Essential Differences Among Bronte Sisters’ Works

June 29, 2009

Essential Differences Among Bronte Sisters’ Works

By Sundus E. Al. Nabhani

Although their names always associated with each other, mentioned together & represent sensitives – who were distinguished from the other – their works, however, were completely different. “Bell Sisters” (Abrams 1311) this was their names before their great works published. Currer Bell composed Jane Eyre, Ellis Bell wrote Wuthering Heights and Acton Bell formulated Agnes Grey. In fact, Bell sisters were Bronte sisters: Emily, Charlotte and Anne. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte & Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte were just a reflection of their life, while Emily’s works either her novel or her poems were a literature.

In Charlotte’s Jane Eyre the author expressed her feelings, her autobiography and her hopes. A simple clarification of this notion includes the novel’s title, protagonist, theme, events, end and the author’s style. All these ideas provide one point which is how the novelist could incarnate her real personality in an imaginary heroin. Furthermore, there is a strong link between each one of these items and the actuality of Charlotte’s life. In 1821 her mother died and Mrs. Elizabeth Branwell, Aunt Branwell, came from Cornwall to help Mr. Bronte to look after the children. In 1824 Charlotte and Emily sent to school for the daughters of poorer clergymen at Cowan Bridge where their oldest sisters Elizabeth and Maria died because of tuberculosis as a result of the school’s harsh and unhealthy condition . Charlotte worked as a governess twice firstly in May 1839 and secondly in March 1841 but in reality she left after a few months because of mistreatment. Moreover she suffered from treating her as socially inferior. After that she went with Emily to Brussels in 1842 then they retuned to Haworth because their aunt died. She had many visits to London and she met many famous authors like Matthew Arnold, Mr. Gaskell and Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth despite she was a shy woman who disliked social life.

The information above rewritten by Charlotte not as a biography but as a novel. According to this, it is obviously that Jane Eyre as a title or as a protagonist of the novel reflects an orphan girl called Jane Eyre whom her aunt Mrs. Reed took care of her after her parents died (Vol.1, Ch.2, 6-7) . Jane went to Lowood Orphanage School (Vol.1, Ch.5, 42) where she met her friend Helen Burns who died because of tuberculosis as a result of the bad position in that school (Vol.1, Ch.9, 47) . When she grown up she worked as a governess of Miss. Adele Varens in Mr. Rochester’s house (Vol.1, Ch.11, 88). During her job, she faced some ironic criticism from Mr. Rochester’s relatives on account of her social class (Vol.2, Ch.2, 165-66). One day Mr. Robert Leaven – who was a servant in Mrs. Reed’s house – came to her and told her that her aunt wanted to see her before she die (Vol.2, Ch.6, 208). Then she took Mr. Rochester’s permission to leave and went immediately to see Mrs. Reed (Vol.2 Ch.6 213). At the end of the novel, she achieved her aim which was having her independency by marriage and conquer social class differences (Vol.3, Ch.12, 429). By making a small comparison between real Charlotte Bronte and fantastic Jane Eyre ultimate result is that two various names mentioned two times one as an autobiography and the other one as a novel’s heroin . It is clear that the novelist exploited her authentic actions in performing a literary wok and it indicates what she has and what she wants. Mrs. Reed is a reflection of Elizabeth Branwell, Lowood Orphanage School is a reflection of Cowan Bridge, Helen Burns and tuberculosis are a reflection of Maria, Elizabeth, and tuberculosis again, her occupation and her aunt’s death were also the same. Subsequently, this novel is a reflection work.

