The Extraordinary Life of Novelist and Poet Emily Brontë
“Emily Brontë has become mythologized both as an individual and as one of the Brontë sisters” (“Overview of Emily Brontë”). Emily made her way as an individual with the release of her best selling and only novel, Wuthering Heights, in 1847. Life before Emily found her passion in writing was chaotic. Emily’s life was unusual and often unhappy, but everything changed when she learned how to sit down and write (“Overview of Emily Brontë”).
Emily Brontë is an English novelist who was born on July 30, 1818 in Thornton, Yorkshire, England. Emily is the second youngest out of her five siblings: Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Branwell, and Anne. Emily’s mother died when she was three years old; this resulted in her never having much of a mother figure in her life. Emily and her siblings were educated at home for the most part. Although Emily and her sisters spent a year at the Clergy Daughters’ School in Lancashire, they quickly returned back home after her two oldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died of tuberculosis (Tompkins).
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By the age of six, Emily had already experienced extreme loss in her life. Emily and her siblings did not have the easiest childhood after the death of their mother and two sisters, but they made the best of it. The children’s father educated them from home, letting them read freely. Emily’s father never enforced strict rules and regulations on the children. This way of teaching most likely helped guide the way Emily and her sisters became such good writers. The famously known “Brontë sisters” were Emily, Charlotte, and Anne. This trio was inseparable all through their childhood. Emily and her family lived in an isolated town, separated socially from the rest of the townspeople, this resulted in the children spending most of their time in “made-up worlds” inside of their heads. Although perceived as socially awkward or lonely, Emily’s creative imagination foreshadowed the outstanding writing done in the future (“Emily Brontë Biography,” Encyclopedia of World Biography).
In 1838, Emily worked at “Miss Patchett’s School” located in Halifax in West Yorkshire, as a teacher. After working there for a couple months, Emily started longing for home and decided to leave and go back to her hometown of Thornton (“Emily Brontë Biography,” Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline). The surviving Brontë sisters joined together and published a collection of poetry in 1845 named Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. The collection of poetry only sold two copies, but later critics would praise Emily’s verses for their beauty. Emily struggled with being in the background of her sisters’ spotlights. Her sister, Charlotte Brontë, had immediate success and fame with the release of her novel Jane Eyre. In contrast, Emily received some criticism on her novel Wuthering Heights from the media.
Emily Brontë released her only novel Wuthering Heights in 1847. Despite this novel being considered one of the greatest works in literary history, it received much criticism. A reviewer of Philadelphia’s Graham’s Lady Magazine said that Wuthering Heights was “a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors,” and wondered how a person could write such a book without “committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters.” (Katz). Wuthering Heights became an American literary classic, being taught in classrooms to high school students all over The United States (Katz). Wuthering Heights is distinguished from other novels of the period it was written in by its dramatic and poetic tone throughout the story (Tompkins).
Shortly after the release of Wuthering Heights, Emily fell ill. After fighting tuberculosis for about a year, Emily Brontë died on December 19, 1848, at the young age of 30. Just like it had taken the life of many of her family members, the disease tragically took the life of Emily. Although Emily never had kids of her own or a marriage, she had a very accomplished life. It is sad that Emily did not receive the appreciation she deserved until after her death. After Emily’s death, her sister, Charlotte, praised Emily’s writing in her novel for its “complex beauty.” (Katz).
In conclusion, Emily Brontë was an outstanding novelist and poet. Without the proper education in her life, Emily Brontë ended up writing one of the most well-known and appreciated novels of her time period. It is truly inspiring to anyone who is not able to attend a university that it is possible to be an amazing novelist with just he or she’s own creativity. Emily was known as a “painfully shy” woman who was unable to leave the comforts of her own home.
The time spent at home writing paid off in her favor; Emily became a well-known novelist and poet (Brownson). Emily was able to convey the darkness of her childhood into beauty in her novel and poetry. As Emily quoted in her novel Wuthering Heights, “Honest people don’t hide their deeds.” Emily was not afraid to channel darkness and love into her writing, and that is what made it so beautiful and unique. (Tompkins).