Gothic Metaphors In Anne Bronte's The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall

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Based on this statement of Senf, it can be concluded that in a nineteenth century Gothic novel entitled The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Anne uses Gothic metaphors rather than photographic descriptions to reveal the social horrors of her time. It is evident also that this statement has shown how Anne Bronte uses much the same narrative strategy as her sisters Charlotte Bronte and Emily Bronte. Like Charlotte and Emily, Anne Bronte diminishes the vampire’s mythic power and focuses on the sorts of cruelties her human characters display to destroy the lives of others. How is that? Through the vampire motif Anne diverts her readers’ attention toward serious social evils, especially the evils emanating from egoism. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall the authoress introduces Arthur Huntington, the villainous character, as mentally and physically damaged who is so absorbed in fulfilling his own desires, so oblivious to others’ needs, that he becomes the sole responsible for the deaths around him. (Here we take death in a metaphorical sense). This is certainly typical of the vampire. Moreover, in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by contrasting the two major personalities of Helen and Arthur, Anne Bronte demonstrates that her heroine’s overconfidence about her ability to reform an individual like Arthur is her undoing. Arthur is depicted as “a psychic energy vampire” in Kaleah LaRoche’s words (narcissismfree.com), whose sadistic pleasure is derived from extracting the energy of Helen. Kaleha LaRoche goes on to define the psychic energy vampire as “an emotionally and spiritually depleted individual” (narcissismfree.com), whose life is plagued by countless psychological difficulties and thus, falling into ruin. The psychic vampire is someone detached ... ... middle of paper ... ... C. R Mallya writes thus:”A united front emerges consisting of animals, birds and those human beings who live in animal-like conditions to challenge the atrocities and cruelties on them. When they awaken, their power is awesome “(Mallya: 6). From this study we deduce that even birds and animals are aware of the vampiric tendencies of humans and that they are prepared to launch war against the inhumanity inflicted on them. The vampire motif has been used also to address another dominant anxiety of the Victorian time. Anne uses this metaphor to depict the domestic realm as a place of confinement and imprisonment in nineteenth century England. Further evidence that can be of support to this claim may lie in the findings of Laura Berry in her illuminating essay “Acts of Custody and Incarceration in Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”. Laura Berry writes:

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