What an astounding story! A boy is born into a dirt-poor family living in rural
Patrick and Maria's first two daughters, Maria (b. 1814) and Elizabeth (b. 1815), were born while they lived in the town of
Patrick became the pastor of the Anglican church in the small town of
What a sad story! At 29, Maria Branwell had already been socially condemned a spinster and marginal female when she married Patrick. She moved three times and gave birth to six children in seven years. Then she suffered and died of cancer.
In August 1824, Patrick sent his four older daughters to live and learn at the Clergy Daughters’ School about 40 miles (64 km) away in
How tragic! Patrick wants a proper education for his four precocious daughters. Socially ennobled but still financially marginal, he trusts them to a Christian school started specifically to meet his need and theirs. Members of the staff, and older students at the school following their dreadful example, betrayed his trust. Within a year, they had physically and psychologically damaged all four daughters and two of them had died as a result.
For inspiration, all four siblings devoured the daily newspaper and the handful of magazines, including Blackwood’s, to which their father subscribed. Articles in Blackwood’s and Byron’s poems inspired all four, especially Emily, to create Byronic characters who, like the man himself, dramatically embodied arrogance, intense emotion, sexual dominance, and downright wickedness. They also read the Bible, Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare,
She returned there, however, in July 1835 as a teacher. Emily went with her as a student but didn’t like it and returned home after three months. Once Emily returned, Anne took her place. Both Charlotte and Anne returned to
In April 1839 Anne tried working as a governess but she too returned by Christmas.
Branwell, after working briefly as a portrait painter in a nearby town, returned in debt but in time to join his family for the holidays.
In 1840 Charlotte and Anne returned to work as governesses.
In January 1843 she persuaded her employer to hire her brother Branwell to teach his now eleven-year-old son. Branwell eventually became the lover of his employer’s wife. In June 1845, when Anne discovered this, she resigned as governess without explanation and returned to
In 1842 Charlotte and Emily enrolled in a school in
By 1845 all four of Patrick Brontë’s surviving children, ages 25 to 29, were back at home unemployed and uncertain about what to do next.
During this time Branwell was at home with his sisters. He too worked on his first novel and got paid for writing several poems published in local newspapers. But depression and his addictions to alcohol and opium increasingly hampered his work.
By July 1846,
After the publication of Jane Eyre,
In June 1854