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Love, Fate and the Wild Spirit – An In-Depth Analysis of Relationships in the Works of the Brontë Sisters

It’s not the same from the wasteland

From childhood, the three Bronte sisters liked to read or whisper in the “children’s study” upstairs, or go out for a walk hand in hand. The place where they live is in a desolate and remote wasteland area. As described by the three Bronte sisters: “Looking up, there is a field on both sides of the path, but no cattle and sheep grazing.” “In winter, the most charming thing here is the quiet and yellow leaves. “The wilderness is nature in nature, with single landforms, simple tones, wide vision, sparsely populated, strong winds and cold air in winter, and is a symbol of opposition to man-made civilization. It is this unique scenery of the wilderness that opens and releases the infinite imagination of the three sisters. They take the deserted wilderness as their closest lover, as a place for them to murmur and whisper. The wilderness has become their spiritual stronghold, a place that is difficult to leave all their lives, which has had an immeasurable impact on their characters and creations. At the same time, they also endowed the natural wilderness with profound humanistic connotations, and created wonderful flowers of female awakening with their pens.

The childhood of the three Bronte sisters was full of poignant experiences—death, parting, illness, and without maternal love, they never had a peaceful life. The childhood life of the three Bronte sisters can be divided into two parts, one part is spent in an atmosphere of absolute freedom in the wilderness, and the other part is spent in a closed and small pastor’s house.
In the pastor’s house, they enjoy a certain degree of freedom, and the control is not very strict. As long as they finish the chores at home without disturbing the adults around them, they can be free. Under such circumstances, the three sisters are naturally a little pathologically introverted and even closed when they grow up, but at the same time they have a distinct sense of independence. They agreed that no matter how much it costs, they must live independently, and they must not be a burden to others, either financially or emotionally.
“Wuthering Heights” written by Emily unfolds in this wasteland. She left her hometown a total of four times in her life, and each time she left was a painful journey. She died young, and the information handed down does not show that she had any love experience, but under her born lonely and reticent character, there is a distorted and huge explosive power hidden. In “Wuthering Heights”, the hysteria between Catherine and Heathcliff is the surging inner truth that she cannot conceal. This is a heart that wants to resist but is wavering.

Emily rarely contacts with the outside world and loves the character of the wilderness environment. On the surface, it is difficult to explain why she has such passionate creations, but in fact there is a reverse logical relationship. It is Emily’s nature to be alone. Although living in isolation objectively limits the scope of her life, it also has its positive side. Where direct experience is sorely lacking, personal imagination and emotional power make up for it.
Emily’s character is hidden as Charlotte said. In daily life, people only see her silence and calmness, but the more monotonous and depressing her life, the more indulgent and even bizarre her fantasy world will be. . No matter compared with Charlotte and Anne, or with works of other female writers at the same time, Emily’s creations are wilder and more extreme, embodying the beauty of passion and power.
Emily herself is a man of wild emotion. However, the living environment in the parsonage and her education did not allow her passion to flow freely, so the passion was suppressed deep in her heart, but no matter how suppressed, once she found a release point, the passion would always burst out from the heart. The novel is her only release point. On this level, the three sisters are roughly the same, and Emily is the most typical.

Emily’s imagination has pagan characteristics, full of wild and uninhibited characteristics, and exudes a modernist atmosphere ahead of time. But Anne’s imagination is limited by the reality she observes and her religious beliefs. Anne and Emily also wrote “The Islander” together, and most of their passion came from the wild world they shared, the uninhabited and isolated world of freedom. Annie and Emily have a great love for nature.
Alan Nassi recounts her first visit to Haworth when she walked on the moor with the Bronte sisters and Branwell: “Once upon a time we walked a long way in the moor, Come to a place that Emily and Annie know well. They call it ‘The Stream’s Confluence.’ It’s a small oasis of green turf, with clear trickling springs here and there, and a few big rocks for Rest; here we sit, cut off from the whole world, seeing nothing but the heather, the blue sky, and the bright sun.”

