The Bronte Sisters, Jane Eyre Essay

2661 words - 11 pages

The Bronte Sisters Various aspects of Charlotte and Emily Bronte's background greatly influenced them to write the novels Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The death of their mother influenced them as young children when she died of a lingering illness, and this loss drove the Bronte children into an intense and private intimacy (Dunleavy 239). But their father remained, and he directed their education at home, letting his children read freely and treating them as intellectual equals (Stabenau 179). Similarly, both of the main characters, Jane Eyre and Catherine Earnshaw, lose their mothers to illnesses as young children and the remaining parent or relative must raise the child. Both stories make use of the popular nineteenth century motif of the orphaned child who must make his or her own way in an antagonistic world (Dunleavy 242). Besides the absence of a mother figure, both sisters spent most of their lives in isolation on the Yorkshire moors, another important influence on the novels (Abbey and Mullane 414). Rebecca Fraser, a biographer of the Bronte family, believes that they clearly preferred a reclusive lifestyle admist the primitive beauty of the moors (23). By comparison, the bleak, lonely moors of Yorkshire serve as the same setting for two of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights ("Bronte" CD-ROM). According to an essay written in The Eclectic Review in 1851, Charlotte and Emily Bronte were at home amongst the moors; therefore, a vividness and graphic power in their sketches present them before the reader (108). "The Bronte's work was shaped by the wild and lonely moors where they spent most of their lives. Although quiet and withdrawn women, they possessed a mystical streak that responded to the natural environment around them" ("Heights" 1). Many unique individuals in both sisters' lives also influenced their novels since they base many of the main characters in the stories on these individuals. Vividness, cogency, plausibility-these attributes of exceptional writing result from characters in both stories exhibiting personalities exactly like ones in the novelists' lives. In order to create these characters, Charlotte and Emily Bronte selected an actual living person they knew, collected traits from his or her personality, and modified this person to make another (Roscoe 51). This background, together with a Gothic setting, convincing characterization, and important literary devices enables Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte in Wuthering Heights to develop the theme of exploration into different kinds of love.The combination of literary elements from both novels constitute them as Gothic romances. To be considered as such, a story must present a stormy love affair within a violent brooding atmosphere often entwined with supernatural occurrences. The stormy love affair in Jane Eyre exists between Jane and Rochester and, in Wuthering Heights, between Catherine and Heathcliff....

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