The Bronte Sisters

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Chaucer. Shakespeare. Milton. The Brontë sisters. All are authors who have helped usher in new periods in English Literature. For Chaucer it was Middle English, for Shakespeare the Elizabethan Period, for Milton the Commonwealth Period, and for the Brontë Sisters it was Romanticism and the gothic novel (Gottlieb). Although gothic novels had been written prior to the publication of any works by the Brontë sisters, they changed the gothic style and caused it to become more mainstream. For this reason Charlotte, Emily, and to a lesser extent, Anne Brontë are known as the mothers of the modern gothic novel. While a variety of factors shaped the writing style of the Brontë sisters, perhaps the most important influence was that of their upbringing and the time period in which they lived.

There were six children in the Brontë family, five girls: Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, as well as one boy named Patrick Branwell. Not long after the youngest child, Anne, was born the children’s mother passed away, leaving them to be raised on the moors of Yorkshire by their father, Reverend Patrick Brontë (Parton). Fortunately, the children’s mother’s unmarried sister, Elizabeth Branwell, soon moved in with the Brontës in order to help take care of them and the house (Sellars). Thanks to the kindness of their aunt, the Brontë children had not only a caring father, but a surrogate mother as well.

As a poor minister, Patrick Brontë’s main focus for his children was education. He knew that his five daughters would not be presented with many opportunities if they were not properly educated. For this reason he sent his four oldest daughters off to a boarding school not far from their home. Not long into their stay at boarding school M...

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Works Cited

Alexander, Christine. Charlotte Brontë at Roe Head. By Charlotte Brontë. Jane Eyre. 2nd ed.New York, NY: Norton & Company, 1987. 407-427. Print.

Davies, Stevie. Introduction. By Anne Brontë. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. London, England:Penguin, 1996. vii-xxix. Print.

Eddy, Steve. The Brontës: A Beginner's Guide. London, England: Hodder & Stoughton, 2003. 1-79. Print.

Gottlieb, Stephen. "Periods of English Literature." 12 Jan 2000. Web. 3 Feb 2010.


Parton, James. "The Brontë Sisters." Female Ancestors. Web. 3 Feb 2010. .

Sellars, Jane. Charlotte Brontë. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc. , 1997. 9-112. Print.

Sherry , Norman. Charlotte and Emily Brontë. New York, NY: Arco Publishing Company, 1970. 9-138. Print.
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