The wilderness is obviously their spiritual home, the only place in the world where they can move freely without restraint. To leave here, even within the same country, is an intolerable exile. Apart from the wilderness, Anne’s favorite is the Scarborough seaside where she goes on vacation with the Robinson family every year. When she knew her life was coming to an end, she decided to go there and persuaded Charlotte and Ellen to send her there.
Acheng in “Agnes Grey” is based on Scarborough. From Agnes Gray’s description of seaside walks, we can easily understand the comfortable feeling that this asthmatic girl enjoys on the summer seaside: “Walking on the beach, my face is radiant, my body and mind Pleasant and full of energy. I forget all my troubles and feel as if my feet have wings and I can walk at least 40 miles tirelessly. I feel a joy that I have never felt since my childhood.”
true or stubborn

Whether it is “Wuthering Heights” or “Jane Eyre”, love runs through it all. They carry the love of Catherine and Heathcliff or Jane Eyre and Rochester. In “Jane Eyre”, the love between Jane and Rochester is so tender and lingering; while in “Wuthering Heights”, the love between Catherine and Heathcliff is so primitive and wild. They belong to the same type of people, full of passion, daring to love, dare to hate, and dare to act. They oppose traditional marriage and despise social customs, and they all win each other’s love with frankness and straightforwardness.
How many years have passed, Jane and Catherine’s oath of love has always lingered in the ears and hearts of readers: “I love him not because he is handsome, but because he is more like myself than I am, no matter what our souls are. It’s made, his is the same as mine.” From Catherine’s words, it can be seen that the love in the Bronte sisters’ works comes from the original love of life and the love full of original vitality, abandoning all external utilitarianism and The pure love of inner sensuality. The heroine’s bold pursuit of love and expression of love is so bold and fresh in the Victorian patriarchal England at that time.

The gothic romance in “Wuthering Heights” made it difficult for most readers at that time to agree that the love between Catherine and Heathcliff was the love between men and women in the usual sense. Conversely, it is hard to imagine that the emotion between Catherine and Heathcliff could lead them to a harmonious married life. Nineteenth-century readers accustomed to romantic or moral love could not understand the wild love in Wuthering Heights: when Catherine was about to die, the pair of lovers blamed each other and hurt each other mercilessly; The heroine, who not only has no regrets, but still faces her own doom with the previous stubbornness and pride.
Emily Brontë seems to be in love with this kind of love. Before creating “Wuthering Heights”, she co-created the story of the Gondal dynasty with her brother Brunwell. Gondal’s story is completely invented by Emily, and readers can see Julius who has the same vengeful spirit as Heathcliff, and Alfred who suffers from love betrayal like Linton. The protagonist’s fate best explains Emily’s definition of love: love is accompanied by hate and regret.

The relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff may be described as “abusive love”. Unruly temperament and determination to do whatever it takes is part of Catherine’s nature, as she confides to Nelly that Heathcliff is “more like myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are exactly the same” at the same time, but chose to marry Edgar; frustrated love largely inspired Heathcliff’s 17-year hatred. After Heathcliff disappeared for three years, he returned to Catherine’s life, and soon ignited her inner passion for Heathcliff. However, she is not hypocritical, she loves both Edgar and Heathcliff, but in different ways. She is true to her wedding vows, but this does not prevent her from keeping a close spiritual connection with Heathcliff. However, Catherine abandoned Heathcliff, and as a result, her soul wandered between heaven and hell, until Heathcliff conquered the human world and got a spiritual union with her, her soul was relying on.

In “Wuthering Heights”, Catherine dared to admit Heathcliff’s emotional consistency and soul compatibility with him. The Catherine portrayed by Emily is undoubtedly a female image beyond the times. On the one hand, she longs for the idea of ​​equal status with men; on the other hand, her ignorance, ignorance and vanity make her betray Heathcliff love. Catherine violated the will of the soul, succumbed to the temptation of the material, made a naive decision, and realized the alienation of the self by mistake and initiative: exchanging her own existence for material wealth. Her muddled decision has devastating consequences: she wants to have Heathcliff’s fiery and original love, but also wants to win the admiration of the vain upper class status, and her biggest contradiction is that the two cannot have both , so in the end it can only end with tearing oneself apart.

