What was I created for?

What was I created for?

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 hate and misery

Of hate and misery

Bronte has a sometimes arresting pithiness, and here she provides an explanation for the hatred underlying riots and machine wrecking in the early decades of the 19th century when the Industrial Revolution was picking up pace.  The novel captures a period when...
An awakened influence

An awakened influence

Charlotte Bronte describes the spirit of writing when it flows. This happens to me occasionally, and I’ve noticed you can’t wait for it before writing. It comes of its own volition but only once you start. It also makes you wonder if writers are as much...
Wave-girt land

Wave-girt land

A little old-fashioned, this ‘girt’, but still an unexpected way to speak of an island, focusing more on its surrounding sea than its sea-proud land. ‘A splendid midsummer shone over England: skies so pure, suns so radiant as were then seen in long...
Gold-ringed eyes

Gold-ringed eyes

Jane Eyre’s curious aquiline simile to describe the blinded eyes of the man she loves. ‘The caged eagle, whose gold-ringed eyes cruelty has extinguished, might look as looked that sightless Samson.’    Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre...
Outlandish-looking grammar

Outlandish-looking grammar

Although I’ve managed to master a couple of foreign languages, outlandish-looking grammar has so far stymied my repeated, and repeatedly failed, attempts to learn German beyond anything but the most passive reading capability.Here, a highly dutiful,...
Another long letter

Another long letter

Those were the days when conversations at a distance had to be committed to paper, and I like Bronte’s preparation for writing a long letter on the grounds that the addressee’s own letter caught her interest. Along with one of my brothers, I am on a...
Deep-thrilling chord

Deep-thrilling chord

Jane Eyre knows Rochester has been emotionally overloaded and hesitates to add any more weight to his burdened heart. ‘I wished to touch no deep-thrilling chord – to open no fresh well of emotion in his heart.’   Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane...
Sand-traced effigy

Sand-traced effigy

Thoughts are intangible and yet can prove more indelible than things physically wrought. The idea of a sandy effigy effaced by storms reminds me also of advice often heard from someone I love: that when someone says something hurtful, you treat it like words written...
Hill-sent echo

Hill-sent echo

An inexplicable and even supernatural moment in the book that proves a turning point, snapping Jane out of her acquiescence to a situation she manifestly doesn’t want.  The hill-sent echo is like a calling. She duly responds.   ‘”Where are...
Life-giving elixir

Life-giving elixir

These fine-minded sisters come into an inheritance adequate to free them from having to face the economic implications of remaining unmarried.  Now their spirits can expand to fill the space they were born to.  I liked the combination of ingredients in their...
Fairy-like fingers

Fairy-like fingers

Mr. Rochester falls in love with Jane: her excellent mind and independent spirit, as well as her petite proportions, here evoked in his ring-promises. ‘… and I will clasp the bracelets on these fine wrists, and load these fairy-like fingers with...
Light-footed running

Light-footed running

One of the qualities Rochester loves and admires in Jane is her uprightness.  While willing to help him in any way she can, he knows she wouldn’t lift one of her fairy-like fingers if he asked her to do something she thought wrong. As he learns when she walks...
As serene as …

As serene as …

A novel image for serenity. Use it next time you are describing someone or something serene. ‘He was serene as glass.’   Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (London: Bounty Books, 2012 (1847)), p. 518 Photo credit: MichaelGaida at...

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