Friday, 14 January 2011

"Blog Display" - Brontë Sisters: Three, Two, One

This is an extract from a "Blog Display". You can read the full blog post here, and see the books connected with the display at the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library for the next couple of weeks.

Three Books by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is the most famous of Charlotte's novels, and the first she successfully published. It's one of the classic gothic novels of the early 19th Century... The second volume is the part that gets the most screen time in the many, many adaptions. Jane, now 18 years old, gets a job as a tutor for a young French girl living in an old house in the middle of nowhere. The girl's "guardian" (who may or may not be her father) is a thirty-something English man by the name of Rochester. He usually spends very little time at the family home, but after Jane moves in he sticks around for a bit. He is mysterious and brooding. The house contains a secret locked away in the attic. Things go bump in the night. She falls for him, but believes he is going to marry the rich, beautiful girl who keeps coming to his parties. And just what is in the attic, anyway? Or, rather, who? There's a declaration of love, a promise of happiness and a wedding gone horribly, horribly wrong... It's a corker of a story and one that has been adapted into no less than twenty movies or television series – with more on the way.

Shirley: A Tale
It's remarkably different from Jane Eyre, and seems to have more in common with the works of Elizabeth Gaskell than any of the other novels written by the Brontë sisters. It’s the story of a love quadrangle: Caroline, who is poor, is in love with her (wealthier) cousin Robert, who is wooing Caroline’s (rich) new best friend, Shirley, who quite fancies Robert’s (poor) brother Louis. Robert and Shirley don’t really fancy each other that much, but Robert could do with the money and Shirley’s family don’t approve of Louis, so…

There’s a girl’s school, something mysterious happening in an attic and a dark, brooding man... Lucy Snowe takes up employment at a girls’ school in a small French town called Villette. Amongst her struggles to “make it” as a teacher in a community that considers her an outsider, she also has to deal with her feelings for the gorgeous Dr John – something that is complicated by the fact that Dr John is quite taken with the equally gorgeous Polly...Oh, and then there’s that French professor who is so rude and frustrating. He really is quite an annoying man... And why does she feel so peculiar at the thought of talking to him…?

Two Novels by Anne Brontë

Agnes Grey
Agnes, a poor young woman of some intelligence, is in dire need of a job... Unfortunately, most governesses are treated rather poorly. She goes to work for a family of rich obnoxious people. They are horrid, their children are horrid – heck, the whole town is horrid. She gives up that job and goes home... She takes up another position with another horrid family. These children (one of which is a teenage girl on the cusp of being considered a “woman”) are less likely to torture birds to death, but more likely to ruin your life for their own personal amusement... There’s much angst as Agnes watches a man she “truly admires” become the sport of someone she can’t stand but can’t stop... she returns home to start a school with her mother and assumes she’ll never see her dear Mr Weston again…

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
There is a dark, brooding man in this one, but he sure as heck isn’t the romantic lead. Anne seems to be of the opinion that self-obsessed alcoholics aren’t really nice people and you probably shouldn’t marry them... The lead character, Helen, flees from the self-obsessed alcoholic in question before he can be too bad an influence on their son. Oh, and also because he’s an abusive jerk who treats her badly. She takes up residence in the run-down Wildfell Hall using a fake name (secret identities)... The townsfolk are suspicious, that Gilbert fellow living next door is quite nice, and there is a secret waiting to catch up with them all…

One Novel by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights is the classic gothic novel of the early 19th Century. It’s famously dark and wretched, and many readers have difficulty finishing the novel. There are dark, mysterious houses in the moors, acts of cruelty passed down the generations, forced marriages and a touch of madness. All this, and a dark, brooding man. There may even be ghosts... The book basically involves a lot of people making each other miserable. The characters seem to take turns at this task: Hindley makes Heathcliff miserable because he feels like it, Catherine Senior makes Heathcliff miserable because she’s selfish, Heathcliff makes as many people as possible miserable for revenge…

Read the full post
The full blog post has some bonus features, and the book display has some *ahem* rich content we couldn't put online. You should take a look at both, if you can. Oh, and let us know if you'd like to see more of these "Blog Displays".

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