Sunday, June 29, 2008



Charlotte was the oldest of the three Bronte sisters. Growing up in Victorian England, Charlotte and her sisters were inspired by the Romantic authors of the particular era. Charlotte used the pen name of Currer Bell when she wrote. One of the more famous works of Charlotte Bronte was “Jane Eyre”. Along with Jane Eyre, Bronte wrote several poems.
I read Charlotte’s poem about her sister, Emma’s death. I believe she is using the four seasons as the different parts of Emma’s life. In the first four lines of the poem she writes:
"Sister, you've sat there all the day,

Come to the hearth awhile;

The wind so wildly sweeps away,

The clouds so darkly pile…”
In this passage I believe that Charlotte is referring to it being cold at night and her sister has sit looking outside, waiting and wondering when she could go outside and play. I believe this is when Emma was just a small child. Charlotte invited her sister to come and sit with her next to the fire because the wind is blowing the clouds to a thick, dark look.
In the last paragraph of this poem Charlotte writes:
“The snow will whiten earth again,

But Emma comes no more;

She left, 'mid winter's sleet and rain,

This world for Heaven's far shore.

On Beulah's hills she wanders now,

On Eden's tranquil plain…”
This is the clear statement of the end of Emma’s life. It appears from reading this passage that Emma died before the last snow of the season. When she writes that the snow will come again, but Emma [Emily] will not because she has left the world and goes to heaven where she is wondering threw Beulah and through Eden. Emily did die in December, many times before the first snow.
There is no doubt to me that Charlotte loves her sister and will miss her now since she has died. She talks about how her sister will be missed now she had died. She refers to how her sister filled her heart with happiness because they played together in the fields. Charlotte talks about being on and eternal journey to see her sister Emma again. Walk with her for eternity.
I personally would like to have a relationship with my siblings like Charlotte and her sisters have. I would like to think that my siblings would write such compassion about their love for me, as Charlotte wrote about her sister.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


EMILY BRONTE 1818-1848

Emily Bronte was one of the three Bronte sisters who wrote poetry and literature during the Victorian Era. Emily worte under the pen name of ELLIS BELL.

Emily’s wrote in a masculine muse. She wrote in a manner that many male poets wrote during this period of time. The personal tone used by Emily in My Comforter describes the thoughts she has hid or “concealed” in her soul in the 'light that lies hid from men' and its 'gentle ray' cannot be controlled by a male driven system or by a male God.
Emily’s poetry focused on the betrayals of body and mind. Emily sought to find answers to questions that the Victoria Era society did not allow her to ask. Emily’s religious symbolism as well as her spirituality shown a form of an unorthodox atheism, indentifying God as the universe. While Emily still continued to attend a church “whilst sitting as motionless as a statue”, she appeared to be there just to appease her family and the society she lived in.
Emily was many times referred to as the oddest of the Bronte sisters. She appeared to believe that God was just the creator of the universe. This was similar to what we today believe to be associated with Darwinism.
In Emily’s poem, When I Shall Sleep:
So said I, and still say the same;

Still, to my death, will say—

Three gods within this little frame

Are warring night and day:
I believe that she is saying that when the symbol “I” sleeps the same thing that fight when sleep is occurring, the “three Gods” are constantly fighting inside the mind. I believe that Emily is saying that the “three Gods” are the body, mind, and soul. She symbolizes these in may of her other writings she had written.
I also read “A Death-Scene, which was written by Emily. In this poem there is no doubt, at least in my mind, that the poem is about a person named “Edward”. In line 9 Emily writes this when she writes:
Edward, awake, awake--

The golden evening gleams

Warm and bright on Arden's lake--

Arouse thee from thy dreams!

Beside thee, on my knee,

My dearest friend, I prayThat thou, to cross the eternal sea,

Wouldst yet one hour delay
This is definitely about trying to wake Edward from his eternal sleep on Earth so that he can cross the lake. I believe that Emily is referring to a person on their knees trying to preach or pray that Edward will cross “the eternal sea” so that he can introduce himself to God, who is the universe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

