Charlotte Bronte was born on the 21st of April in 1816 in Thornton, England. She was the eldest daughter of Patrick Brontë, an Irish priest and author, while her mother, Maria, was a house maker. The family spent early years in Thornton and later moved to Haworth, where her father served as a priest at St Michael and All Angels Church. Unfortunately, on the 15th of September 1821, her mother died of cancer, leaving five daughters and a son in the custody of her sister, Elizabeth Branwell. The early demise of her mother left a permanent mark on the Bronte family.
After her mother’s death, in 1824, Charlotte Bronte, along with her sisters, was admitted to the Clergy Daughters’ School. Unfortunately, the school’s poor conditions badly affected their physical growth as well as health. Also, it became the reason for the early deaths of her sisters, Maria and Elizabeth. After their deaths, she left the school, but her passion for reading and written did not fade. She started writing at the age of thirteen. Most of her literary pieces were published in Branwell’s Blackwood’s Magazine, ran by Bronte family. Later, in 1831, she attended Miss Wooler’s school at Roe Head, where she studied almost for a year and developed strong friendships with Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor.
Before the publication of her third novel, she received a marriage proposal from her father’s curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, but the family rejected him. Her father disliked the poor financial status of Nicholls. However, her friend, Elizabeth, persuaded her to consider the positive aspect of marriage and used her contacts to improve the financial condition of Nicholls. She accepted the proposal in 1854 and married Nicholls the same year.
Charlotte Bronte, a towering literary figure, became seriously ill after her marriage and died on 31st of March in 1855 with her unborn child. Similar to her sisters, she also died of tuberculosis before her thirty-ninth birthday. The young Bronte was buried in the Church of St Michael and All Angels at Haworth.
Some Important Facts of Her Life
- Her novel, Jane Eyre, made her be ranked among prominent authors of her time.
- She started writing in her childhood shortly after the deaths of her two young sisters.
- Aged 16, her writing abilities were questioned by Robert Southey, a famous poet. To him, literature is not a business of a woman’s life but she continued her struggle and won a reputable place in the literary world.
Charlotte Bronte successfully pursued two careers in her life. First, she worked as a governess and later became a universally acclaimed poet and writer. As she started writing from a very young age, most of her writings appeared in their homemade magazine only. In 1846, Charlotte published her poems along with her sisters’ self-financed collection with their surnames but the publication did not attract the audience. Similarly, another novel, The Professor, was rejected by many publishing houses and was published posthumously in 1857. However, her masterpiece, Jane Eyre, was published in 1847 and earned an immediate success. The novel presented a blend of desire, passion, betrayal, and revenge. Weaving the themes of grief and the role of women in society, she came up with her second major publication, Shirley, in 1849. Later, in 1853, she published her third novel, Villette, which talks about isolation and the internal conflict of the characters.
Charlotte Bronte led a traumatic life. First, she lost her mother in her early years, later the deaths of her siblings made her experience the acute tragedy of life. Despite all these issues, she skillfully utilized her writing abilities. Using her unique style, she beautifully portrayed her ideas in her literary pieces. Most of her writings are filled with rich descriptions of the visual field of the story, including setting, the landscape and appearances of the characters, and their gestures. Such techniques made her writings realistic, drawing attention to the social problems of the Victorian era. Regarding literary devices, she turned toward imagery, symbolism, and metaphors. The recurring themes in most of her writings are gender and social issues, love, and feminism.
Some Major Works of Charlotte Bronte
- Best Novels: She was an outstanding writer some of her best novels include Jane Eyre, Shirley, The Professor, and Villette and
- Other Works: Besides novels, she also wrote poetry and non-fiction. Some of them include Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, Selected Poems of the Brontës, Everyman Poetry, The Spell, My Angria and the Angrians, The Roe Head Journal Fragments and The Young Men’s Magazine.
Charlotte Bronte’s Impact on Future Literature
Charlotte Bronte, with her unique abilities, left profound impacts on global literature. After many years of her demise, her works still enjoy the same prestige. Her witty ideas, along with distinct literary qualities, won applause from her readers, critics, and other fellow writers. She successfully documented her ideas about love, the role of society in man’s life, and alienation in her writings that even today, writers try to imitate her unique style, considering her a beacon for writing prose and poetry.
- Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.” (Jane Eyre)
- If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.” (Shirley)
- I believe in some blending of hope and sunshine sweetening the worst lots. I believe that this life is not all; neither the beginning nor the end. I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep.” (Villette)