BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Literature

  1. Jane Eyre: A novel of resistance and rebellion? by Millicent Jarvis- Scott

    In this thoughtful and incisive essay, Millicent explores resistance in Jane Eyre. Featured Image is Jane Eyre by Liz Lux, flickr creative commons. Literature which can be described as rebellious and resistive should be willing to go beyond social norms in a revolutionary way for the time period, something I would argue that Bronte is successful in doing in her novel ‘Jane Eyre’. Even the action of writing ‘Jane Eyre’ in 1847 could easily be considered to be an action of resistance, against both a literary culture which placed less value on female narratives, and a society which reinforced these…

  2. Agnes and Adam: Emily and Anne Brontë’s Politics of the Animal Kingdom. An essay by Jack Probert.

    One of the brilliant entries for our Anne Brontë competition. Jack Probert expertly explores the animal kingdom in Anne and Emily’s works. Featured image is a sketch of Keeper, Emily Brontë’s dog, by Emily herself. In the work of both Emily and Anne Brontë, animals form part of a wider moral and political scheme in which both sisters examine the growing individualism of their own modern, industrial world. In exploring this, the distinction between wild animals and pets is crucial: for Emily, there is a separation between the animal and the human that Anne resists in her more compassionate approach…

  3. ‘Some Distant Heath’: A Collection of Poems by Ryan Robson- Bluer

    Based on the lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë [Featured Image: Moorland Derelict by Not So Dusty, Flickr Creative Commons] ‘Yet, though I cannot see thee more‘Tis still a comfort to have seen,And though thy transient life is o’er‘Tis sweet to think that thou hast been’ ‘A Reminiscence’, Anne Brontë. View From A Train Through The Yorkshire DalesIFor Charlotte, Emily and AnneI see three girls; barefoot, untethered,Bound proudly o’er both heath and stream;Through joyous splats of wind-blown heatherGo three, hand in hand, eyes agleam.Three dresses, torn by rock and thorn,Stitched up – restitched – and torn again,Whip wild ‘cross…

  4. ‘How do Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments reflect the relationship between America and Canada?’

    Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments (TT)(2018) has a curious relationship with its prequel, The Handmaid’s Tale (THT)(1985). TT seemingly expands on the world of Gilead by focusing on three very different narrative voices. However, this is not a ‘sequel’ in the expected sense of following on directly from THT. The 2018 novel does not give any clear details on the fate of Offred, the central protagonist of THT. Instead, it modifies our perspective on Gilead via narratorial multiplicity. This makes for a stark contrast to the rather isolated perspective of Offred in THT. Atwood is therefore able to provide a closer…

  5. ‘A commentary on sight, knowledge and identity in Ovid’s tale of Actaeon in the Metamorphoses.’

    As she splashed his hair with revengeful drops, She spoke the spine-chilling words which warned of impending disaster: ‘Now you may tell the story of seeing Diana naked – If story-telling is in your power!’ No more was needed. The head she had sprinkled sprouted the horns of a lusty stag; The neck expanded, the ears were narrowed to pointed tips; She changed his hands into hooves and his arms into long and slender Forelegs; she covered his frame in a pelt of dappled buckskin; Last, she injected panic. The son of Autonoe bolted, Surprising himself with his speed as…

  6. Silence, Speechlessness, and Freedom in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

    Nathaniel Hawthorne’s  The Scarlet Letter (1850) is a portrait of life in 17th Century Puritan New England. This follows Hester Prynne, who has borne a child through an affair, and explores her struggle to find peace and freedom despite the hardships she faces as a result of Puritan law and expectations. ‘Silence and speechlessness’ is intrinsically linked to constraints placed upon inhabitants of New England. Conversely, deliberate silences, choices of speech and other forms of expression are associated with being outside the geographical and social boundaries of the Puritan town, and are used by Hawthorne to explore the possibility of…

  7. The Harlem Renaissance poets and identity

    The Harlem Renaissance was a time of flourishing cultural, artistic and social development in Harlem, New York, during the 1920s. The neighbourhood of Harlem was claimed to encapsulate a productive sense of living together and creativity. There is some confusion about a clear definition for the movement as it derived from overlapping phenomena. The term ‘Negro Renaissance’ arose in the early to mid-1920s to signify a general cultural awakening and moment of recognition.[1] However, there is a distinction between the sense of a ‘Black Renaissance’ and ‘Harlem Vogue’: the emancipation and revolution of black creativity versus the interest of white…

  8. ‘Lifting the gauze’: How Walt Whitman connects with Americans in Song of Myself

    Almost two centuries after his birth, Walt Whitman remains one of America’s most respected and well-loved poets. But why is it that we continue to feel such a connection to this 19th-century man and the words he wrote? The ideas of connection and unity are ones I will explore in relation to Whitman’s work. Whitman’s treatment of the concept of the soul is particularly important in addressing boundaries, or lack of them, within ‘Song of Myself’. The poet perceives little distinction between his own soul and those of others, particularly in the line “Clear and sweet is my soul, and…

  9. Bodily Experience in D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers

    Bodily experience often seems difficult to adequately portray in literature, given its subjectivity. However, D. H. Lawrence’s novel Sons and Lovers arguably attempts to forge a style of writing centred on sensation. Despite exploring abstract notions of spirituality and the unconscious, Lawrence grounds his narrative in the experience of the body in a way that may be linked to his status as a ‘Modern’ writer. We may consider Hugh Stevens’ question of Lawrence’s novels: ‘can fiction be modernist when it aims to help us to recapture a premodern…relationship with nature and with our own bodies, and dissolve boundaries between the…

  10. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: A response to Gove’s English syllabus reforms

    Michael Gove recently caused somewhat of a furore with the announcement of his plans to remove American Literature from the GCSE English Literature syllabus, discarding John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in favour of Austen and Dickens. One fellow English Literature student wailed, ‘Now kids will never know about Atticus Finch, and that is just wrong!’ Much as their melodramatic anguish made me laugh, I could neither refute that their point was valid nor that I was equally infuriated by Gove’s decision. That is not to say that Charles Dickens is anything short…