Anyhow, it is possible to say that Anne’s novel was approximately ingenuous reflection like Charlotte’s. A brief explanation of this statement can be exemplified by using the comparison technique between the author’s autobiography and the novel’s heroin, theme and events. From the beginning, the first chapter in the novel named The Parsonage (“Agnes Grey”). It is not an odd choice because Mr. Patrick Bronte was a clergyman and his daughters grown in the parsonage (Abrams 1311). Chapter twenty one named The School (“Agnes Grey”). Her selection of that chapter’s name relate to Cowan Bridge where she sent (Abrams 1311). In Agnes Grey each member of her family started to look for a job in order to protect themselves from begging after their father ill (Southcombe). They interdicted Agnes to join them because she is young (Southcombe). This event prove that Anne wished to have her independency among her family especially if it is known that her sister Maria born in 1814 , Elizabeth in 1815 , Charlotte in 1816 , Branwell – her brother – in 1817 , Emily in 1818 and finally she born in 1820 . So, she was the youngest one on her family. Agnes worked as a governess two times: first in Wellwood House with Bloomfield family and second with the Murray family (“Agnes Grey”). This was exactly what happened with the writer’s sister Charlotte (Jane Eyre IX). Bloomfield family was rich while Agnes was poor and needy. Considering theme of the novel is struggle for independence as usual there must be a conflict on account of social class which Anne and her family suffered from because their father was impoverished (Abrams 1311). Therefore, the novel is a reflection of the author’s life.

Regarding to Emily’s Wuthering Heights the relationship between the novelist’s life and the novel itself was nonexistent from the beginning until the end. A small interpretation of this includes the title, hero, theme, events and the end of the novel. Naming her work by a place’s name conspicuously is new because even if the novel substitutes its title with anything else such as : Heathcliff Revenge , Diabolism Revenge , The End of the Tragic Devilish or Gothic Enormous it remains distinguished from Anne’s and Charlotte’s because there is no association between these titles and Emily Bronte . So, it is really a refined selection of the novel’s name. The theme of the novel is revenge for love which Emily could make her novel haunting and unforgettable. Also the extraordinary events which represented through the relationship between Catherine Earnshaw with Heathcliff in one hand and Catherine Linton with Hareton in another hand were amazing. Throughout these two relations the writer used a very brilliant shift. First relation started from love then ended with suffering and second relation started with suffering then ended with love as if they are two separate novels.

Perhaps it is a controversial tactic that Anne and Charlotte were almost similar in their literary works. Indeed, they were cognate if they compare with Emily not with her works because every writer has her own diverse manner but actually with her style. Simply throughout Agnes Grey and Jane Eyre both of the novelists expressed the actions with the chronological strategy while Emily used the flash back mode.

Furthermore, Emily had a brilliant factuality to make her works fantastic via an ambiguousness which colored her arts. Despite Charlotte also employed the ambiguousness in her novel in order to make her readers in case of enjoyment but they still separate various novelists . For Charlotte the only mysterious idea in Jane Eyre is Mr. Rochester’s secret which appeared first of all in the eleventh chapter of the first volume when Jane heart a ” preternatural laugh ” (98) . Secondly in the fifth chapter of the second volume when Mr. Rochester asked her to take care of Mason because he had a sunken wound as a result of violent attack (196-99). Thirdly when a strange woman came to Jane’s room and mangled her wedding – dress and veil (Vol.2, Ch.10, 269). Such these events let the readers’ minds in case of interesting and motivate them to continue the reading in order to know ultimately what secret is this? This question answered at the end of the novel when Mr. Rochester disclose his secret and said that the once who has a strange laugh , attacked Mason and mangled Jane’s wedding – dress is his previous wife Bertha Mason (Vol.2, Ch.11, 279) . May Charlotte achieved in making her readers interested but this interesting was just for a short time because this suspenseful stopped at the end of the novel because the question answered . Consequently, the interesting and suspense in Jane Eyre were limited between the question about Mr. Rochester’s secret and its answer which is his wife. So, after reading this novel there is nothing to think about because every thing relates to the events or the characters mentioned throughout the novel.

