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- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
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- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
For the present, I could only resent the insult by pressing my foot upon his toes, deferring further vengeance till we got out of church. But her eyes — I must not forget those remarkable features, for therein her chief attraction lay — in outward aspect at least; — they were long and narrow in shape, the irids black, or very dark brown, the expression various, and ever changing, but always either preternaturally — I had almost said diabolically — wicked, or irresistibly bewitching — often both.
Her voice was gentle and childish, her tread light and soft as that of a cat:— but her manners more frequently resembled those of a pretty playful kitten, that is now pert and roguish, now timid and demure, according to its own sweet will.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Wikipedia
Her sister, Mary, was several years older, several inches taller, and of a larger, coarser build — a plain, quiet, sensible girl, who had patiently nursed their mother, through her last long, tedious illness, and been the housekeeper, and family drudge, from thence to the present time. She was trusted and valued by her father, loved and courted by all dogs, cats, children, and poor people, and slighted and neglected by everybody else.
The Reverend Michael Millward himself was a tall, ponderous elderly gentleman, who placed a shovel hat above his large, square, massive-featured face, carried a stout walking-stick in his hand, and incased his still powerful limbs in knee-breeches and gaiters, — or black silk stockings on state occasions.
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
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He was a man of fixed principles, strong prejudices, and regular habits, intolerant of dissent in any shape, acting under a firm conviction that his opinions were always right, and whoever differed from them must be either most deplorably ignorant, or wilfully blind. I will just touch upon two other persons whom I have mentioned, and then bring this long letter to a close.
These are Mrs. Wilson and her daughter. The former was the widow of a substantial farmer, a narrow-minded, tattling old gossip, whose character is not worth describing. Their sister Jane was a young lady of some talents, and more ambition. She had, at her own desire, received a regular boarding-school education, superior to what any member of the family had obtained before. She was considered a beauty besides; but never for a moment could she number me amongst her admirers. She was about six and twenty, rather tall and very slender, her hair was neither chestnut nor auburn, but a most decided bright, light red; her complexion was remarkably fair and brilliant, her head small, neck long, chin well turned, but very short, lips thin and red, eyes clear hazel, quick, and penetrating, but entirely destitute of poetry or feeling.
She had, or might have had, many suitors in her own rank of life, but scornfully repulsed or rejected them all; for none but a gentleman could please her refined taste, and none but a rich one could satisfy her soaring ambition. One gentleman there was, from whom she had lately received some rather pointed attentions, and upon whose heart, name, and fortune, it was whispered, she had serious designs.
This was Mr. Lawrence, the young squire, whose family had formerly occupied Wildfell Hall, but had deserted it, some fifteen years ago, for a more modern and commodious mansion in the neighbouring parish.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
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Production details Running Time: Zip file size: Download cover art Download CD case insert. This book can be read as a straight-up gothic romance novel — will the mysterious beautiful woman in the rundown mansion marry the gentleman farmer who adores her? The first section of Tenant is told from the point of view of Gilbert, a gentleman farmer. The woman is reclusive and refuses to discuss her past, but Gilbert bonds with her over his affection for her son and over his interest in her painting.
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They fall in love, but cannot be together because Helen has a Dark and Troubled Past. She is not actually a widow — she has run away from her alcoholic husband. Most of the remainder of the book is told in the form of her diary entries from when she first meets her husband-to-be up through when she makes her escape. This book is very much a deconstruction of the idea that a flawed hero can be saved by the love of a good woman.
As soon as she meets Arthur the shitty husband , Helen is warned over and over again that he is not a good man to marry, but she is convinced that she will be able to steady him, impart good sense and good morals, and change his carousing ways.
Surprise — this does not work. For starters, Wuthering Heights is not a romance and the reader is not supposed to think of Heathcliff as a romantic hero. After some years of horrendous abuse, she ends up fleeing across the moors with her child in the dead of night and living out the rest of her life in hiding while Heathcliff rages on, just as shitty as he was before. Jane is tormented by wondering if she should stay, but she also believes that her own life, and her own sense of self-respect, have value. So she, too, flees across the moors and he has to redeem himself on his own in her absence.
Where Tenant differs from Wuthering and Jane is in overall tone. But we are supposed to feel the great power of their obsessive love, which is all wrapped up in this wild and untamed nature theme, and the themes of wanting to break free from constraints from gender, race, and class. Similarly, in Jane Eyre, nature is sweeping, emotionally expressive, and important to the narrative. Both books include supernatural elements, buckets of melodrama, a sense that the individual is more important than the community, and high levels of emotion. In contrast, Tenant is very straightforward.
Once we get past the initial mystery the book is pretty linear. There is a lot of emotion, but Helen strives above all to be calm. His family spoils him. He whines. However, Gilbert is not Arthur 2.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
I have yet to see the adaptation, but I hear that Gilbert is played by Toby Stephens, on whom I have a massive crush. The best thing about the book is that Helen is human and flawed, but quietly and firmly badass. For any woman of any era, including our own, leaving an abuser is incredibly difficult for multitudes of reasons. Helen is not a saintly character — she marries stupidly, she is preachy at the end, she becomes bitter and passive aggressive.
But she also stands up for herself, protects her son, helps her friends, and stays true to her own ideals. She refuses to be a doormat. Her refusing to have sex with Arthur anymore she tells him she will be his wife in name only is AWESOME and courageous since he could, under the law of the day, rape her with impunity. Her determination to support herself is admirable. Above all, Helen refuses to fall to the lowest common denominator, and she stays true to her own ideals. I found this book to be fascinating, but more from a historical perspective than a storytelling one.
These people are crazy!