Following Charlotte Brontë: Mapping Her Life

Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation. (Charlotte Brontë)

 Painting of Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë (left to right). Painted by Branwell Brontë, he initially painted himself into the picture but later painted over himself (1834).

Painting of Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë (left to right). Painted by Branwell Brontë, he initially painted himself into the picture but later painted over himself (1834).

I have previously written the course of Charlotte Brontë’s life and works in a timeline, constructing parallels between her life and Shirley, and have delved into the experiences of life and death that perhaps impacted the author. It is not to say that there is absolutely more to write on Charlotte, and the StoryMap below I believe covers a more geographical abstraction of her life - although severely confined to only a few locations, the haphazard array of her travels, to and from the same locations, the return to Haworth and Roe Head, seem to provide structure to the events of Charlotte’s life. Considering the deaths of her brother and sisters, her marriage to Arthur Bell Nicholls, and subsequent death, these locations may be few but are significant.

And even so, the quote mentioned in the title of this section seems to adequately describe the circumstances that plagued Charlotte Brontë’s life - a life “so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.” That expectation may have been of subsequent livelihood in the company of her siblings, although this is certainly not the case as we know today. Charlotte outlived every one of her siblings, yet passed before the birth of her own child and only a year into her marriage. The expectation of life does not conform to these events - life is so constructed that it will definitively not match the expectation.

Influence on charlotte Brontë’s writing: looking at historical context

For every one of her pieces, there is a story behind Charlotte Brontë’s words. Whether it be influence from a specific location, or the deaths of her siblings, Charlotte wrote through compromising circumstances. (editing)