The Forces of Nature in Villette

Supernatural events and portents are a major theme in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette. While Brontë never crosses into a truly magical realm, it is clear that Lucy Snowe believes that certain events pertain to the supernatural world. Forces of nature play a large part in Villette, through weather and other natural elements, such as the stars. Lucy believes that weather ties closely with events in her life and the lives of those around her, and also turns to nature in times of distress to guide her in the appropriate direction. In Villette, the supernaturalism within nature affects individual human activities through Lucy’s eyes.

On the night of Miss Marchmont’s death, there is a terrible storm. Lucy predicts that the storm is a portent of this tragedy: “Three times in the course of my life, events had taught me that these strange accents in the storm—this restless, hopeless cry—denote a coming state of the atmosphere unpropitious to life. Epidemic diseases, I believed, were often heralded by a gasping, sobbing, tormented, long-lamenting east wind” (38). Lucy philosophizes that the unsettled weather tends to predict misfortune at home. Miss Marchmont was clearly not in good health, or she would not have needed Lucy to be her nurse....

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