A widely asked question, surely. Here it is one of the key protagonists of Bronte’s Shirley, the heroine Caroline. Curiously, although the novel is named after her friend, the fine and sprightly Shirley, Caroline takes up at least as much of the book and all of the first half – Shirley doesn’t appear until about page 164.
I won’t tell you whether she finds the answer.
The novel examines, among other things, the role of women from more genteel backgrounds, or rather, their frequent lack of options, and the inevitable frustration of their talents.
“What was I created for? I wonder. Where is my place in the world?”
Source: Charlotte Bronte, Shirley (London: Collins, 1968), p. 149
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