Department of English

English Undergraduate Student Publishes Article

Tue, November 6, 2007

An excerpt from Eric’s “Putting the ‘Wild’ back in Wildfell Hall: Animals and Animalization in the Novels of Anne Brontë” follows:

The two novels of Anne Brontë aggressively deconstruct the strong female archetype through animalization of primary characters. Agnes Grey (1847) portrays a young governess who, despite numerous assurances to the contrary, has no control over her family, her charges, or her life. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), Anne Brontë deconstructs Helen, the primary mother-figure in the novel, by exposing the unconscionable damage she inflicts on her son as a result of her own insecurity. In each case, primary characters are brutally animalized and then led by animals into situations the status of which even at the end remains dubious. In Agnes Grey, Anne animalizes Agnes herself and then mediates her relationship with Edward Weston through animal contact, while The Tenant of Wildfell Hall animalizes Arthur, Helen’s son, which leads to the complete reliance of his--and thereby his mother’s--relationship to Gilbert on Gilbert’s dog Sancho.
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