Friday, October 10, 2008

A Quick Glance

Emily Jane Brontë, a British novelist and poet, helped modify the classics of English Literature with her first and only novel, Wuthering Heights. Emily was the second eldest of the three surviving Brontë sisters, being younger than Charlotte and older than Anne. She published under the masculine pen name Ellis Bell, as how Charlotte went under Currer and Anne went under Acton, to avoid any female prejudice. As with all the Bronte novels, critics have tried to find a biographical coonection between Emily's life and her tragic novel. Emily has been defined as deeply spiritual, free-spirited and solitary as well as intensely creative and passionate, a symbol of tortured genius.

The Start of an Inevitable Legend

Born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, Emily was the fifth child of Patrick Bronte and Maria Branwell, sister Anne being the youngest of the six children. In 1821, only at the age of 38, Maria Branwell lost her battle with cancer and died, widowing Patrick and leaving her three-year old daughter Emily behind with her five other siblings.
After sister Anne was born, Emily and the rest of the Bronte's moved to the village of Haworth where Patrick became vicar. Later on, a year or so after Maria's death, her sister, Elizabeth Branwell, had moved in with the Bronte's to service in helping to raise the six young Bronte children.

In 1824, the four Bronte sisters began their education at Clergy Daughter's School at Cowan Bridge, leaving the baby Anne behind. However, the stay did not last long; a year after being enrolled, Maria and Elizabeth died of tuberculosis at the tender ages of 10 and 11, so Emily and Charlotte returned home to Haworth.
Seeking a haven for entertainment and comfort, not being able to get it from their quiet, surly father, the Bronte children consumed a vast amount of time reading the creations of Shakespeare and Milton, finding the creative side of them. As time progressed and their creative minds expanded, the four children found themselves writing poems and short stories, creating imaginary worlds that helped them find other sides of themselves. It was in these creative outlets and practices, that the Bronte sisters found their gift in writing.

Exploring the Possibilities

In 1842, Emily took the initiative to spot a job as a governess at Miss Patchett's Ladies Academy at Law Hill School, near Halifax. However, she returned as soon as she left due to homesickness, with only six months of work to place under her sleeve.

Later, with her sisters Charlotte and Anne, she attended a private school in Brussels run by Constantin Heger and his wife, Claire Zoé Parent Heger. With the teachings of French, German, and literature, the girls were able to emerge themselves into their studies that they reached an agreement of beginning their own school. However, after Aunt Branwell's demise, Emily returned home to Haworth unaccompanied by her sisters for her aunt's funeral and stayed there to care for her father. Yet, helping around the household did not stop Emily from writing and editing her poems, one of the things that kept her useful.

By 1845, Charlotte and Anne joined Emily and their father by returning to Haworth, succumbing to their dream of starting a school.

A year after reuniting in Haworth, oldest Bronte sister Charlotte sparked up an incredible idea: publish all the poems that each sister wrote for readers and critics alike to read.

Wuthering Heights

Wanting their works to be critiqued for their literary value and not on their gender, Anne, Charlotte, and Emily published their novels under somewhat masculine names: Acton, Currer, and Ellis Bell. Safeguarding their male identities was so vital to the Brontë sisters that Charlotte maintained that identity even in writing to her publishers, never once spilling out a clue that any of them could be women.

In addition, Emily had an keen sense of privacy, which made veiling her identity especially important to her.

Published in 1847, Wuthering Heights brewed up a superflous amount of mixed reviews and startled reactions, considering the fact that poeple in Emily's soceity were not used to such harsh romance stories. The consolidation of its innovative structure and components of passion, mystery and destroyed love as well as it's social points have made this romantic masterpiece an all-time classic. Set in 18th Century England, Bronte points out themes of revenge, religion, class and prejudice, producing an in-depth look at the human mind and soul.

In reality, it wasn't until after her death, that Emily Bronte's work started to recieve vast praise. Wuthering Heights is still in print today and has become the inspration to so many television and feature film adaptations.

Wuthering Heights is a novel that is told in a series of narrative stories, which are themselves told to the narrator, a gentleman named Lockwood. Lockwood rents a fine house and park called Thrushcross Grange in Yorkshire, and gradually learns more and more about the histories of two local families, told to him by a housekkeper named Ellen, who lived with one of the families, the Earnshaws, her whole life. In general terms, the story follows the lives of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, how their love bloomed and died at the same time, and how the consequencies of that lost love passes down to the following generations in both families.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Personal tragedies

While his sisters were on their way to becoming famous authors, Branwell had failed as a painter and lapsed into alcoholism and drug abuse. Eventually, his health betrayed him and he died in September of 1848, and his death marked the beginning of Emily's own illness.

Upon returning home for her brother's funeral, Emily caught a cold that eventually led to her having tuberculosis. The tuberculosis killed her rapidly, perhaps because she consistently. refused to take any medications for her illness health. She died with heroic fortitude on December 19th, 1848, at the age of 30, and did not have time to appreciate the outstanding success of her novel.

Remembering the Bronte Legend

Emily Bronte's whole thirty years of life and work exemplifies the realities of the world and its capbility of changing. Emily was a courageous and strong-willed person who always remained true to herself and her vision, even up until her very last breath. Emily Bronte's life and death of courage and independence is a lasting example to us all. No matter what, everyone in this world has a story to tell, whether good or bad, and they should speak out their unique voices by assuring that it is heard.