In Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Bronte portrays female supporters who chiefly do non accept the socially-constructed image of muliebrity, yet they finally yield to this docket. In this facet, it is deserving adverting that non merely is Bronte ‘s representation of her female characters affected by her ain gender, but those very characters are besides derived from Bronte ‘s life. In other words, Bronte ‘s female supporters are in a sense a representation of Bronte ‘s ain life. Bronte suffered a batch in her childhood. Apart from the fiscal insecurity her household suffered from, her female parent passed off when she was about one twelvemonth old ( Shaw 128 ) . This state of affairs had deductions on Bronte ‘s composing calling. In fact, it seems that composing for her was a agency by which she could both deviate herself from her psychological injury and displace her ain feelings through her characters. One can see Bronte ‘s female supporters as a agency by which she announces her rejection of the restrictions imposed on adult females in her clip. That is why she represents them as sceptered adult females someway capable to of battling the suffering state of affairs they live in.
Bronte ‘s method of authorising her female supporters is represented in induing them with a profession or a accomplishment that helps them authenticate their personalities and live within the smothering patriarchal atmosphere. To get down with, Agnes Grey represents a graphic illustration on Bronte ‘s sleight in portraying her female supporters. Agnes is portrayed as a lady who has a strong belief in her individualism. She is bold and determined as she leaves place to seek employment as a governess. The household is faced with looming poverty and Agnes finds employment to assist her male parent with his fiscal troubles. Her employment and ability to supplement the households income in a presentation that adult females contrary to popular patriarchal impressions, were able to non merely fend for themselves, but make important part to the fiscal demands of their dependants. Pulling from her ain experience, Bronte makes her protagonist a governess.
Through Agnes ‘s experience with the Bloomfield ‘s household at Wellwood house, Bronte gives a position of the wretchedness of a adult female enduring within the drastically mercenary and patriarchal society. Agnes suffers a batch under the laterality of Mr. Bloomfield and Mrs. Bloomfield and their kids. Ultimately, Grey does non accept the demeaning state of affairs. She does non lose her marbless on happening that she has been dismissed and finally hunts for another chance. What is deserving mentioning is the fact that Agnes is cognizant of the manner the society regards her as she says “ ( T ) hough a adult female in my ain appraisal, I was still a kid in theirs. ” ( Bronte, Agnes 19 ) . However, she ne’er succumbs to this function and proclaims “ If of all time I felt it degrading to subject so softly, or unbearable to labor so invariably, I would turn towards my place, and state within myself-they may oppress, but they shall non repress me! ( Bronte, Agnes 40 ) .
Agnes ‘s aspirations and aspirations undermine the nineteenth-century prescribed image of the adult female and the restrictions imposed on them in the populace sphere. Agnes ‘s important function in back uping the household and her battle in gaining rewards set up her as a adult female who is far from being typical. In other words, Agnes Grey shows Bronte ‘s representation of a adult female character who defies the socially-constructed norms and creates her ain image of the adult female that does non needfully conform to the socially-accepted parametric quantities.
Not merely Bronte ‘s supporters, but besides her minor female characters portion her motivation for emancipation. Agnes ‘s sister is besides a gifted creative person who makes her living by selling her drawings. It should be noted that the image of the female creative person is important for Bronte. In add-on to authorising the adult female with a profitable accomplishment, the image of the creative person carries many political deductions that help Bronte present her feminist message more vividly. This becomes clear in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
This image of the female creative person is depicted more exhaustively in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Through the novel, Bronte employs art as a tool to ease her crisp onslaught against patriarchal rules. In more peculiar footings, Helen ‘s prowess helps Bronte concept matrimony as a hegemonic patriarchal rule that constitutes a strong obstruction against the procedure of achieving self-definition. Helen ‘s prowess is more than every bit accomplishment. It is a agency by which she aims to accomplish a kind of self-realization through set uping herself as a fully fledged creative person. However, matrimony constitutes an hindrance in her artistic journey.
Helen ‘s matrimony proves to be the obstruction that hinders her desire for artistic accomplishment. After her matrimony, Helen ‘s individuality as a married woman takes over her individuality as an creative person. In other words, portion of her individuality is concealed, and the lone mercantile establishment for her emotions is about blocked. Clearly plenty, one time she has assumed her place as a married woman, Helen seldom refers to herself as an creative person. She notes that “ the reading and answering of my letters and the way of family concerns afforded me ample employment for the forenoon ; after tiffin, I got my drawing, and from dinner boulder clay bedtime, I read ” ( Bronte, Tenant 175 ) . As Siv Jansson puts it, “ Bronte ‘ s history of ( Helen ‘s ) matrimony to Arthur is one of the most barbarous indictments of both the legal and economic restraints which supported Victorian matrimony, and the fabulous political orientation which deceives Helen into it ” ( 36 ) .
Through picturing Helen ‘s predicament as a adult female creative person, Bronte castigates the patriarchal rules represented in matrimony that gives adult females limited chance to set up their freedom and true individuality. As a married adult female, Helen does non bask any of the rights sing her graphics as she did prior to marriage. The nineteenth-century matrimonial Torahs empower Arthur to destruct Helen ‘s pictures. In this manner, Helen ‘s prowess helps Bronte concept matrimony as a beginning of denial of artistic endowment, loss of the right of ownership, and want of the beginning of earning.
