The Image of Female Characters in Charlotte Bronte's Villette

©2012 Research Paper (postgraduate) 22 Pages


The present study aims at examining, the image of female characters in Charlotte Bronte's Villette .The study is divided into three chapters and a conclusion .
Chapter One is an introduction which aims at tracing Charlotte Bronte's literary style in describing her extreme image of the female characters. Chapter Two traces Charlotte Bronte's contributions, reputations and quality of writing.
Chapter Three examines. The Image of Female Characters in Bronte's Villette. Also it cast light on the story of the novel, limits of realism in the novel, and the image of Lucy Snowe who is probably the most complex of Charlotte Bronte's female characters.
The conclusion gives a brief summary of the study findings For instance.Through Lucy Snowe as a female character, we see in her a reconciling of the rational and the passionate, as she grows painfully from an observant characters , through repression and despair, to a loving, liberated, and independent woman.


Alhaj, Ali: The Image of Female Characters in Charlotte Bronte's Villette, Hamburg,
Anchor Academic Publishing 2015
PDF-eBook-ISBN: 978-3-95489-883-1
Druck/Herstellung: Anchor Academic Publishing, Hamburg, 2015
Additionally: Jazan University. K.S.A, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2015
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Every writer's writing would last
Even if his hands die and depart
Dr. Ali Al-Bashir Mohammed

This book is dedicated to my lovely parents.

Dictation 3
Charlotte Bronte's Reputation and Quality of Writing
The Image of Female Characters in Bronte's
References 20


Charlotte Bronte, is one of the formidable compliments which paid to the few
among her contemporaries who managed to win her esteem, once congratulated
realties that underlie the pleasing exterior of human society;
According Rickett(2004: 521):
Charlotte Bronte has written of lonely, repressed womanhood with a passion
and intensity unsurpassed in English fiction, even among the outspoken fiction
of our own day. Until she began to write , no woman had dared to write of life
from the woman's point of view, as Fielding had done from the man's.
Charlotte Bronte is the very opposite of the conscious virtuoso. With her we return
to the characteristics type of Victorian novelist, untutored, unequal, and inspired.
Sullivan(1998: 252) opines that:
Charlotte Bronte's work is grounded in realism, but goes beyond into human life
with greater fidelity than was common in her age, though the reticence of her
period prevents her from following her themes to their logical conclusion.
Charlotte Bronte presents life from an individual point of view: to remove the
absurdity would be to remove the individuality at the same time. Moreover its funny
side: a man may express himself fanatically and yet express himself well. The play
in Villette, Rochester's proposal in Jane Eyre , are among the most memorable scenes
in Charlotte Bronte's novels; and we enjoy them whole-heartedly. Only, our
enjoyment is enriched by an ironic amusement which it would hardly have been her
intention to stimulate.
Charlotte Bronte always writes earnestly, and in Villette she is peremptorily
honest. In it she shows no mercy for any of the engaging ruses and artifices of life:
with her it is something too real, earnest, and even tragic, to be wantonly trifled with
or foolishly disguised. To describe her extreme characters, Charlotte Bronte makes
use of the most extremeness images. The fourteen-year-old schoolgirls who were
Lucy Snow's pupil had '' eyes full of an insolent light and brows hard and unblushing
as marble''*( Villette:89): Madame Beck was so cold-hearted that '' not the agony in
Gethsemane nor the death on Calvary could have wrung from her eyes on

tear.''(V.p.,94) Nor do such images, though they refer to schoolgirls and governesses,
strike us as out of place. On the contrary, they seem the only mode of expression
adequate to describe governesses or schoolgirls or anyone else, in the world into
which we have been transported by Charlotte Bronte's furious imagination.
It is true that we never see Charlotte Bronte's female character in the round as we
see Tolstoy's or Jane Austen's, but only as they happen to cross her line of vision.
Still, it is possible to see a man vividly in one line of vision; and, if it is Lucy
Snowe's or Jane's, very vividly indeed. Not Henry James himself can convey the
impact of a personality more forcibly than Charlotte Bronte at her best. We may
know little of Madame Beck's inner life( Villette), her character may be insufficiently
diagnosed: but as well as if she were before us in the flesh, we see her squat,
respectable figure, her dull penetrating eye, her heavy powerful.
*(All references to this text are from this editions and are quoted by page numbers in parenthesis


Type of Edition
File size
705 KB
Institution / College
Jazan University - KSA – Arts
Publication date
2015 (February)
post doctorate
Charlotte Bronte literary female character

Title: The Image of Female Characters in Charlotte Bronte's Villette