Villette by Charlotte Bronte I am determined to finish this book. I would tell you the page but it is on Kindle so 62%.
“… I was obligated to pause in the park to laugh. Throughout our walk she rang the most fanciful changes on this theme; proving, by her obstinate credulity, or incredulity, her incapacity to conceive how any person not bolstered up by birth or wealth, not supported by some consciousness of name or connection, could maintain an attitude of reasonable integrity.”
I love this phrase. Perhaps this was more true in “olden” days when a person was born and supposed to die as part of a certain class. i shudder to think what might have happened to me if born in that time. Reading a novel such as this reminds me how much things have changed and also how some of the old standards have survived.
Villette is simultaneously deeply personal, deeply culturally conservative, and fatalistically feminist. Brontë not only shines an unrelentingly unflattering light on all cultures other than English (while simultaneously criticizing and lauding features of English culture, too) but also conveys her own sense of despair and her lack of belief in the “happy ending.” Brontë felt that God predestined certain people for happiness and certain people for sorrow, and this is very evident in the story of Villette. Brontë also was acutely aware of the marginalization of women, the evils of class structure, and the utter hopelessness of most people’s lives in her time and place.