illustrated portrait of English author Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

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How would you describe Charlotte Bronte's style as a novelist?

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Charlotte Bronte, along with her sisters Emily and Anne, achieved success in the literary world despite the obstacles of genteel poverty, the provinical community in which they lived, and the solitude and loneliness of the Yorkshire moors. An imaginative woman with great strength of character, Charlotte Bronte, much like her character of Jane Eyre, possessed the moral courage to confront and surmount the obstacles in the way of her success, such as the patriarchal society in which she lived. Indeed, she is best known for her novel Jane Eyre in which a young, passionate woman faces all the challenges of her difficult life and succeeds in overcoming the sorrows and painful experiences in her existence and achieves her sense of self.  Her novel also criticizes the lack of opportunities open to educated, but impoverished women, and it criticizes the Victorian idea that women should confine themselves to

making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.

Jane's passionate desire for a life filled with more avenues, her disdain for convention, and her need to be loved reflect the nature of her author.  Her gloomy hero, Mr. Rochester, representing masculine strength and tenderness, is a Byronic hero, in tune with Miss Bronte's Romantic tendencies. 

As an author, Charlotte Bronte thus brought to English literature an intensely personal voice.  And, because in her works a woman makes statements about issues of concern to other women, such as self-development, the tensions between sexual desires and social confinements, the conflicts between love and independence, and other emotional tensions in a woman's life, Bronte is appreciated as one of the first feminist writers.  Her contributions to the Gothic genre must also be noted as she employed the fairly conventional dark, brooding Thornfield mansion and the Byronic Fairfax Rochester in a most original and more dimensional tale.

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