Understanding the sisters as real people: Alex’s postcard from Brontë Country

Alex Bronte country

Why I went…

Before taking this course on the Brontës, I had never read any of their works. As the semester began and I was introduced to these incredible women, I developed an interest and an adoration for their works and for who they were as people; especially as women authors in a time where men were the predominant writers. When I found out about our opportunity to go to the Brontës’ birth place and childhood home, I was ecstatic. I had already learned so much about them but I thought that by going to these places I could develop a deeper understanding of who they were as human beings rather than famous authors.

What I got out of the experience…

I learned much more about the Brontës than I ever thought possible by visiting these literary sites, but not in the way that I expected.  What surprised me the most was the way that they are represented as commodities rather than actual people. The museum itself helped my understanding of these sisters as real people to an extent, but even at the museum there is a gift shop; they are still making money off the works of these authors. All around the town you can buy products with the Brontë sisters’ names on them, including things such as biscuits and alcohol. This gives visitors the impression that the Brontë sisters, or rather their way of life, is an object that can be purchased, but it is not. Seeing Haworth in this way made me become almost defensive of the sisters as people, not as authors. They were very real and they lived normal lives.

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