Common Points of Bronte Sisters

Topics: Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Brontë Pages: 6 (2052 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Although so many disparities exist between three sisters in terms of writing style, value and reputation, they have many things in common, such as the usage of Gothic element and the theme of feminism. When considering the common features they all have, it is inevitable to mention their family and life experience. Their interest towards literature and writing was firstly cultivated by their father Patrick Bronte. Patrick Bronte was ‘a poet, writer, and polemicist’ (, who ‘was the author of Cottage Poems, The Rural Minstrel, numerous pamphlets and newspaper articles, and various rural poems’ ( He was an intelligent person, and he studied theology, general subjects, and ancient and modern history in Cambridge. His literary attainment influenced his children deeply. When Bronte sisters were young, they were allowed to read freely whatever they like, which stimulated their passion towards literature ( Living under the background of Victorian age, disease is the essential motif commonly shared by Bronte sisters in their novels (Torgerson 1). Some diseases such as influenza, rabies and tuberculosis that can be cured now with the help of modern medicine, ‘still took a toll on human life’ in victoria age (Torgerson 1). More worse, as for the health condition in Haworth, according to Barker, the Yorkshire village where Bronte sisters lived, the morality rates was so high that was ’10.5 percent higher than what the law considered needing special attention’ ( qtd, in. Torgerson 1). Bronte family, living in such dangerous environment, inevitably was infected with deadly diseases. The first person died from the disease was their mother Maria Branwell, who was just 38 dying from uterine cancer. However, not so long from suffering that trauma, two out of five children were passed away due to tuberculosis. Maria Bronte and Elizabeth Bronte were died after they returned from Clergy Daughter’s School, where was notorious for inhumane treatment of students and poor environment. According to the description of Charlotte, ‘in all weather, without adequate protective clothing, the pupils had to walk more than three miles across the fields to their pastor's church to attend the first mass’ ( The poor condition in the school challenged the health of all students, including Maria, Elizabeth Charlotte and Emily. However, Maria and Elizabeth could not bear the life in Clergy Daughter’s school, and became ill gradually. Although they were removed from the school, they were died soon on 6 May and 15 June 1825 respectively ( Enduring with the sorrow of the death of their mother and two sisters, Bronte family’s awareness toward the disease ‘naturally [affected] the way they perceived their world’ (Torgerson 2). There was no doubt that when Bronte sisters became authors, they would repeatedly use disease as ‘representations and metaphors’ (Torgerson 2). Among the three sisters, ‘Anne Bronte is the most direct and straightforward in her use of literature as social critical’ (Torgerson 15). She would like to use the representation of illness to uncover the social issues, such as alcoholism ‘inherent in a culture based upon hierarchies’ (Torgerson 15). In Anges Grey, Anne Bronte focuses on the alcoholism in order to reveal ‘four manifestations’--- the adult abuse of children, male abuse of women, man’s abuse of animals and man’s abuse of lower class (Torgerson 23). The reason why Anne Bronte chooses alcoholism as the metaphor to explore is that this illness shared by all the members isolated and alienated in this society ‘based on hierarchies of power’ (Torgerson 23). The same with Anne Bronte, Charlotte Bronte also uses illness as a metaphor to allude to social issues. In the novel Shirley, she mentions cholera to emphasis the concern of women’s health (Torgerson 39). The metaphor cholera does not just rhetorical, but ‘indicates a hidden concern in Shirley’ (Torgerson 40)....
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