Jacques Rivette. In Yoshida's version, the Heathcliff character, Onimaru, is raised in a nearby community of priests who worship a local fire god. It became a Filipino film classic.
In , MTV produced a poorly reviewed version set in a modern California high school. The music is by Naushad. Although it did not fare as well as other movies of Dilip Kumar, it was well received by critics. Canadian author Hilary Scharper 's ecogothic novel Perdita was deeply influenced by Wuthering Heights, namely in terms of the narrative role of powerful, cruel and desolate landscapes. In , a graphic novel version was published by Classical Comics. This version, which stays close to the original novel, was shortlisted for the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards. Bush wrote and released the song when she was 18 and chose it as the lead single in her debut album. It was primarily inspired by the Olivier—Oberon film , which deeply affected Bush in her teenage years.
The song is sung from Catherine's point of view as she pleads at Heathcliff's window to be admitted. It uses quotations from Catherine, both in the chorus "Let me in! I'm so cold! Critic Sheila Whiteley wrote that the ethereal quality of the vocal resonates with Cathy's dementia, and that Bush's high register has both "childlike qualities in its purity of tone" and an "underlying eroticism in its sinuous erotic contours".
Brazilian heavy metal band Angra released a version of Bush's song on its debut album Angels Cry in In That Quiet Earth". Both titles refer to the closing lines in the novel. He said that the song was "about being enslaved and obsessed by love" and compared it to "Heathcliffe digging up Kathy's corpse and dancing with it in the cold moonlight". The song " Cath The song " Cover My Eyes Pain and Heaven " by the band Marillion includes the line "Like the girl in the novel in the wind on the moors". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Wuthering Heights disambiguation.
Dewey Decimal. Main article: Adaptations of Wuthering Heights. Main article: List of Wuthering Heights references. Philosophy and Literature. Myths of Power. London: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN S2CID Archived from the original PDF on 2 December Le Livre de Poche. New Haven: Yale UP, Nineteenth-Century Fiction. JSTOR Archived from the original PDF on 2 April Retrieved 3 June Thomas Cautley Newby. Retrieved 13 August — via Internet Archive. Nineteenth-Century Literature. Readers Guide to Wuthering Heights online. The Telegraph. June Wuthering Heights UK. Reviews of "Wuthering Heights". GRIN Verlag. Burne-Jones was inspired to paint various scenes from the text including full-length figure studies of Sidonia and her foil Clara in Both paintings are now in the Tate collection.
Suspended Judgment: Essays on Books and Sensations. New York: G. Arnold Shaw, , p. Macovski, "Wuthering Heights and the Rhetoric of Interpretation". ELH , Vol. London : Hogarth Press, c Wuthering Heights. Oxford World's Classics. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 October Archived from the original on 5 October Retrieved 13 September Worth Press Limited. Oxford University Press, , p. Essays in Criticism. XV 3 : — Les Hauts de Hurle-Vent. Washington Examiner. London: Macmillan.
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