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Charlotte Bronte(Currer Bell). 1816-1855. Patrick Bronte - Father. Charlotte Brontë was born at Thornton, in Yorkshire, England, the third of six children, to Patrick Brontë, an Irish Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Maria Branwell. . Maria Branwell Bronte - Mother.

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Patrick bronte father
Patrick Bronte - Father

  • Charlotte Brontë was born at Thornton, in Yorkshire, England, the third of six children, to Patrick Brontë, an Irish Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Maria Branwell.

Maria branwell bronte mother
Maria Branwell Bronte - Mother

  • Maria BranwellBrontë died of cancer on 15 September 1821, leaving five daughters and a son to the care of her sister Elizabeth Branwell.

Charlotte emily elizabeth and maria
Charlotte, Emily, Elizabeth and Maria

  • In August 1824, Charlotte was sent with three of her sisters, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, to the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire (which she would describe as Lowood School in Jane Eyre). Its poor conditions, Charlotte maintained, permanently affected her health and physical development, and hastened the deaths of her two elder sisters, Maria (born 1815) and Elizabeth (born 1814), who died of tuberculosis in 1825 soon after they were removed from the school.

Literary beginnings
Literary Beginnings

  • At home in Haworth Parsonage, Charlotte and the other surviving children — Branwell, Emily, and Anne — began chronicling the lives and struggles of the inhabitants of their imaginary kingdoms. This prepared them for their literary careers.

Charlotte s friends roe head school
Charlotte’s Friends-Roe Head School

  • Charlotte continued her education at Roe Head school in Mirfield from 1831 to 1832, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. During this period (1833) she wrote her novella The Green Dwarf under the name of Wellesley.

Charlotte teaches at roe head school
Charlotte teaches at Roe Head School

  • Charlotte returned as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. In 1839 she took up the first of many positions as governess to various families in Yorkshire, a career she pursued until 1841.

An unsuccessful book of poetry
An unsuccessful book of poetry

  • In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne published a joint collection of poetry under the assumed names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Although the book failed to attract interest (only two copies were sold) the sisters decided to continue writing for publication and began work on their first novels. Charlotte continued to use the name “Currer Bell” when she published her first two novels.

Currer bell aka charlotte bronte
Currer Bell (aka Charlotte Bronte)

  • Her novels were deemed coarse by the critics. Much speculation took place as to who Currer Bell really was, and whether Bell was a man or a woman.

Charlotte s siblings die
Charlotte’s siblings die

  • Charlotte's brother, Branwell, the only son of the family, died of chronic bronchitis and extreme malnutrition due to heavy drinking, in September 1848, although Charlotte believed his death was due to tuberculosis. Emily and Anne both died of pulmonary tuberculosis in December 1848 and May 1849, respectively.

Charlotte in london
Charlotte in London

  • Charlotte and her father were now left alone. In view of the enormous success of Jane Eyre, she was persuaded by her publisher to visit London occasionally, where she revealed her true identity and began to move in a more exalted social circle, becoming friends with Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Makepeace Thackeray and G. H. Lewes. However, she never left Haworth for more than a few weeks at a time as she did not want to leave her aging father's side.

Charlotte marries arthur bell nichols
Charlotte marries Arthur Bell Nichols

  • In June 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father's curate (spiritual advisor/deacon).

  • She died nine months later during her first pregnancy.

  • Her death certificate gives the cause of death as tuberculosis, but there is a school of thought that suggests she may have died from her excessive vomiting caused by severe morning sickness in the early stages of pregnancy.

  • There is also evidence to suggest that Charlotte died from typhus she may have caught from Tabitha Ackroyd, the Brontë household's oldest servant, who died shortly before her.

Charlotte bronte s final resting place
Charlotte Bronte’s final resting place

  • Charlotte was interred in the family vault in The Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Haworth, West Yorkshire, England.

Historical background of jane eyre
Historical background of Jane Eyre

  • Victorian Age (Queen Victoria’s reign,1837-1901):

    • Industrial Revolution

      • Farm workers migrating into cities=mass unemployment, poverty, orphaned children, women and children working in factories for very low wages

      • New class distinctions and rise of middle class (shop-keepers, merchants, village parsons)

Victorian middle class
Victorian Middle Class

  • Adhered to social conventions of domesticity and religion

    • Characterized by public moralizing, stifling religious outlook, private hypocrisy (Victorian gentleman publicly preached morality but patroned brothels).

