Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book 59: On Part Two.

Part two of Charlotte Bronte's Villette continues the sad and isolated tone from the first part. Where I felt that the first part focused on Lucy's introversion a little too much, the second part began to expand on who Lucy appears to be to those around her.

Lucy connects with Dr. John after falling ill, and soon realizes that he is Graham Bretton, the son of her godmother that she stayed with years before. Discovering that John and his mother both live in Villette seems to open up a part of Lucy. She stays with them during her recovery, and continues to visit with them. She begins a correspondence with Dr. John that opens her up.

Lucy begins to change from a sheltered and lonely woman, to someone who is finding her inner strength. Her life at the school seems to pick up. She interacts more with the girls and teachers around her, including the teacher M. Paul Emanuel. She and Emanuel begin a pseudo-relationship. He begins to pull her from her shell.

Lucy also spends time with the Brettons, and little Polly, who also happens to be living in Villette with her father. Where her friendship with Dr. John solidifies Lucy, it is her renewed relationship with little Polly, who is all grown up, that has a further impact on Lucy. Even more, her inner strength continues to grow.

What I loved the most about this section was the slow and gradual change I began to see in Lucy. No longer was she sheltered and alone. She began to find people to surround herself with that added to her personality and strength. Dr. John's friendship seemed to show her that relationships with others was something she had sorely been lacking. After being alone for so long, Lucy craved the closeness of another individual.

And, I can certainly see where the novel is going. Her encounters with M. Paul Emanuel hint at a relationship forming. It is the slow kind of love the burns underneath before the two individuals realize it. I am looking forward to seeing how this isolated and quiet individual realizes what she needs.

I think I mentioned in a post as I was reading that I felt a kinship to Lucy, which is why it is taking me so long to finish this novel. A very big part of me is a hermit. I love being at home. I am content with my solitude and my own thoughts. For that, I am very similar to Lucy. I enjoy being alone. But Matt is the social part of myself. He makes me go out and interact, and encourages me to try new things. I guess you could compare him to what Emanuel does for Lucy-he pushes her and challenges her.

We all need that kind of push and shove at times.

Anyway, there were a few more passages I want to share from this section. I just adore Bronte's writing style. It really captures the mood of the characters.

"There are human tempers, bland, glowing, and genial, within whose influence it is good for the poor in spirit to live, as it is for the feeble in frame to bask in the glow of noon," (223).

"For once a hope was realized. I held in my hand a morsel of real solid joy: not a dream, not an image of the brain, not one of those shadowy chances imagination pictures, and on which humanity starves but cannot live; not a mess of that manna I drearily eulogized awhile ago-which, indeed, at first melts on the lips with an unspeakable and preternatural sweetness, but which, in the end, our souls full surely loathe; longing deliriously for natural and earth-grown food, wildly praying Heaven's Spirit's to reclaim their own spirit-dew and essence-an ailment divine, but for mortals deadly," (270).

"If there are words and wrongs like knives, whose deep-inflicted lacerations never heal-cutting injuries and insults of serrated and poison-dripping edge-so, too, there are consolations of tone too fine for the ear not fondly and for ever to retain their echo; caressing kindnesses-loved, lingered over through a whole life, recalled with unfaded tenderness, and answering the call with undimmed shine, out of that raven cloud foreshadowing Death himself," (279).

I can't wait to finish Bronte's beautiful and haunting work. If I feel this strongly about Villette, I can't wait until I read Jane Eyre!!


  1. I'm so glad this book is working for you! :)

  2. That second quote is just beautiful. I read Villette this year, but hadn't remembered it.

  3. I have Villette on my shelf. After reading your thoughts, I might have to pick it up to read earlier than I had originally planned. Reading about the differences between you and your husband, I chuckled a bit. My husband and I are the same way. He is much more social than I, and he's always on the look out for a new adventure. It's been good for me to push myself outside of my comfort zone sometimes.

  4. Do you ever find Lucy funny? The museum scene is in this part, I think.

  5. I think I commented on your 'Villette Part 1' posting, but I just had to stop by and tell you "Bravo!" on this second posting. As much as I loved Jane Eyre, I love Villette even more. Such a beautiful, beautiful novel. Enjoy! Cheers! Chris

  6. I am currently in an obsessive Jane Eyre phase so your post has definitely made me more eager to pick up Vilette.