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review 2018-12-02 10:44
Juxtaposing of Characters: "Agnes Grey" by Anne Brontë
Agnes Grey - Anne Brontë



(Original Review, 1981-02-06)



I read "Agnes Grey" after a visit to the Mosteiros dos Jerónimos, supposing I ought to try the lesser known sister after reading so much of Charlotte's work and of course “Wuthering Heights.” What a wonderful surprise. Anne had me at "...she would rather live in a cottage with Richard Grey than in a palace with any other man in the world."

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-02 10:29
Plinky Plonky: "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by Anne Brontë
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë



(Original Review, 1981-02-04)


“The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” has received a lot of scholarly attention more recently, it has various depths beyond the exploration of domestic violence. She was partly not appreciated because her sister openly and strongly disagreed with the subject matter of the novel and prevented republication after Anne's death which left the novel behind somewhat.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-22 20:09
On Spousal Abuse
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

Ok. Anne is my favourite Brontë now, hands down. Her social commentary was decades before the times opinions and all around relevant still (sadly for the most part).

 

There is nothing over the top or sensational here. There is a lot of spousal abuse and neglect going around, but the fact that it's not violently brutal is like the last cherry in a way. We have this mentality that abuse is really abuse only if it surpasses a certain level (good God, that sentence gives me the creeps), and this book spits in that (in a very lady like way) and calls it for what it is: unsustainable and inexcusable. There are several instances where different men try spout a variety of rationalizations, shifting of the blame or deferred promises of change. They are all classics and shudder inducing because... well, because they not only try to fool the women, but fool themselves. They actually believe they are not that bad.

 

"Not that bad" could actually be some kind of abusive anthem. One that this books seems to have taken arms to pulverize, and my kudos to it.

 

The other thing that is done marvelously is the depiction of how precarious the abused one's position is. Even beyond the context of the restrictions of the times. As the neglect started, and I could envision it getting worse, I had this terrible anxiety over how dependent these women are. It was nerve-wreaking, and it had a point: after accepting it is not right, that pride is not worth bearing it, that there are reasons to escape (oh, and there is another interesting bit: that she can not do it for herself, but raises the courage to protect her son), you need help. This is perfect. So well done, and again, so forward thinking. That one is something that still escapes many when judging an abused spouse.

 

Character wise, I had some issues with Helen's over-piety, but I get where that fits too: here is this paragon of virtue; she leaves her husband. In a time where that was terrible disgrace, maybe excused but not pardoned for the height of brutality, it threw in the face of everyone reading that a woman so estranged may very well be in the right. Besides, I imagine she might have the need to rely even more on religion and found solace there under her circumstances. I thought her judgmental and dismissive of others counsel too, but that works too, because not only brings her to her marriage, but carries her through it, with both proclivities magnified I imagine.

 

Gilbert sounded so painfully young to me the whole book. I don't quite feel the romance there, except to imagine that to her he is ultimately so harmless. Which... OK, I totally get.

 

Beyond the overarching theme, there a lot of things addressed to provoke thought, if all the bits I quoted as I progressed didn't make it obvious, so it's really a book to own, and savour, and take a pencil to (I'm such a savage).

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text 2018-08-21 13:13
Reading progress update: I've read 650 out of 878 pages.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

He peeked at her diary

 

*whimper*

 

Hell, we know where we are a couple years later, and still

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text 2018-08-21 01:30
Reading progress update: I've read 467 out of 878 pages.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

My poor father died last week: Arthur was vexed to hear of it, because he saw that I was shocked and grieved, and he feared the circumstance would mar his comfort.

 

When I thought that him being jealous of the baby was the height of selfishness, here comes this, and all the following conversation. Christ

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