Extreme doubts to 99% of the myths about EJB — this especially in lieu that they came from such an unreliable narrator as Gaskell, who not only had a tendency to fictionalise but also be gullable to believe anything that would fit her little agenda or plotline. Let’s not forgive her unflattering propoganda of Patrick or Arthur, or her having to revise that book 4x. Let’s not forget that Charlotte also fed her stories, most likely as indented yarns to shake her waddles, about the backwardness of Haworth. Even Charlotte isn’t above guilt. The problem with all these POVs is nothing is written down by anyone close to her. Charlotte’s intro isn’t really an intro. She’s trying to protect her sister’s identity even after uncovering their masks.
But let step back and observe some things:
EJB has a wicked sense of humour. It’s a yorkie sense of humour, one close to what you might see from New England or in a country sort of way. You can see it very obviously in WH; you can see it in how she treats Charlotte on one of their hikes, leading her astray then telling her of the dangers they just past.
She liked puns. See her writing desk letter stamps.
She also had incredible “emotional” and “intellectual” depth. Her poems reflect this. They are her. Hear them allowed. You cannot understand them unless you hear them read by someone else.
She thought about her future away from the kitchen. Read one of her diary papers. She in one place talks about wanting everyone to be happy w mirroring herself, but in another paper/section self reflects that she needs to move beyond this placancy.
She can build close relationships. She was very close to her sister Anne.
She allowed dogs on a bed — see her portrait of Flossy on the bed.
We continue to exagerate. We take simple country acts like disciplining a dog (which might seem extreme for a gentlewoman etc) and blow them into violent beatings for some political purpose. We take the need for creative privacy, one instilled by growing up in separation, into morose, mental issues.
My PV of EJB is rather simple. She was more intelligent and observant than anyone around her, including Charlotte. And she was supressed by CB. To counterbalance being third (after BW), to counterbalance the limited place for an independent female mind in that historic time period, she built her own world. It was all she had that was hers. CB was an intruder. AB was a welcome guest. When CB found EJBs poems, wouldn’t you go ballistic at that prod of private space? If CB and and AB were supposed to be so scared of EJB why would CB make such a brazen act and get caught or confess?
Beyond, EJB had no need for an external life or the intellectual contraints of imitation, such as what Brussels offered. It was a dead world for her. She had the Ghost Stories from the kitchen, from Tabby, from the conduit of Parsonage visitors, from Yorkshire to inspire her. She’d already been to London. There was no there there in any of these theres.
She saw the nature of things. She saw the truth
.Asbergers? you got to be kidding me. Not even close.