John William Colenso


I found John Colenso very intriguing in his writings and interpretation the first five books of the Bible. Colenso was a controversial Anglican Bishop in South Africa. He studied the Zulu language and translated some of the Bible and Anglican prayer books into the Zulu.
When Colenso argued the accuracy of The Pentauch, or the first five books of the Bible, he argued that sinners may not have eternal grace, he began questioning the religious teachings of the Bible. Colenso wrote “ The common Papist rests his faith on the supposed infallibility of his Church…” I believe that Colenso is referring to the Lord as the church in this writing as the minister who is teaching the words of the Bible to his followers. I think that Colenso is saying that in his translation of the books of the Bible that the Church is not teaching what the Bible actually is saying, they are teaching their interpretation of the Bible. In my opinion, Colenso is essentially contradicting himself in this writing.
Further into the writing Colenso believes that the Bible was written by several different authors. Colenso wrote “…if Moses wrote the story of the Exodus; because, we are told, he himself personally took a careful census of the people, the results to which, for each tribe, are set down exactly…” Knowing that Colenso translated the books into Zulu, it is easy to know he is talking about the people of Moses instead of the tribe of Moses. I believe that he is trying to say that Moses did not write Exodus because he did not write exactly how many people he carried through. I believe Colenso is referring to the rounded number of people that Moses took through instead of saying 145,412 or a number similar to this.
Later when Colenso was writing about the book of Deuteronomy, he writes”...and we took all his cities at that time ; there was not a city, which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars, beside unwalled towns, a great many. In addition, we destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon. King of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city…” I read that Colenso is believing that the this land could not be taken because these cities were protected. I read that Colenso believes that Moses would have known this if he had written the book himself.
On page 269, Colenso continues to talk about how there are several different recollections of how “…we have an account of Abram's going into Egypt because of a famine,— of his persuading his wife Sarah to call herself his ' sister,' because he dreaded the consequences of her beauty, — of Pharaoh's taking her into his harem, being plagued and at length dismissing him honourably.” Another recollection Colenso refers to is “… Isaac and Eebekah. Isaac goes to Abimelech, king of Gerar, because of a famine :And the men of the place asked him of his wife, and he said, she is my sister; for he feared to say, she is my wife, lest the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah for she was fair to look upon.” When I read these passages, I seen where Colenso is talking about how in one book it was Abram going into Egypt because of the famine, and in another book it was Isaac and Eebekah going to Gerar because of a famine. I read that Colenso is trying to say that whoever wrote this would know what happened and would be able to accurately report on it. I believe that this is being lost in the translation between English to Zulu.

Sunday, June 22, 2008



Robert Browning was born May 7, 1812 in London England. He was a master at playwright and an English poet who was accomplished in dramatic verses. By the age of 12, Browning had written a book of poems, but was unable to get these poems published because of his age. Robert later destroyed the book because the poems were not published.
When he was 33 years of age, he met a female poet by the name of Elizabeth Barrett. He met and courted Elizabeth secretly because her father essentially forbade Elizabeth from seeing or befriending anyone other than her family. They were married approximately one year later after the two of them eloped.
I believe that Robert Browning wrote Meeting at Night to talk about his relationship and later secret marriage to Elizabeth Barrett. I believe that the poem is about his dating Elizabeth in secrecy from her father. When Browning wrote:
“The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap…”
In this passage, I believe that he is referring to his elopement to Italy. An island that is surrounded oceans that have dark waters. Knowing a little about Italy, I feel that I was able to understand this. If I had knowledge of the geography of the towns that they two of them lived in or where they secretly dated, this may be an area like what is described here.
Later in the poem, Browning writes:
“Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!”

In this section, Browning is talking about a dark, deep location where he went to met with Elizabeth after he came to the Barrett residence, tapped on a window until a match lit a light. They talked at a low whisper to avoid being heard, while yet being excited, and scared at the same time. Things were a lot better once they were together and they hearts beating together, “…two hearts beating each to each!”
When I read Parting at Morning, the sequel poem to this poem, I was able to see how Meeting At the Night was just the start of he and Elizabeth’s relationship. While it is believed that Meeting at the Night was written prior to the elopement and Parting at Morning was written after the marriage.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Many poets and writers believed have labeled Elizabeth Browning as the most significant woman poet to come from the Victorian Era. I found where she was considered the front runner because of her romantic lyrics and her feministic themes that she wrote. Our textbook writes “…Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the first to show English readers the enormous possibilities of a poetic tradition in which women participated on equal terms.” Pg. 529, lines 47 and 48.
Browning was married to Robert Browning who was not as famous as she was. They were secretly married in 1846 in London. Elizabeth and Robert eloped to Italy to marry. Her health was not the best when she married Robert but with the help of the climate in Italy she began recuperating and gaining some of her health back. Ms. Browning began to write even more and began writing the intimate details of her and Robert’s relationship.
Elizabeth Browning wrote Aurora Leigh in 1850, which was the longest poem she had written. This poem is about Aurora Leigh who wanted to work as an artist and had men who was constantly telling her what she was to and not to do. This was a consistent manner in which Britain had been up to this time. Women had previously not been able to be supportive, get a divorce, just to name a couple. This poem was about the social injustice that women were facing. The poem is about a woman who wants to be woman and a poet/artist at the same time. Throughout this poem, Browning portrays Aurora as a very tough and strong willed person.
In Aurora Lee, Browning wrote “…what you love is not a woman, Romney, but a cause: You want a helpmate, not a mistress, sir,” (546). I think Browning drives home her feelings here. I believe that Browning is saying that “Romney”s love is not a normal love; Romney’s love is a necessity. When she writes the next sentence, I believe that she is defining the necessity, a helper, not a lover.
I believe that Browning became so independent because of her father. I believe that Elizabeth lost herself in her education in hopes of being more independent after living with her father and seeing how meagerly they had to live after her father sold The End.
Elizabeth has been the reported to be the most renowned female writer from this era. Elizabeth was also at one time considered to be Poet Laureate, the first female to ever be considered for this position.
Barrett's poetry had a enormous impact on the works of Emily Dickinson who admired her as woman of achievement. Dickinson is one of many who has been impacted by Elizabeth Browning.
Browning and her husband spent most every waking moment together. They promoted each other's works and inspired each other's thoughts. Many believe that each of them complimented the other's writings.
Unfortunately, all perfect story book lives must come to an end. This story book ends with Elizabeth dying in Robert's arms on June 29, 1861.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


