Gondal Stories

A blog of a bird with wings, without a cage to hold it, a citizen of all lives.


What better way to open this blog than by talking about the author who inspired its name? This week I decided to immerse myself in the world of Gondal first-hand but visiting it with the guidance of its goddess: Emily Brontë. I went to the cinema to watch the film Emily, a biopic of the famous author, directed by Frances O’Connor. I went expectantly to the cinema because what was the film going to present to me? What could the film tell me about Emily Brontë? It is known that the writer was a person characterized by her shyness and reserved nature, who spent her life quietly in the parsonage. In fact, the film highlights this trait of Brontë quite a bit, coming to represent panic attacks at the idea of ​​attending a social event or being a teacher. This trait, in the film, greatly irritated her sister Charlotte, who even told her that she was ashamed of her and that she was tired of hearing how others called her “the strange one.” Charlotte appears as Emily’s enemy (if we can qualify it that way), a love/hate relationship is drawn between the sisters, because Emily feels that her father expects her to be like Charlotte. If we cling to the testimonies of the sisters themselves and their relatives, almost everyone agrees that the sisters were quite close, although it is true that today Charlotte is blamed a lot for being Emily’s interpreter and there is also the question of whether she was the one who burned some of Emily’s writings, as it appears in the film (it should be noted that she does it at the request of her sister, made just a few minutes before she died), but this hypothesis is rather ruled out, since it is well known that there was a relationship of admiration and veneration between the sisters. And it is that having so little information about Emily’s life, it is not surprising that fictional licenses are taken, after all we have a historical character entangled in invented realities, in fiction. We do have truths, but we have intersections of fictions and truths sprinkled with invention. It is easy to play with the historical and we, the readers, like to contemplate it. The story is in the past and we do not always remember it completely (or it does not reach us completely), that is, there are gaps that we must fill in: did this person really say that? What happened next? How exactly did it happen? The emptiness of these questions is what fiction drinks from, where it camps to fill those gaps. Everything can be broken, rebuilt, and reread. Both literature and history drink from the same source: language. What literature tells is what could happen, and history tells what has happened, as Aristotle points out. Fiction rescues history, famous people so that they are not forgotten, gives the possibility of rebuilding society and culture.

The film is full of rescues from fiction in history and not only regarding her sister Charlotte, but also with her brother Branwell. We see reflected in the film a relationship of admiration between the two brothers and of course, Branwell’s various addiction problems are not ignored, but they show how Emily ends up following the rhythm of her brother’s life, carrying out typical children’s pranks, in fact, these pranks are the same ones we see in Wuthering Heights: the two go to spy through a window on the lives of the neighbours, until they end up being discovered and the neighbours go to talk to Mr. Brontë. I couldn’t help but see Cathy and Heathcliff looking through the Lintons’ window until they too are discovered. Emily, when she’s with her brother, is Cathy: free, childish, wild. Of course, the characters of Wuthering Heights are present in several of the protagonists: in Emily, in Branwell and in William Weightman. Who is this last character? he really existed, he was a helper in Mr. Brontë’s church, but, in the film, he is also Emily’s French teacher and lover (in reality, he is romantically related to Anne Brontë, although they never had a relationship). It is well known that Emily never showed any interest in the field of love, it is likely that this affair was put on in response to the question “how someone who has never experienced what love is could have written a love as passionate as Catherine’s and Heathcliff? Perhaps this affair and the pranks carried out with Branwell have been used as an explanation for Cathy’s character in the face of the disbelief of those who see it as impossible for a shy, lonely woman with no interest in love to have written a passionate love so well and captured so well the complex characters of Catherine and Heathcliff.
The film itself shows us the creative path of the sisters and their imaginative world. This fact is confirmed in a scene worthy of a horror movie: it is a simple role-playing game in which the participants had to put on a mask that Mr. Brontë owned. Emily decides to embody her mother and does it in such a sublime way that she gets the other participants (and even the film’s viewers) to be overwhelmed and notice the terror and disbelief in her flesh. It is a scene in which Emily looks like a medium, but what we are seeing is a manifestation of gothic and occult elements in her imagination, as we can well see in her only novel and in all her poetic production.

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