Charlotte Bronte: Poems Themes

Charlotte Bronte: Poems Themes


As is common in poetry, Bronte focuses upon death frequently. She wrote throughout her lifetime, so much of her later work revolves around ideas of death. She welcomes death, even longing for it at times. To her, death brings the unknown which is more welcome than the sometimes agony of existence. Actually, Bronte's relationship to death is a clue as to her depressive nature. She possesses a healthy fear of judgement in death, but other than that she believes that it is the ultimate goal because of its potentially endless release from the cares of life. When she watches her sister Anne die, Bronte comments about wishing that Anne could've died sooner to spare her all the pain of her illness. Surprisingly Bronte attaches very few religious implications to the concept of death, despite the religious overtones of most of her poetry.


Very little joy finds its way into Bronte's poetry. More often than not she writes about her own or other people's pain, situations which have no apparent resolve. Bronte's relationship to grief seems to be rational, if a little indulgent. She views it as a necessary element of life which must be processed and handled with great care and attention, but she doesn't willingly give into grief. When she allows herself to mourn, she holds nothing back in an epic depressive episode. Otherwise she writes about other people's pain in an empathetic, non-judgmental manner, always invoking death as the ultimate relief of sorrow. In fact grief is the common theme of almost all of her poetry.


According to the dominant religion of her time, Bronte exemplifies a great deal of piety in her writing. She professes a belief in God and often prays to him. Interestingly enough, however, she does not seem to believe in the particular brand of submission which is common among her contemporaries. For example, Emily Dickinson concerns herself with the desire to vanquish her selfish ambitions and her negative emotions in order to better submit herself to the will of God. Bronte on the other hand prefers to acknowledge God's power in her life without forcing herself to deny parts of her existence to which she objects. She does not, for instance, dwell upon the idea of divine judgement after death, preferring instead to view death as a threshold beyond which no one need concern oneself except for arriving there without regret.

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