Lecture 11 Emily Bronte (1818 – 1848)
1. Life of the Bronte sisters
Charlotte Bronte (39 years), Emily Bronte (30 years) and Anne Bronte (29 years)
(all wrote some nice literary works; all talented; all died early)
(1) They were daughters of a poor country clergyman and born in Yorkshire moors.
(2) The Bronte family had 5 daughters and 1 son. Except Anne, 4 girls were sent to the charity school. 2 elder daughters died in the charity school because of bad living conditions. ( described in Jane Eyre)
(3) Charlotte and Emily once worked as governesses in rich families to make a living.
(4) In 1848 Emily and her brother died of consumption. In 1849 Anne also died of consumption.
(5) Only Charlotte lived a little longer and married a clergyman.
(6) Charlotte wrote 4 novels; Emily 1 novel and Anne 2 novels. The three sisters also published a poem collection together.
thth(7) In the 19 century, Charlotte’s novels were welcomed better, but in the 20 century, Emily
Bronte is considered as the most talented in the three sisters.
2. Wuthering Heights;呼啸山庄；
(1) Plot (Read it on P156): “a story about two families and an intruding strager”
(2) Point of view: first person point of view; employing two dramatic narrators: Mr. Lockwood, Heathcliff’s tenant and Nelly Dean, the housekeeper
(3) Excerpt: Chapter 15
Q1: What does the chapter main talk about? (Final meeting of Heathcliff and Catherine before Catherine’s death)
Q2: Is the “I” in first paragraph the same person with the “I” in the rest of the chapter? (No, “I” in the first paragraph is Mr. Lockwood and “I” in the rest of the chapter is Nelly Dean)
Q3: What were Catherine’s behaviors when she met Heathcliff in this chapter? What those behaviors mean? (She still loved Heathcliff deeply but she was afraid that Heathcliff might forget her.)
Q4: What were Heathcliff’s behaviors when he met Catherine in this chapter? What those behaviors mean? (He also loved Catherine very much but he complained about Catherine’s marriage with Edgar Linton.)
(4) Notice the characterization of Catherine Earnshaw.
(Discussion) If you were Catherine, would you choose Edgar Linton or Heathcliff?
Actually, Catherine is a common girl who met an uncommon love. She didn’t have enough strength to choose Heathcliff as most common people. You can see in the novel in the Catherine’s heart, the
struggle between true love and tradition never ceased. And we can say it was the contradiction which caused Catherine’s early death. Thus we cannot take Catherine simply as a vain or even snobbish
character. She was only a common girl who was born in a wealthy family. She didn’t have enough courage and strong mind to choose Heathcliff. This character is a quite authentic one.
(5) Theme of the novel: strong criticism upon the mammonism and social discrimination prevailing in the society
The theme of the novel can also be understood like this: hatred and revenge are meaningless; only love can last forever
(6) Features of the novel: strong Romantic color (focusing on private passion and personal emotions; lots of description of nature to create a specified atmosphere; Gothic elements)
3. Recommended Reading
The whole novel of Wuthering Heights
Preview the next chapter about Thomas Hardy and read the excerpt of Chapter 13