Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On the Bronte's and castles

Ok, England. We spent a great deal of time in England and I am completely in love with England, so I won’t be able to sum it up in one post.

But anyway England.

Any of my fellow pilgrims reading this will probably find my dates a little mixed up, but oh well. It is the generally correct time frame.

Our first day we got too see the Moor, Bronte parsonage and Skipton Castle. Skipton Castle was our first castle. One thing I learned while I was there was that everyone living in a castle must have been cold all the time. It was cold enough that I wore jeans under my dress. But walking through the old castle, realizing how much harsher life was then was very interesting.

Think about it, a castle was where the elite lived. It was cold, it had no indoor plumbing. The food had virtually no spices. Meat didn’t keep. Women were treated like crap. Sickness and early death was a part of life. They had virtually no knowledge of medicine, if you got hurt you could die. If you were pregnant, you and your baby could die. And these were the people who lived the high life back then.

But you know what? I think that life was still beautiful, in a bitter sweet way just like it is today. So, while I am glad that I was born in this day in age; I don’t think we should write off the past as a waste.

The Bronte Parsonage was an interesting experience for me. I must confess something before I continue: I am not a fan of the Bronte’s work. To be fair I have only read Jane Eyre… and I skipped the beginning because I hated reading about the little girls dropping like flies. It depressed me ok? I enjoyed the parts where people were stabbing other people… and there were random screams… But I didn’t like Mr. Rochester or Jane; though I feel sorry for them. Before I finished this book it was time to leave for England, I ended up doing all my homework without actually finishing the book. I know how it ends… I just didn’t read the ending.

Anyway, I am not a fan of the Bronte sister’s work. But I fell in love with the Bronte family while visiting their home. I began to understand them better. Jane Eyre included such horrific scenes at the boarding school because some of the Bronte children had died while at school.

The three sisters who survived to adulthood would sit in a specific room after dinner and write together. After they had written for a certain amount of time they would get up and walk around the table, reading each other’s work. In this room there was a sofa where Anne Bronte (I think it was Anne) allegedly died. It was somehow shaking to see it there. After her other two sisters died; one of the servants said that it broke her heart because every evening Charlotte ( I think it was Charlotte) would still write in that room. And when she had finished writing she would get up and pace around the table alone.

Branwell Bronte (or however you spell his name) was quiet the tragic figure. He, like his sisters, died very young. He was a substance abuser, which I think contributed to his early death… though I don’t remember the details. What I do remember is that with his last breath Branwell lamented “I have died accomplishing nothing great or good.”

While I don’t want a life filled with the sadness all of the Bronte’s faced I certainly do not want my life to be like Branwell’s, empty and regretted to the last. I might not like the Bronte sisters work, but it has changed literature and made a difference in so many other’s lives. I would certainly recommend the Bronte Parsonage to anyone who feels they want to gain some perspective. But be prepared to indulge in some morbid thoughts.

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