Emily and Anne had small roles in these tales. By , Emily and Anne had created a kingdom themselves, and later created another, Gondal, about This creative activity bonded the two youngest siblings, making them more independent from Charlotte and Branwell. She lasted three months, and returned home, with her younger sister, Anne, taking her place. Back home, without either Charlotte or Anne, she kept to herself. Her earliest dated poem is from All the writings about Gondal from earlier or later times are now gone, aside from a reference from Charlotte to something Emily had composed about Gondal.
She found the work grueling, working from dawn until nearly 11 pm every day. After just six months, she returned home, quite ill again. Instead, she stayed at Haworth for three more years, taking on household duties, reading and writing, playing the piano. Eventually, the sisters began to make plans to open a school. Emily and Charlotte went to London and then Brussels, where they attended a school for six months.
They were then invited to stay on as teachers to pay their tuition; Emily taught music and Charlotte taught English. In October to their home for the funeral of their aunt Elizabeth Branwell.
In , Charlotte found one of her poetry notebooks and was impressed with the quality of the poems; she, Emily, and Anne finally read each other's poetry. The three selected poems from their collections for publication, choosing to do so under male pseudonyms. The false names would share their initials: Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.
They assumed that male writers would find easier publication. The poems were published as Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell in May of with the help of the inheritance from their aunt. They did not tell their father or brother of their project. The sisters began preparing novels for publication.
Critics would later find it coarse, without any moral message, a highly unusual novel of its time. The sisters' novels - Charlotte's Jane Eyre , Emily's Wuthering Heights , and Anne's Agnes Grey - were published as a 3-volume set, and Charlotte and Emily went to London to claim authorship, their identities then becoming public. Wuthering Heights was more Gothic than anything her sisters had written, with stark depictions of cruelty and destructive emotions. Its characters are, for the most part, unlikeable, and they serve as vehicles for severe critiques of Victorian-era gender roles and classism, among other things.
That harshness, combined with the fact that it was written by a female author, led to a harsh critical reception on grounds of both craft and, more often, morals. It also tended to be compared unfavorably with her sister Charlotte's Jane Eyre.
Some have speculated that the conditions at the parsonage were not so healthy, including a poor water supply and chilly, foggy weather. She declined quickly as the cold turned to a lung infection and, eventually, tuberculosis, but she refused medical care until relenting in her last hours. Anne managed to hold her second governess post for five years.
Charlotte and Emily both taught for the second time at the Pensionnat Heger in Brussels, where they were also students.
Emily quit after a couple of months and moved back into the parsonage, becoming the family housekeeper. Charlotte hung on a year longer, mostly because she fell in love with her teacher and colleague Constantin Heger. Heger grew distant. After many months of this, Charlotte quit. Back home, she toyed with the idea of starting a school in the parsonage with Emily and Anne, but poured her energy into increasingly desperate letters to Heger.
He replied intermittently and formally. But in her next novel, Jane Eyre , and her last, Villette , she put her work history to spectacular use. She expressed her outrage at the degraded status of governesses and teachers. She condemned the isolation and vulnerability of a woman who goes into the world to make her own way.
The daughter of writer Hannah Moore was also in attendance. She had an income of her own. The Brontes of Haworth. She became a teacher at the Law Hill School in September , but she left her position the following March. Elizabeth died soon after their return home.
She let loose her feelings for Heger, electromagnetizing the novels with sensuality. Both Jane and Lucy struggle to draw the line with seductive superiors who persistently violate professional boundaries, for good and for ill. Charlotte was indignant when her first mistress demanded that she add sewing to child care, requiring her to make doll clothes and stitch hems on sheets.
As a governess, Jane Eyre hides behind her stitching when she wants to watch rather than talk. Chesteron once remarked. It is true that Emily observed her male characters and their world with cold eyes and uncommon understanding, granting moral complexity and moments of grace to the nastiest of them—and the men of Wuthering Heights could be exceedingly nasty. Nelly is the trusted housekeeper who tells a visitor, Mr. Lockwood, the story of the destruction of two families by the vengeful foundling Heathcliff.
As it happens, she sews while she talks. Critics used either to praise Nelly as a woman of moral integrity or to dismiss her as a simpleton; in any case, they treated her as negligible. It has only belatedly dawned on readers that Nelly is an unreliable narrator. Read in a certain light, her story seems to be hinting that it was she who sabotaged the families as much as or even more than Heathcliff. If so, she did this by skillfully deploying the two main weapons of the household help: obscurity and ubiquity.
Did she just make a lot of bad calls, such as to take one instance withholding information that could have prevented the tragic separation of the lovers Cathy and Heathcliff? Or was she—raised alongside Heathcliff as a foster child, and then, like him, forced into service—exacting her revenge? Emily would have scoffed.
She had no particular compassion for victims and was too good a writer to believe in heroines.