The Princess

In 1847 Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote The Princess along with several other prolific writings, such as The Brook, The Lady of Shallott, Idylls of the King, and In Memoriam. I believe after reading several of these poems that Tennyson described the gender roles which has been handed down through time.
In The Princess Tennyson wrote
“Man for the field and women for the hearth:
Man for the sword and for the needle she:
Man with the head and woman with the heart:
Man to command and woman to obey:
All else confusion.”
I believe that he makes it clear what the roles of men and women are very clear. Men are to work in the field to provide for the women to cook in the house over the fire. Men are to fight and defend while the women are to mend, both wounds and the clothing. Men are the chief authority figure, and the strong ones of the house, government or the leaders while women are the back bone of the household and show the children the compassion. I believe the final simply says that anything other than what was written is simply wrong and will not work.
I think in The Princess that Tennyson defines the biological differences between men and women. I think that Tennyson believes that the world must have males and females working together to make each part work. While Tennyson believed that one sex could not prosper with out the other sex, he believes that men and women have both the same morals, imagination, spiritual beliefs, and intellect. Without reading the rest of The Princess, one would not think this.
I believe that Tennyson wrote these works to empower women so that they could begin starting to get the education they wanted instead of being the person who just cared for the men and their families. I believe he wanted the women to be empowered to be able to get the education and start becoming an equal with the men. Because without a woman, a man was nothing, and vice versa. Tennyson wrote about how this was a different way of thinking when he wrote in The Princess “Such women, but convention beats them down:” This is saying that the conventional way of thinking about women is keeping them in a position that was inferior instead of allowing them to be empowered to do more that be a maiden.

While this was a different belief than what had been in the past where women were not thought of as a part of the family other than to produce children and do what the man said. I believe that in this writing as well as several of his other writings that he believes that in the biblical sense that men and women are designed to be different and separate, based on God taking the rib of Adam and making his mate Eve. But they are to be together as God’s word assures.
While reading The Princess, I felt that Tennyson wanted to maintain an interest in how the developments of his era were changing while remaining a voice, through his writings, for the society that he was hoping to change. I believe that he wanted women to become empowered and through his writings teach others that this needed to happen also.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fanny Kemble (1809-1893)

Fanny Kemble

Fanny Kemble was born in 1809 in England to an actor and actress which I believe led to the inevitable, her also being an actress. She lived her life during the Industrial Revolution. One of her first theatrical appearances was in 1829 when she was Juliet in her father’s production of Romeo and Juliet. She was also the first person to ride The Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
After Kemble’s ride on The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, she wrote a letter about her first ride on a steam engine. In this letter she wrote “…I felt as if no fairy tale was ever so wonderful as what I saw.” (page 491, line 16) I believe in this passage that she was referring to her ride on the steam engine being better than any thing she has ever imagined or thought about.
In this letter Kemble talks about how powerful and fast that the steam engine was when she wrote “…swifter than a bird flies…” Even though the textbook makes reference to an experiment with a snipe, with the travel speed of up to 35 miles per hour, the reference that the train traveled very fast.
Kemble traveled to New York with her father’s theater company. She eventually met Pierce Butler who would eventually become her husband. Butler was a southern man who was referred to as a “Southern Planter.” She moved to Georgia with Butler and gave up her acting career with her father’s theater company. While married to Pierce, Kemble kept a journal about her life in Georgia on a plantation.
After a rather short marriage Kemble and Pierce was divorced. Something that was not very common during this time. The era was becoming more progressive allowing for divorces. After the divorce Kemble returned to acting and reading Shakespeare.
The journal that was kept by Kemble during her marriage to Pierce was eventually published. Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation was published over objections and requests by Pierce’s family. It was believed that this journal was a real attempt to try and get England not to support the Confederacy. The journal made a link between the oppression of slave women and her own oppression in the legal and social systems during the 19th century in the United States.
She acted and wrote for several years after her divorce until she retired in Massachusetts. After retiring from the stage Kemble wrote several autobiographies of her life. Kemble eventually traveled back to London where she died in 1893 and was buried in a cemetery just outside of London.
I believe that Kemble’s writing helped enlighten England and others about how women were an important part of the society and how they could write and people read their works and them not be poetic. I personally liked was interested in Kemble because of the Georgia ties to her writings. Even though she was from Britain, she moved to Georgia and wrote with attempts to sway the English not to promote the Confederacy movement