Similarly, in “Jane Eyre”, Rochester’s first marriage was also due to the greed of his father and elder brother to ingest material life, which led to an arranged marriage. Rochester married Bertha Mason As a wife, the tragic image of the madwoman in the attic came into being, and it also became an unavoidable problem between her and Jane Eyre. Charlotte consciously shaped the image of Jane Eyre as an ordinary-looking, ordinary-born image . In a patriarchal society, appearance is the standard for evaluating women, and women are judged by their dress and origin, ignoring women’s personality. independent personality. And Jane Eyre conquered Rochester by virtue of her personality charm.

Jane Eyre and Rochester were heart-to-heart, eager to obtain an equal state, and did not underestimate Rochester’s property, nor did she become attached to him because of it, but boldly declared that even after marriage, family The identity of a teacher exists, and he gets his salary by his own labor on a monthly basis. At the same time, he reprimands Georgiana for her attachment psychology: “You are not like a person, a rational person should live for yourself, and live for yourself. to live by yourself, to live by yourself, and to chain your weakness to another’s strength; and if no one would burden himself with such a fat, cowardly, vain, useless thing, cry out that you are Ill-treat, ignore, and say you are unfortunate.” And using Rochester’s mouth, he also criticized the kind of love that only stays above the flesh: “You wander around, looking for peace in wandering, Finding pleasure in life—I mean a life of debauchery where there is no love but only lust—he dulls your mind and withers your emotions. ”
Carnal desire is different from spiritual desire. Carnal desire can only give people short-term pleasure, but not spiritual sinking. Especially when it is above marriage, carnal desire cannot become a carrier to maintain marriage.
Through “Jane Eyre”, Charlotte created a female image that is very different from traditional literature, and explained her own love view through Jane’s love view and love experience: in love, women should be equal to men. Equality should be reflected in many aspects such as spirit and personality. Women should be independent and free individuals, and should not exist dependent on men. When looking for a partner, you should abandon those worldly visions, don’t judge people by their appearance, and you should not judge people by money, but should look for a partner based on the combination of talent and spirit.

Charlotte Brontë’s manuscripts are said to be crooked and illegible. Charlotte herself admitted in her diary that her eyes were closed when she created. Accordingly, she is considered a trance-writer, intoxicated and romantic. This is easily reminiscent of the scene in “Jane Eyre” where the hero and the heroine directly conflict. It happened when Jane Eyre resolutely announced that she would leave Thornfield Manor after she found out that Mr. Rochester had a wife. intense exchanges. Mr. Rochester’s hysterical retention, Jane Eyre’s calm but stubborn answer, this kind of equal and direct confrontation and communication between men and women is not uncommon in today’s literary works and film and television works, but in the early 19th century Britain, but it is almost deviant description.
In terms of expression, Charlotte Bronte swept away the false style of rhetoric in classical aristocratic literature, and her descriptions were concise, accurate and vivid. She and her two equally outstanding sisters played the strong voice of Romantic literature in the first half of the 19th century with a Yorkshire accent, announcing the complete difference between female writers and classicism. At the same time, the feminist position manifested in his works deeply influenced feminist literature in the 20th century.

The love in “Jane Eyre” is highly subjective, which is a distinctive feature of romantic literature. Cinderella-like love stories were the preference of European writers at that time. Charlotte Bronte was unique in that she wrote it completely from the standpoint of women, and this woman was an advocate of independence and pursuit of equality. Awakened, so “Jane Eyre” got the attention of people at the time when it was published. The family teacher with a humble background but a strong character is a common protagonist in Charlotte’s works. In fact, the protagonists of the other three of Charlotte Bronte’s four works all have similar personalities and identities.
In addition to “Shirley”, the heroines of “Jane Eyre”, “Teacher” and “Villette” also have their shadows of Charlotte. She endowed the heroines in “Jane Eyre” and “Teacher” with romance and poetry, while Lucy Snow in the autobiographical work “Villette” walks more on the rough road of reality, showing calm and restraint , although the emotional appeal is slightly weakened, it has a profound “reality”.
From this dimension, the influence of “Villette” on modern women’s novels is not lower than that of “Jane Eyre”. If there is a certain interactive relationship between Duras’s “The Lover” and “Jane Eyre”, then the spiritual temperament presented by Simone Beauvoir’s works can be traced back to “Vaullette”. Like The Teacher, the scene of “Villette” is set in a boarding school in a foreign land. British contemporary researcher Miriam Allot once commented: “It lacks the unity of taste and strict prohibition that make Jane Eyre so moving; but it The product of a mind more aware of its own strength.” “It eliminates the melodrama in it, and it is more calm and self-possessed.” “Vaullette” does not have the richness of Jane Eyre, and it is more like a The self-cultivation of the heroine is obviously closer to the real Charlotte.

