By Tom Winnifrith (auth.)
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Additional resources for A New Life of Charlotte Brontë
Mina Laury (January 1838) and Henry Hastings February - March 1839) both have a governess heroine, although, as Charlotte - unlike Mina - did not have an aristocratic lover, it is probably a mistake to read too much into the description of Elizabeth Hasting's drunken brother Henry; this need not be a reflection of Charlotte's feelings for Branwell. Charlotte's final juvenile work Ashworth (1839-41) is principally notable for the marked change towards realism. Earlier stories, like Julia (1837) and Caroline Vernon (1839), are still recognisably Angrian, with the political struggle between Zamorna and Northangerland and their rivalry over various mistresses being the principal point of interest.
1 It is true that the Brontes were not good teachers, and that teaching at that time was not a profession with many rewards. On the other hand, as the Brontes were later drearily to recount in their books, it was about the only profession for which they were qualified, and it is difficult to accuse Mr Bronte of anything more than a certain degree of unworldly optimism in thinking that all would be well. This is shown in a letter to Mrs Franks in 1835 when Charlotte first returned to Roe Head. In this letter Mr Bronte refers to a recent bout of ill health.
6 He seemed to take the view that to spare the rod was to spoil the child, that death was a blessed relief from painful life, and that existing social distinctions were divinely ordained. Like many Evangelicals, such as Wilberforce, Carus Wilson was both rich and a strong Tory. His object in founding the school was to train the daughters of poor clergymen to their station in life, namely to be governesses. Governess is stated in the Register to be the future career of both Maria and Elizabeth Bronte.