Regarding to Anne her novel’s actions are normally and its end is predictable. But for Emily the mysterious notion in her novel linked with many things such as the actions itself, Mr. Heath cliff’s life, his personality and his end. According to the actions, from the beginning until the end there are some questions left without answers. For example from where Mr. Heathcliff came (Ch.4, 29), and how did he make his great fortune after three absence years? (Ch.10, 75-77). “Mr. Kenneth was perplexed to pronounce of what disorder the master died.” this quotation illustrate that Mr. Heathcliff’s death was ambiguous (Ch.34, 278). Moreover his end was after poignant torment which make the readers in case of sympathizing with hem because ultimately he was the real victim. It is possible to consider his end as a poetic justice, too.

The most obscure thing is Mr. Heathcliff’s personality which Emily could succeed in expressing hem. It is enough to understand how mixture character he was from two contradictory speeches. First one is in the fifteenth chapter when he and Catherine met for last time and he told her:

You teach me now how cruel you’ve been – cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort .You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they’ll blight you – they’ll damn you. You loved me -then what right had you to leave me? What right – answer me – for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you – oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave? (132-33).

Second one is in the sixteenth chapter when Mrs. Nelly came to tell him that Catherine died. He replied:

May she wake in torment! He cried, with frightful vehemence,

stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. Why, she’s a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there – not in heaven – not perished – where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer – I repeat it till my tongue stiffens – Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living ; you said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered Do haunt their murderers , I believe . I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only Do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul! (137)

Through these two quotations it is clearly that Mr. Heathcliff is emotional and passionate person in one hand and he is a devilish and evil person on the other hand. Even after reading this novel the readers’ feelings will not stop not only because of the unusual and supernatural actions but also because of the author’s unique style in delivering the expression.

Beside the vagueness there is another fascinating aspect somehow colored Emily’s art which was the necrophilia. This aspect appeared clearly in Wuthering Heights and that’s why it is discriminate novel. Also it appears in some of her poems like Remembrance. Although Charlotte was also poet but her poems were not like Emily’s. For the difference between Emily and Charlotte as a poet it is enough to compare Emily’s Remembrance (Margaret F. 946) with Charlotte’s Regret (all poems of Charlotte Br.).

Each one of the Bronte sisters has her own ingenuity but Emily was the foremost. Her priority supported by great testimony from Charlotte herself when she said “these were not common effusions, nor at all like the poetry women generally write.” (Abrams 1311). Even if the works of Charlotte , Anne and Emily are distinguished it remind debatable because Charlotte predominated her sisters in the numbers of the literary works because she wrote four novels (Jane Eyre, X-XI) while Anne and Emily composed only one but Emily’s unique ability is remarkable because it lets the readers need more of hers . Actually she started to write her second novel but unfortunately she died before that (Abrams 1311). Showing the essential differences among three great works is better than analyzing each one alone and this is the aim of the whole argument above. Finally, it takes all sorts to make a world.

Works Cited

Abrams, M. H. and Stephen Greenblatt. “Emily Bronte” The Norton Anthology

of English Literature, 8th ed. , 2nd vol. , New York , 2006, 1311 .

“Agnes Grey”, Literature.org , 16 April 2009 <http://www.literature.org/authors/bronte-anne/agnes-grey/&gt;.

All poems of Charlotte Br. “Regret”, PoemHunts.com , 16 April 2009, <http://www.poemhunter.com/charlottebronte/&gt;.

Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre, London, Librairie du Liban, 2004.

Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights, London, Librairie du Liban, 2007.

Ferguson, Margaret. “Remembrance” The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 4th ed. ,

New York , Castle House, 1996 , 946.

Sauthcambe, Loura. “Plot summary of Agnes Grey.” AllReadears.com 16 April 2009

<http://www.allreaders.com/Topics/Info_31776.asp&gt;.

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2 Responses to “Essential Differences Among Bronte Sisters’ Works”

  1. Abdal Ghaffar said

    I hope for you. more success and Altmir -Abdal Ghaffar rashed

  2. عبد الغفار محمد راشد said

    ان شاء الله مزيد من التقدم والنجاح والتميز تقبلي فائق احترامي وتقديري خالك- عبد الغفار محمد راشد

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