The Bronte Sisters
Three children sit in a circle playing with wooden toy soldiers. The world these children play in is not Earth, but worlds of their own creating. The children in this circle will grow up to be some of the best eighteenth century writers.
It is no surprise that as a child Emily Bronte and her siblings had active imaginations. They created the worlds of Gondal, Emily and Anne’s creation; and Angria, Charlotte’s creation (White 12). The world does not know much about Emily Bronte except what can be concluded from Charlotte Bronte’s autobiography (Winnitrith 111).
She was born July 30, 1818 in Yorkshire, England. At the young age of thirty, Emily developed tuberculosis and died on December 19, 1848 (Magill 56). Her potential had yet to be reached. C. D. Merriman from The Literature Network said, “Many early works from her past were lost – only 3 personal letters exist from her possessions. ” Emily was influenced by many people including her mother and father. Her father, Reverend Patrick Bronte, was a school teacher (Magill 56). Patrick Bronte had a humble beginning; he went to Cambridge University and worked in order to pay for his stay.
Her father was looked down upon for being middle class in a high-class school. Emily’s stories feature a strong value of education and deal with injustices of society, which is believed to have originated from her father’s troubles. (White 8) “Emily’s mother, Maria Bronte died from internal cancer when Emily was only three,” according to The Victorian Web (Allingham). Kathryn White said, “The Bronte children felt the loss of their mother keenly, for though they never really remembered her.
Her absence in their lives is reflected in the number of orphaned and motherless children who were featured in their early writings and novels. ”(21) Despite the fact Emily never knew her mother; she characterized Catherine Earnshaw as having a similar sentiment about being more attached to the earth than to Heaven. (White 19). In November 1824, Patrick Bronte felt that his daughters needed a proper education so he sent his girls to Clergy’s Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge. This school was rigid, had poor hygiene, and lack of a good diet.
He withdrew his girls after Maria and Elizabeth died from inadequate care. Although Emily had a poor experience at school, education became an escape route in many of Emily’s writings (White 5-25). Emily, Charlotte, Anne, and Branwell grew up in Haworth. They didn’t have many neighbors so they had to be content playing with each other and the wooden soldiers their father brought back from a trip (Magill 56). Charlotte and her brother, Branwell created the world of Angria. Emily and Anne Bronte created the world of Gondal.
Traces of Gondal have been found throughout Emily’s poems (White 6-34). Philip Allingham reports that Emily’s favorite activities were reading and playing the piano. The Victorian Web states her favorite authors were: Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil, and Aesop. As Emily grew up she worked as a governess in Halifax, Yorkshire. She intensely disliked the experience. She planned with Anne and Charlotte to begin a school for themselves. This dream was never realized because the girls became involved in writing.
Barring the fact that Emily Bronte was a private author, her sister Charlotte convinced her to join her and Anne to make a book of poems. Together they made Poems by Currer Ellis and Acton in 1846 (White 38). As an editor, C. W. Hatfield went through Emily’s poems trying to interpret them. The problems arise when trying to figure out the differences between her subjective statements. In addition, the authorship and date is uncertain as well (Winnitrith 33). Poems by Currer Ellise and Acton didn’t get much press, but got two favorable reviews from Athenaeum and Dublin University Magazine (Wilks 111).
Philip Allingham writes, “Emily and her sisters took over pseudonyms to hide their gender because of the many prejudices against women authors. The failure of their poems did not dishearten the girls; it made them write even more which lead Emily to write her best novel, Wuthering Heights. ” It is assumed the Wuthering Heights was written in 1846 because of the absence of poetry Emily wrote, yet the length of the novel suggests she started writing even earlier than that.
The information that we have about the composition of Wuthering Heights is up to debate because it is in Charlotte’s interpretation and she could have been sensitive about Emily’s choice to go on her own (Winnitrith 47). After the publication of Wuthering Heights in 1847 the public thought it was mimicry of Charlotte’s work. The public was intensely disturbed by the contents and Emily was a cipher to the public (Magill 56-59). “Emily’s brother, Branwell went through depression and many alcohol induced rages.
As a result, he died in 1848, and at his funeral Emily caught a cold and developed tuberculosis,” as said by C. D. Merriman from The Literature Network. Emily did not receive professional care and refused to stay in bed to get well. She died at Haworth in December 19, 1848 (White 75). When Emily Bronte was young she played with toy soldiers in the world named Gondal with her siblings. Today she is known as one of the famed Bronte sisters that created desolate Wuthering Heights. Though much is unknown about her, we can try to uncover the mysteries through her writings.