By Pauline Nestor (auth.)
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Extra resources for Charlotte Brontë
So, he is drawn to her treasured portrait, while he almost fails to recognise his father's: 'The gentleman was in the shade. I could not see him well' (8). He is orphaned and displaced, shunned by male worlds of power first in the form of his aristocratic uncles and then of his mercantile brother. He experiences the powerlessness of dependence, having his talents and knowledge devalued and effaced: 'What can you do? ' (13). In his exclusion from his brother's milieu he recognises the feminine component of his experience in which he is 'kept down like some desolate tutor or governess' (17).
Further, the teacher/pupil relationship while mirroring other inequalities of power actually carries within it the 36 CHARLOTTE BRONTE potential for equality. Of its nature it ensures that the teacher shares knowledge, the dispossessed becomes the possessed and, as happens with both Frances and Lucy, the pupil can become the teacher. Similarly Bronte's attraction to the intemperate Byronic hero is tempered by her inclination to feminise her heroes, stressing their 'feminine' or androgynous qualities and challenging in various ways a stereotype of masculinity.
He acknowledges the existence of deep feeling in Frances but he does so in language that repeatedly emphasises not passion but restraint: . . silent possessor of a well of tenderness, of a flame, as genial as still, as pure as quenchless, of natural feeling, natural passion- those sources of refreshment and comfort to the sanctuary of home. I knew how quietly and how deeply the well bubbled in her heart; I knew how the more dangerous flame burned safely under the eye of reason [my italics]. (149) THE PROFESSOR 47 It is difficult to separate the narrator from the creator in this repressive impulse for in many ways the depiction of Crimsworth's and Frances's relationship seems marked by Charlotte's determination to exorcise her guilt at the indulgence of her earlier romantic fantasies.