This is more reflective of Charlotte’s cool after her ordeal in Brussels. In 1842, Charlotte and Emily came to Brussels together, and met Mr. Herge, a man who would have an impact on her life for the next ten years. Charlotte fell in love with this married man irresistibly. After returning to England, she still expressed her admiration to Mr. Heiger by letters twice a week, even though he hardly responded. Meanwhile, facing the proposal of her admirer, Charlotte is unwilling to sell her soul and marry her. Therefore, the heroine Lucy Snow in “Villette” is closer to her in real life: the open ending of the story does not make it clear whether the heroine Snow and Emmanuel will finally get married, and the real life Charlotte’s painful unrequited love also ended without a problem.
Anne’s “The Lodger” can be regarded as the first manifesto of the “Women’s Liberation Movement”. It takes a pair of completely inappropriate Byronic marriages as the theme, and describes the heroine Helen Huntington who was forced to leave her vicious husband, demanding the right to live independently, and successfully becoming self-reliant. More adventurous, It was she who absconded with her son.

Such a description not only impacted the moral norms of the society at that time, but also ignored the national laws at that time. You know, in 1848, women as wives, especially legitimate children, were absolutely at the mercy of their husbands. May Sinclair wrote in 1913: Helen Huntington shuts her husband in her bedroom, which reverberated throughout Victorian England. She points out that both the heroine and her odious husband are responsible for their unhappy marriage. Though young, charming, and courageous, Helen was self-righteous, and, like Annabelle Mircobain before her, thought herself capable of reforming a prodigal son, and therefore, without any advice, concluded an unfortunate marriage. Huntington, though unlike Byron, walks with swagger, drives a carriage like a madman, believes in his vigor for the opposite sex, and spends his life utterly self-indulgent. He lacks the minimum moral stamina to refrain from self-indulgence. However, for Anne’s “The Lodger”, Charlotte Brontë openly declared that she did not like it.
Ups and downs of fate and love

The love described by the three Bronte sisters is closely linked with fate. This close relationship between love and destiny begins in the wilderness. In the purely natural place of the wilderness, natural life is activated and cultivated, and love, as an inner thing of life, finds the best habitat for development in the wilderness.
Therefore, love and destiny can maintain the original pure relationship in the wasteland. In this way, we can understand: the heroine of Anne’s “Grey” always meets the person she likes, Mr. Weston, in the field, and produces the rhythm of love; Jane Eyre and Rochester’s Thornfield Manor are surrounded by a vast Surrounded by the wilderness, their stories are stained with the gloomy color of the wilderness; after Heathcliff’s death, he finally accompanied Catherine’s soul to wander in the wilderness, creating a severe and fierce atmosphere.

There is an interesting scene in the second half of “Wuthering Heights”. Miss Catherine, the next generation of the hero and heroine, and Master Linton are also arranged to date in the wasteland. To appease him, love with a magical color is forgiven in the wilderness. It is related to the living environment of the characters. Love and fate present the most authentic connection in the wilderness. There is a pulling thread of love hidden inside the fate of the characters, and the power of love is at stake.
In the literary world of the three Bronte sisters, none of the protagonists is not because of the ups and downs of the fate of love. All their motives for behavior, the deepest pain and greatest yearning in their lives are all born of love. Love is the driving force behind destiny and the cause of all stories, directly determining the life direction and story direction of the male and female protagonists in the works. In the remote and desolate Yorkshire Moors, the hero and heroine meet by chance or grow up together. They are connected with each other and are closely related. It is like a mysterious life sensor installed in each other. The change of one person’s life state affects the change of the other. This connection of love and destiny is firmly formed as long as they meet, and that momentary encounter determines a lifetime.

