LIFE AS MYTH

Index

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JOURNAL

Index

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JOURNAL 2011

Life as Myth

Naming a life

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SPRING 2011

Naming her life

Index 2011

Childhood and loss

Retreat into imagination

Ambiguous choices

The color of her mind

The awakened soul

Naming her life

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LIFEWORKS

About

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ARCHIVES

Index

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SPRING 2011
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CHILDHOOD AND LOSS

Gresham's School, from John William Burgon's The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham (1839).

Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell married in December of 1812 and over the next eight years they had five daughters and one son. In 1821, shortly after the birth of her youngest child, Maria died of cancer. Patrick tried to remarry but was unable to find a bride. As a result, the long term care of the children fell to their maternal aunt, Elizabeth Branwell. By all reports, "Aunt Branwell" was reserved and quite firm; nevertheless she was devoted to the well-being of her nieces and nephew. She developed an especially close relationship to the infant Anne with whom she shared a room.

In 1824 their father sent Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily to the school at Cowan Bridge. The conditions at the school were harsh. Students were subjected to mistreatment by the staff as well as hunger and cold. In 1825, at the ages of eleven and ten respectively, Maria and Elizabeth contracted tuberculosis. They withdrew from school and returned home, but died shortly afterward. The death of their mother and sisters had a traumatic effect on the Brontë siblings and, many years later, Charlotte used her personal experience of boarding school and death as material for her novel Jane Eyre.

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Patrick Brontë (1777 - 1861), husband of Maria and father of the six Brontë children, was the curate of the Haworth parish. He was the descendant of Irish farmers and studied successfully at Cambridge. He was a sometime writer and poet.

Maria Branwell Brontë (1783 - 1821), wife of Patrick and mother of the six Brontë children, was also the daughter of a prosperous middle class family. She died at the age of thirty-eight, probably from uterine cancer.

Maria Brontë (1814-1825) was the oldest of the six children. At the age of eleven she died from tuberculosis which she contracted while attending boarding school.

Elizabeth Brontë (1815-1825) was the second oldest of the six children. At the age of ten she died from tuberculosis which she contracted while attending boarding school.

 

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