We begin our exploration of Charlotte Brontë’s writing with the narrators whose voices speak in her novels. The narrators make a good starting point for our analysis because they are crucial to the impact of the novels. We can think about the way they present themselves and tell the story, and the mood they establish. At the same time we will see how they introduce us to other characters and to themes which we will develop later on. In this chapter, we will study three extracts in detail, one from the early pages of each novel, and try to see how they prepare us for what follows. We will be concentrating on what is being expressed, and how. Even at this stage, however, we can begin to think more broadly about what the author is trying to do, and how well she is achieving it.
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