I would never have read this book, had I not tripped across a piece in the Guardian comparing the three Brontë sister's differing views of men
. As I understood it, the two older, more famous sisters liked drunken assholes, while the younger, more demure sister, Anne, didn't hesitate to call a spade a spade. This is all summed up, sort of, in this cartoon, Dude Watching with the Brontës
I'm not completely sure I'm in agreement. Rochester, of Jane Eyre
, isn't nearly the asshole that Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights
is. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
, Arthur Huntingdon, certainly is an asshole without peer, but Anne doesn't make him a romantic figure. Rather, the romantic figure is nice guy, Gilbert Markham, who is also rather insipid. But still, the point is, Anne's book is more of a feminist tract. Douchbags are called out and the female protagonist, Helen Graham/Huntindgon, has some surprisingly independent ideas regarding the proper role of women in society.
This is not a great book. It's overly moralistic and overly romanticized in some parts. But it's a hell of a lot better than Emily's more famous garbage, Wuthering Heights
, a book which should long ago have been tossed on the dust bin. I do, however, much prefer Jane Eyre
to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
, and don't agree in the least that Rochester is even remotely at the same level of douchbaggery as Heathcliff.