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Between ‘the disorderly comfortless home’ and ‘the beau-ideal of domestic comfort’: Domestic Interiors and the Self in three Brontë Novels

Sanghera, Amandeep Kavita Kaur (2019) Between ‘the disorderly comfortless home’ and ‘the beau-ideal of domestic comfort’: Domestic Interiors and the Self in three Brontë Novels. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Drawing on the work of cultural theorists regarding the impact of domestic surroundings on an inhabitant’s psyche, feelings and states of mind, this dissertation develops the notion that novelists carry forward this association into their fictional creations, in terms of plot and, more specifically, of character. This real, psychological relationship is, at times, a means for advancing a plot in a desired direction, but is also narrative device for dramatically enhancing a character’s responses in a given dramatic situation. The authors’ employment of domestic interiors in relation to their fictional creations, the rooms’contents and their attributes –doors, windows, hearth, furniture –are props in a reflexive relation to those characters, telling a reader more about a character’s behaviour but also about the potential meanings of the domestic items.

In this light, this dissertation reinterprets three novels by the Brontë sisters, the main focus being on female characters in their domestic surroundings. Chapter One also discusses the chief male protagonists in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and the manner in which they come to embody the nature of their environment. The central text of Chapter Two is Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, where the eponymous Jane’s reactions to her situations are re-analysed to reflect her relation to her various homes as both fluctuate with the arc of the narrative. Finally, Chapter Three deals with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë and the various signals embedded in the text to signify the main character’s responses to her changing domestic conditions.

As well as uncovering autobiographical dimensions in the novels under discussion, the thesis concludes that the authors employ these dramatic devices –influencing and reflecting behaviour and state of mind –to allow their female characters to develop transgressive coping strategies.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
Depositing User: Rebecca Hill
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2019 12:44
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 14:59


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