In “Jane Eyre”, the heroine was dependent on others and lived in society. Her destiny was influenced by the social system of the Victorian period in England, which is regarded as a social life. Once she meets Rochester at Thornfield Manor, her fate will be transferred into the individual mind, inseparable from this man and from this manor. The twists and turns of her life after that were all related to the living conditions of this man. Love affects the fate of the heroine everywhere, even if they are thousands of miles away. There is a plot in the novel, Jane Eyre left the manor in grief, and met her cousin St. John to propose marriage. Just as she was about to make a decision, she seemed to hear the call of Rochester in the wilderness, so she returned to the manor. Rochester’s side. Why did such a miraculous thing happen? Because love has penetrated deeply into the path of an individual’s destiny, her destiny seems uncontrollable, but love leads her to a definite destination, whether it is going to a desperate situation or rebirth after death.
In Emily’s “Wuthering Heights”, Catherine expressed her love for Heathcliff who grew up together: “I am Heathcliff, and he is always in my heart-not as a A kind of joy, just like I can’t always be my own joy, but because he is my own existence.” Catherine and Heathcliff are friends who grew up together, and spent their childhood in the moor. A carefree childhood is a process of overlapping and assimilating life.

During this period of time, a life-related state has been formed in which there is me in you and you in me, that is, a state of innate closeness in life. They all have the original vitality endowed by the wilderness, and they are a natural pair, even after the intervention and oppression of social and secular forces after adulthood, they cannot be changed. Therefore, when Heathcliff left, Catherine, who was happy, carefree and self-willed, became dull, sick and insane. When Heathcliff came back for the last time, Catherine, who had regained her vitality, was insane again, unable to recover, and paid her own life for love. Every insanity is when love and fate come to a turning point. At this time, love reaches the melting point of incandescent light like an electric welding, and life is facing burning and melting. This is also Catherine’s inevitable ending. In the face of love, she has no choice in her life.

And Heathcliff was born for Catherine. The external force of society separates them, but they cannot separate their fate. Catherine is married to someone else, and Heathcliff’s whole purpose in life is to get Catherine back. Under the catalysis of love, the legend of life appeared, and a force similar to a kind of dark matter exploded, forming Heathcliff’s distorted character and surly behavior. He wanted to destroy all external forces that took away his love, Ultimately a soulful encounter with the one you love. Before Heathcliff died, he suddenly became tender and gentle, and love returned to him like a flash of light. For many years, Catherine was everywhere in Heathcliff’s life field. He said: “I looked down at the flagstone floor of the house, and her face would appear on the flagstone. On every cloud, In every tree—in the night air, in the day—whatever my eye falls, I see her, and her image surrounds me.” He was not an evil man , It was love that changed him. During most of his life, he did not have any joy in life, and all his actions were for his Catherine, and love became the ultimate force to dominate his destiny.

Although they all embody a distinct awareness of women’s awakening, the three Bronte sisters are different in degree. Charlotte turned from classicism to love expression combining romanticism and realism. Her style is always clear and upward. Later, the Chinese poetess Shu Ting’s “To the Oak Tree” can be regarded as an excellent footnote and highlight of this style. respond.
And Anne’s attention to the negative scene of love and her bolder and more straightforward description can be regarded as a transitional link between Charlotte and Emily. Emily penetrates deeper into women’s spiritual world than her sister, and also presents the essence of love between men and women more deeply. Her writing style is extreme, far beyond the acceptance of that era. In this sense, “Wuthering Heights” directly spans a century, and it is a modernist novel written in the form of romanticism. Its intensity of emotional torture, and its realistic description of the psychological deformation of the characters made the later Duras and Beauvoir eclipsed.

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