Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

Not bad. Not bad. In comparison to her other novels, I didn't love it as much as Villette or Jane Eyre, of course, but it was much better than The Professor.

We see most of the book through the eyes of two young women: Caroline Helstone, the shy niece of a Rector, who feels stifled by her life, and Shirley Keelder a wealthy young woman who, by her wealth, is able to live life freer than most women of that time.

There is no romance here. In fact, for a while, there is nothing happening. It is also a while before the book's namesake even shows up.

Due to the constraints of women at the time, Caroline is oppressed. She wants to escape and be a governess, but is discouraged by others, such as by her uncle and also by her friend Shirley, who surely does not understand what it means to not be free to do as you wished.

On another note, I'm not sure, but I wonder if Elizabeth Gaskell was inspired by the factory riots in this novel for her novel North and South? I really should have read Shirley first, but I digress. Both novels have their similarities.

I was a little peeved over the ending. The narrator basically ends the tale by snarkly saying, "Good luck finding a morale here, because there isn't one!" So this is a story with no real point. Everyone lives happily ever after. Yada, yada.

This was my last novel of Charlotte's that I had left to read. I feel so accomplished.

4 comments:

mel u said...

I still have to read both Shirley and The Professor to have read all the Bronte novels-hopefully this year

Keri said...

I haven't read any of her books. I'm so ill-read when it comes to the classics. XD

Dazzling Mage said...

I haven't liked Villete and Jane Eyre was alright. I liked her sisters novels more than Charlotte's, but I still want to read Shirley. Nice review!

Lisa said...

I haven't read this one. I don't know that I need a moral at the end of the book but I'm also not real big on happily ever after.