Skip to main content

Villette: "Swallowing tears as if they had been wine" and other goth lyrics by Charlotte Bronte

Behold! Almost 2/3 done. Next week is Chapters 27 through 33. This week, Lucy Snowe continues to be weird, and Graham keeps saying unsettling things to his mother that make me think those two need to make some other friends. Or maybe have Lucy move in. You guys are making everyone uncomfortable with your Titania/Bottom talk and your "Mother, you are better to me than ten wives yet." That wouldn't fly in 2015, sir. Please, CB, be aware of norms in future eras and adapt your books accordingly.

Lucy was mainly obsessed with letters in this section. Letters from Graham. Also tiny Paulina showed up again as we all knew she would because oh, isn't it nice dramatically to have her come around again. Also -- CHARLOTTE. Why has everyone from your character's past moved to the same Belgian town. WHY. I have suspended my disbelief for your book, but there are limits. 

Definite limits.
I am unsure about other people's dealings with waited-for letters/emails/whatever, but I thought the section dealing with Lucy's letters to and from Graham was relatable as shit. 

When I was about 21, doin' my Comparative Lit thing in college, I would write my profs/TAs these long, longass emails filled with questions, and then I'd be so happy knowing I might get a reply. More often than not, because they were People With Lives, and not an undergrad student who did homework in her apartment and watched The X-Files (the end), the response would be something fairly concise. But SOMETIMES, oh sometimes they would answer all my questions, and I'd get to go do more research and it was the best. I am positive that for some of these replies, I pulled a Lucy and would wait to read them. This was probably (coincidentally!) the loneliest year of my life. Which is why I was writing super-long emails to TAs.

MY POINT IS loneliness is the worst and you know Charlotte Bronte's talking about the letters she wrote to M. Heger, the man she knew from the school in Brussels. When she moved back to England, she originally wrote him every two weeks, but then that got purposely scaled back to every six months. Her description of Lucy's feelings surrounding the letters are way, way too specific and there's just no way she didn't go through it.

Charlotte Bronte all the time

Hey, remember that whole section where she argues with Reason?

"Talk for you is good discipline. You converse imperfectly. While you speak, there can be no oblivion of inferiority— no encouragement to delusion: pain, privation, penury stamp your language…."

"But," I again broke in, "where the bodily presence is weak and the speech contemptible, surely there cannot be error in making written language the medium of better utterance than faltering lips can achieve?"

It's so weird feeling like you're getting to know CB through this book, BUT, do I believe she was way better at writing than talking? Helllll yes. Where did she grow up? In the middle of damn nowhere next to a graveyard! There's no learning casual chitchat up there! That's why Emily's books are full of ghosts and assholes!

Every character in Wuthering Heights

But back to M. Heger. Based on one single thing I read on a webpage, it looks like he was mayybe a little encouragey, or at least didn't shut things down right away, regarding her adoration of him. And he was married with tiny children. And Charlotte -- ok, we don't know her, but honestly -- would not have written him things like "I love French for your sake with all my heart and soul" without feeling like it would have been received potentially in a positive way.

See, this is why she had Lucy write one insane letter to Graham, and then one super-rational one. Because in her own situation, she did not make that decision. Instead she said, "I find it difficult to be cheerful so long as I think I shall never see you more." GIRL. That man is married. And his wife reads your letters. What're you doin'.

In the rest of this section, she addresses mental illness ("Long may it be generally thought that physical privations alone merit compassion, and that the rest is a figment."); defends Ginevra Fanshawe of the Great Name, because if you're going to criticize, be JUST about it; and then comes up with kind of a bitchy plan to make Ginevra look bad, even though she could just tell Paulina, "Oh, no, Graham's totally not into her at all anymore." But that is not Lucy's way.

All of Lucy's life decisions


Popular posts from this blog

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.

INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.

You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:

We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

#24in48: What Was Good, What Was Bad, What You Should Read

24in48, where we try to read for 24 hours out of 48, has come and gone once more. I managed 13 hours, which considering my usual average is 2, is excellent and I will take it. I attribute this to genuine planning this time and a remarkable lack of things to do that weekend.

What did I finish!

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson (comic)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
DC Bombshells Volume 1 (comic)
The Punisher: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (comic)
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

The Good.

It was actually all pretty good, so I'm gonna give a quick recap so you can decide if it strikes your fancy or not.

The Summaries

The Witches: Salem, 1692. This is a breakdown of everything that happened before, during, and after the Salem witch trials of 1692. I loved the beginning because Stacy Schiff gives you a good idea of the awfulness of life in New England in the 17th century, and it also helps you understand how the trials happened, because everyth…