Helen rejects her suffering state of affairs within matrimony and provinces, “ I am tired out with his unfairness… . I am no angel, and my corruptness rises against it ” ( Bronte, Tenant 213 ) . Just like Agnes, Helen proclaims a really strong women’s rightist statement as she says “ he may imbibe himself dead, but it is NOT my mistake! ” ( Bronte, Tenant 255 ) . In this facet, there is a nexus that can be drawn between Helen ‘s linguistic communication and her prowess. Both come as a rejection of the domestic domain and its smothering influence on Helen as a adult female creative person. That is why when she realizes that her linguistic communication does non assist her in achieving her emancipation ; she decides to repossess herself by presenting as a widow creative person. Consequently, Helen flees the domination of her hubby and manages to conceal her position as a married adult female in order to keep her individuality, her belongings and her endowment. As Alisa Clapp argues, “ Helen is larning the sexual power drama built-in in adult females ‘s art, of when to conceal and when to publicise art ” ( 119 ) .
Clearly plenty, Helen ‘s prowess and pictures are employed to ease Bronte ‘s affecting onslaught against the male-dominated universe. In add-on to sing Helen ‘s pictures as a signifier of look of her inner ego, Helen ‘s prowess shows how patriarchy inherently annihilates adult females ‘s artistic endowment. In this sense, it can be said that Bronte, with her narrative acumen, dextrously promulgates her feminist subject from within Helen ‘s pictures. Helen ‘s graphics and her battle to set up her artistic individuality aid Bronte frame The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as a work that uncovers the atrociousnesss of the patriarchal political orientation and chastise the restrictions it imposes on adult females ‘s artistic chances.
Not merely does this manner of reading Helen ‘s artistic accomplishments contribute to understanding Bronte ‘s feminist statement in the novel, it besides helps in appreciating the significance of art and graphics as employed by Bronte. For the writer, adult females ‘s prowess is non simply an mercantile establishment for their pent-up emotions. Rather, adult females ‘s artistic aspiration can work both thematically and technically. On the thematic degree, it serves as a method of self-establishment and a manner of achieving emancipation. Technically talking, it is a tool that can be employed in the text to ease the review of the hegemonic patriarchal system. All in all, it contributes to understanding the manner Bronte constructs her female characters in general and the adult female creative person in peculiar.
Empowering the female supporters with endowments and accomplishments illustrates an facet of Bronte ‘s feminist political orientation. In fact, the image of the “ female creative person ” carries strong and smart women’s rightist deductions. What Bronte seems to connote here is that a adult female can accomplish self-realization within the patriarchal character from within her ain muliebrity. In other words, a adult female can set up herself by virtuousness of being “ a adult female. ” A adult female does non hold to abandon her muliebrity and trespass on the male sphere in order to derive self-fulfillment.
However, the terminations of both The Tenant of The Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey raise some inquiries sing Bronte ‘s word picture of the her female supporters every bit good as her feminist base. The matrimony of the two supporters at the terminal of the two novels seems to deconstruct all Bronte ‘s statement against matrimony and its influence on her female characters ‘ emancipation. Agnes ‘s matrimony at the terminal may stand for the death after her effort to originate a alone independent life. Similarly, Helen ‘s matrimony to Gilbert may look as an indicant of the failure of all her emancipatory efforts as it marks the re-entry into the really domestic universe which she has been endeavoring to liberate herself from.
In fact, this thought of doing adult females characters ‘ concluding retreat to work forces is a characteristic of most adult females ‘s Hagiographas in the 19th century. Hence, Bronte, like some of her modern-day adult females writers, seems to be implicated in the same philosophy that she aims to overthrow. Although Bronte portrays extremely independent and grammatical female characters, she finally hands them to the establishment that the tradition has pronounced indispensable for their gender. Still, this does non compromise Bronte ‘s sleight in portraying realistic and sceptered female characters seeking for autonomy within the patriarchal barriers.
One may impute this to Bronte ‘s realistic orientations in her authorship. Bronte is cognizant of all the dimensions of the environing adult females in society and acknowledges the necessity of matrimony for the adult female to be accepted within its parametric quantities. That is why the matrimony instance in each novel seems to be more of a societal responsibility that each adult female has to execute as prescribed by the patriarchal society. In this sense, instead than set uping her female supporters as ideal and instead impossible theoretical accounts for adult females to follow, Bronte constructs them as a voice that calls for oppugning the position quo of adult females. In other word, Bronte ‘s message in the both novels is non to name for an impossible revolution to go on ; instead, it is a call for thought and rethinking of the suffering state of affairs of adult females in the Victorian patriarchal society and advancing an action based on the world of the state of affairs. Bronte herself declared that her purpose was to “ state the truth ” instead than prosecute with “ soft bunk ” ( Bronte, Tenant 15 ) .
Shaw, Marion. “ Anne Bronte: A Quiet Feminist. ” Bronte Society Transactions. 21 ( 1994 ) : 125-135.
Bronte, Anne. Agnes Grey. London: The Folio Society. MCMXCI, 1998.
— – . The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The Folio Society. MCMXCI, 1998.
Jansson, Siv. “ The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Rejecting the Angel ‘s Influence. ” Women of Faith in Victorian Culture: Reassessing the Angel in the House. Ed. Anne Hogan. New York: St. Martin ‘s, 1998.
Clapp, Alisa. “ The Tenant of Patriarchal Culture: Anne Bronte ‘s Problematic Female Artist. ” Michigan Academician 28.2 ( March 1996 ) : 113-22.