LM Montgomery on Charlotte Bronte

“It is customary to regret Charlotte Bronte’s death as premature. I doubt it. I doubt if she would have added to her literary fame. Resplendent as her genius was, it had a narrow range. I think she reached its limit. She could not have gone on forever writing ‘Jane Eyres’ and ‘Villette’s’ and there was nothing in her life and experience to fit her for writing anything else…

There was a marked masochistic strain in Charlotte Bronte — revealing itself mentally, not physically. This accounts for Rochester. He was exactly the tyrant a woman with such a strain in her would have loved, delighting in the pain he inflicted in on her.” [Note from Sheila: Hmm. Yes, Rochester in ‘Jane Eyre’ was a wack-job, and mean, and scary, and he had that strange little cross-dressing incident, yet by the end of the book, I COMPLETELY have fallen in love with him. I have a masochistic strain, I guess.] “And this same tendency was the cause of her cruelty to Lucy Snowe — who was herself. She persecutes Lucy Snowe all through ‘Villette’ and drowns her lover rather than let the poor soul have a chance at happiness. I can’t forgive Charlotte Bronte for killing off Paul Emmanuel. I don’t know whether I like Lucy Snowe or not — but I am always consumed with pity for and sympathy with her, whereas Charlotte delights in tormenting her — a sort of spiritual vicarous self-flagellation.”

Damn, that is quite an analysis.

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