Flip Through

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Librarians vs rock stars

I am a librarian. NEWS FLASH OK NOT REALLY. However, the Bronte sisters and their amazing bank of literature, present an interesting dilemma. Librarian or rock star? Emily or Charlotte? Cathy and Heathcliff or Jane and Rochester? See, the trouble here stems from my other identity: degree-carrying English literature snob. I can appreciate both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre for their LITERARY merits: I love WH because of its complex set-up and balls-deep characterization and I love JE for its sympathy to women and balls-deep characterization.

I hope I'm the first to use the phrase "balls-deep characterization" when referring to Bronte writing. That would be awesome to put on my resume.

Anyway, the point is that I am not sure most degreed English lit snobs would go out of their way to choose between Charlotte and Emily's most famous books. Sure, I hate Cathy and Heathcliff with a fiery passion equaled only by their hatred love feelings for each other, but that doesn't mean that it's a bad book. I don't really like Jane and Rochester either--Jane's a bit too retiring and Rochester keeps his wife locked in the attic, for crying out loud--but again, the book they live in is an amazing text.

(Author's note: I will argue to the death that Rochester is a worse man than Heathcliff. JUST TRY ME)

Furthermore, I would like to bring up the matter of the third Bronte sister, the one everyone ignores: Anne! Oh, Anne. Anne is my favorite Bronte and she wrote my favorite Bronte book, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, in which you will find my favorite Bronte heroine, Helen Graham. Helen is AWESOME. She speaks her mind, to men and women alike; she slams her bedroom door in her husband's face and refuses to do him the "duties of a wife" because he's an abusive asshole; she runs away from him and marries someone else. And oh, the book is saucy--vice everywhere, on the parts of men and women both, adultery and gambling and corruption of children! Wildfell Hall was a real bombshell when it was published, and remains a jewel today. Vive Anne and Helen!

So what do we call people who admire Helen and prefer Tenant to either of the two more lauded Bronte tomes? Mouthy Bitches? Feminists? Independents? As Mercedes Jones would say, Thoughts?


Dr. She-Bloggo said...

See, I'm not so well-read so I always choose to like Anne best because she's the forgotten Bronte sister. Though, now that you describe The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, it sounds like I need to get all up on it.

PS. Major kudos for "balls-deep characterization." Resume-worthy, indeed!

Diana said...

Tenant is definitely worth a read (or 2, or 8...). Actually, I can't think of a Bronte book I DON'T like--the ones read most often are WH and JE, of course, but Villette is also awesome.

I am updating my resume as I type. :B

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