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Felicia Browne Hemans (1793-1835)

Felicia Browne Hemans (1793-1835)

Felicia was born in 1793 in Liverpool, the same year The French Revolution began. Hemans died at the young age of 42. But in those 42 years she wrote numerous poems. Many believed that Felicia began writing at a very early age, between the ages of 8 and 13. After publishing her first poems, it was said that “"... our little heroine was exposed to the lash of a public critic - a useful animal enough, but one whom the superstitious infallibility of print exalts to a divinity."
One of my favorite pieces was “The Homes of England”. The first stanza was great and was written clearer that some of the other poets I have read. Hemans wrote “The stately Homes of England, How beautiful they stand! Amidst their tall ancestral trees, O'er all the pleasant land. The deer across their greensward bound Thro’ shade and sunny gleam, and the swan glides past them with the sound Of some rejoicing stream.” I believe that Felicia was talking about women in this poem. She talks about the nice homes and lives that were available in England. Women are more concerned with domestic life than men are.
Around their hearths by night, What gladsome looks of household love Meet in the ruddy light! There woman's voice flows forth in song, Or childhood's tale is told, Or lips move tunefully along Some glorious page of old.” I believe that Hemans talks about a mother who has their children gathered around the fireplace singing or telling a story to teach their children. A woman is the person who usually sings and has a beautiful voice.
The last stanza is a great summation of what women really are. Hemans’ description talks about how powerful women are and how they are the molds that people use in their lives that would be how we want to be. We want to be “Where first the child's glad spirit loves, Its country and its God!” I believe this how our psychology is made up. We always want to please our parents, especially our mothers. We always have a bond with our mother. Our father is not as forgiving as our mothers are. Mothers are the constant in a household. During this period, women stayed at home and taught the children. She was child’s first love, for the child was born to her. She was the person whom the child first bonded with. Her analogy used in the last stanza is a great example of how mothers can make their children strong through her love and nurturing.

William Blake

William Blake (1757-1827) Poet and Artist

William Blake wrote a poetic collection in 1789 called Songs of Innocence. Innocence was such a good word to use in the title of this collection because it was written from a child’s point of view. A child has been viewed throughout time as being the most innocent of innocent because they are seen as the purest.
William Blake wrote a poem labeled as “Little Lamb”. In this poem I believe there is a parallel drawn from the innocence of a lamb to the innocence of a child. The lamb is also symbolic in religion as the forgiveness of sin, to make pure or innocent again. In the first 11 sentences of this poem Blake writes several questions. These questions are “Little lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? …Making all the vales rejoice? Little lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee?” Each of these questions are essentially biblical in nature. I believe that the questions are asked to see if the Lamb, or child, knows who their maker is. In church we are taught at a very young age that God is our maker and he makes all things. I think the parallel is well drawn in this writing.
In a contrasting collection written by Blake in 1794 called “Songs of Experience”, the lamb becomes a Tyger (Tiger). In this writing, innocence is turned to evil. This poem is full of layers of rhetorical questions. The symbols used by Blake in this poem, leaves the reader to draw many conclusions about what is being said. When Blake writes that “…Tyger burning bright…” I believe that evil is not hidden and can sometimes be viewed clearly…”burning bright”ly While Blake talks about evil he also symbolizes God throughout the poem.
In “The Lamb”, Blake writes about the creation of a pure lamb that has the innocence of a child, while in “The Tyger”, Blake talks about the creation of evil. I believe that Blake is using irony between good (innocence) and evil. The poems still shows that the good is created by the same person who creates evil. “The Tyger” shows the rhetorical question by referring to who created the lamb in “The Tyger” showing that good and evil are created together and is in constant turmoil.