Jan 15, 08
Read in January, 2008
First off, I love Brit Lit classics. Jane Austen, the Brontes—yeah, I've probably read them. I know this style of writing and genre is not for everyone!
Villette surprised me. I've read Jane Eyre (several times and never as an assignment) and I love it. But I've always felt Jane was a bit one-dimensional. She's too good. But I love the story. When I started reading Villette, I thought of Lucy Snowe as Jane Eyre improved. But that's not quite it. Lucy is more developed, more true to life. Lucy is reality and three-dimensional where Jane sometimes comes off flat. Lucy doubts, worries, questions, and sometimes loses all control where Jane was constant and fixed.
I think this is Charlotte Bronte's best work. But I think the reason I like it is because I think it shed a lot of light on Charlotte herself. I think Lucy Snowe is a powerful character because she's probably closest to Charlotte herself. Villette speaks to me because it resounds with truth. Charlotte laid herself bare here, and I appreciate her for it.
Villette is a love story. And in opposition to Jane Austen (whom I also love!), Bronte's story seems a little more realistic. Lucy falls in love with the man she shouldn't and the story ends ambiguously and not resoundingly happy. Which in the end, is a lot like life. In great pain, there's often great happiness. Bronte knew that, and Villette testifies to it.