Tuesday, 24 May 2011

"It suited me to be alone---quite alone."



Villette by Charlotte Brontë

"In this outer rank I took my place. I rather liked to find myself the silent. unknown, consequently unaccosted neighbour of the short petticoat and the sabot; and only the distant gazer at the silk robe, the velvet mantle, and the plumed chapeau. Amidst so much life and joy, too, it suited me to be alone---quite alone."


Villette, a novel by Charlotte Brontë, is set partially in England and mostly in France. Consequently, although the book is written in English, some of the conversations are in French. Although the exact words may be lost, literally, in translation, the meaning is there and easily understood.

I found this novel very intriguing. The themes included in it are; loss, separation, love, spirituality, apparitions, reunion, and hope. Although there are quite a few area's to this book, the characters are not many.

Lucy Snowe-The main character, also narrates the book as she is looking back on her life.
Mrs. Bretton-Lucy's Godmother
Graham Bretton-Son of Mrs. Bretton
Mr. Home-Friend of Mrs. Bretton
Paulina(Polly) Home-Daughter of Mr. Home
Miss Ginevra Fanshawe-Student at the school
Madame Beck-Mistress of a school
Monsieur Paul-Literature teacher at the school
Dr. John-Performs medical duties at the school
Monsieur De Bassompierre-Ginevra's uncle
Miss De Bassompierre-Ginevra's cousin and daughter to Monsieur De Bassompierre

Although there are other secondary characters throughout the novel, these are the most important and whom play an active role.

Without giving away the novel, or creating any spoilers, please allow me to summarize it.
Lucy Snowe has led a difficult life. After her family left her by either death or necessity, she became a ladies companion. Her lady died after just a few short months of service. She then betook herself to London, in the hopes of finding a position. After learning that many foreign women like to have English girls as their governess,' Lucy boarded a ship bound for Villette. Her first days in Villette were filled with difficulties that ended in her finding a position at a school. Throughout her days of loneliness, Lucy found a few friends. Some old, some new; scarcely though did she find any who would treat her with the loyalty she extended to those around her, until one day she did.

I realize that it is difficult to summarize a novel, especially one written so long ago, without giving away certain aspects. However, I may say that it was a very pleasant read, especially since it has so many themes.

Two negatives I found at the end of this novel, are;
      1. Lucy did not marry the one whom I thought she would.
      2. The book ended unfinished
          Here pause: pause at once. There is enough said. Trouble no quiet, kind heart; leave sunny imaginations hope. Let it be theirs to conceive the delight of joy born again fresh out of great terror, the rapture of rescue from peril, the wondrous reprieve from dread, the fruition of return. Let them picture union and a happy succeeding life.”

But all in all, I enjoyed it very much, and hope you will as well.


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