    • Propriety and prudence were accepted values

    • Many families living in factory slums

    • Many orphaned children experiencing extreme suffering

    • All of this existed outside official notice of Victorian worship of family life, domesticity, and the hearth

Middle class women
Middle Class Women

  • Expected to marry, produce large families, and tend to their children

  • Unmarried women were limited to respectable work as a governess or teacher

  • The poor women worked in factories

  • Women’s restrictions were evident from their clothing, and they were expected to act with utmost propriety

    • Excerpt from The Habits of Good Society, published anonymously in 1855: “Her face should wear a smile; she should not rush in head-foremost; a graceful bearing, a light step, an elegant bend to common acquaintance, a cordial pressure, not shaking, of the hand extended to her, are requisite of a lady. Let her sink gently into a chair. . . . Her feet should scarcely be shown and not crossed. . .”

Children like you
Children like you

  • You were expected to be 100% obedient at ALL times

  • What kept you in line:

    • Beatings or solitary confinement

    • Imposing self-discipline or severe punishment in this world, and a threat of terrible penalties in the world to come (the Ten Commandments were often quoted)

    • Education: Children were either educated at home by a governess or sent away to school where the treatment was often cruel. The following letters were exchanged between a mother and daughter over an incident at school:

      • “My Dear Martha,. . . you must kneel down and pray to God to keep you from sinning, and every night and morning you must do the same, for you will never be a good girl until He takes you into His keeping. It is because you have forgotten Him that you have been disobedient.”

      • “My Dearest Mother, I have indeed been very wicked to distress you and my dear father as I have done. . . . I have prayed to Christ to forgive me and love me once more, and I feel comforted now.”

  • Our ancestors had such wisdom…

What about charlotte
What about Charlotte?

  • The Bronte family was dedicated to the images of restraint, piety, and Christian virtue.

  • With her father as the Reverend, she was raised in a constraining atmosphere, yet her passionate nature and literary gifts enabled her to write an accurate tale of her times.

And her novel jane eyre
And her novel, Jane Eyre?

  • Jane Eyre was critically acclaimed in 1847 as “decidedly the best novel of the season,” by G. H. Lewes in The Westminster Review.

  • The Victorians respected the reality of the story, however, some critics thought it to be anti-Christian and vulgar.

  • Today, Jane Eyre endures as one of the most popular English novels, and is considered by some scholars to be the prototype of the feminist novel.

Literary terms
Literary Terms

  • Gothic literature/romance: prose fiction set in middle ages through early 19th century, usually set in gloomy castles with dungeons and subterranean passages

    • Typical story focused on the sufferings imposed on an innocent heroine by a cruel and lustful villain

    • Bountiful use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other supernatural occurrences aimed to invoke terror and a variety of horrors

    • “gothic” also can describe the atmosphere rather than the actual setting, i.e. events that are uncanny, melodramatically violent, or unusual psychological states

      • This most effectively describes the elements of “gothic” literature present in Jane Eyre and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

    • In women writers of gothic fiction, critics argue that this mode appears to be a result of the oppression of sexuality or a challenge to the gender hierarchy and values of a male-dominated culture.

Literary terms cont
Literary Terms (cont.)

  • Pathetic fallacy: suggests parallel moods in nature to reflect emotions of a character; often used by Bronte throughout Jane Eyre

  • Gynocriticism: a criticism that concerns itself with developing a specifically female framework for dealing with works written by women, in all aspects of their production, motivation, analysis, and interpretation, and in all literary forms, including journals and letters.

    • Reveals the stereotype that all literary creativity is an exclusively male prerogative

    • This effected in women writers a psychological duplicity that projected a monstrous counter-figure to the idealized heroine…what do we get, but none other than….

The madwoman in jane eyre we ll discover her name as we read
The madwoman in Jane Eyre(we’ll discover her name as we read!)

She is the “monster counter-figure”….how is this revealed in this picture?

**Additional note: this figure is “usually in some sense the author’s double, an image of her own anxiety and rage”