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ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Women & Work

From the B&N Classics edition:
 
"A contemporary reviewer in the Spectator remarked that Villette, even more than Jane Eyre, reads like a bitter complaint against the destiny of those women who have to work.  Do you see this in the book?  What is the relationship between women and work in Bronte's novel?"
~ConnieAnnKirk




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Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: Women & Work

[ Edited ]
Seems like the contemporary reviewer here is the important aspect of this quote.  Do you think the criticism is against the attitude of "having" to work or is it more about an attitude over what limited kinds of work is available or accepted for women of the period?
 
Any thoughts on this?
 
~ConnieK
 


ConnieK wrote:
From the B&N Classics edition:
 
"A contemporary reviewer in the Spectator remarked that Villette, even more than Jane Eyre, reads like a bitter complaint against the destiny of those women who have to work.  Do you see this in the book?  What is the relationship between women and work in Bronte's novel?"





Message Edited by ConnieK on 04-24-2008 09:59 AM
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Women & Work

[ Edited ]
Certainly the reviewer could well be looking at Villette from a modern perspective.  The only things we see women doing in Villette are teaching, being a governess, being a companion, or being supported by a man (husband/father/or acquaintance, as in M. Paul's support of Madame Walravens).  Although there is Madame Beck, who is a successful businesswoman, running her own school and apparently handling most of the business negotiations herself.  And, at the end, Lucy has her own school, as well.  Still in the teaching profession, but able to be independent and not rely on a man.
 
This novel is certainly more grim than Jane Eyre, so I can see where the 'bitter' impression comes in.  Aside from an often gloomy attitude in general, Lucy often complains about her work at the pensionnat.  And, after having served as a companion to Miss Marchmont, she later says that she could never serve as a companion when a post is offered her by the Bassompierres.  But at the end, in her own school, she declares herself happy.  So perhaps it is only working for others that is the problem.
 
Perhaps the contemporary reviewer is also reacting to the fact that, in the end, Jane is with her love Rochester and no longer working, while Lucy is working, albeit in her own school, and appears to be alone (although this is in some question, as Lucy does not tell us one way or the other).  So, Jane appears to have found a happier life.


Message Edited by dulcinea3 on 04-24-2008 12:11 PM
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