The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Page Count: 542
Published: 4/16/1996
This is the story of a woman's struggle for independence. Helen "Graham" has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage. Exiled to the desolate moorland mansion, she adopts an assumed name and earns her living as a painter.
3.6Overall Score

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

This book struck a cord very close to home for me. Having to deal with alcoholism within my own family and being a Psychology Major, I feel I can better relate to the struggles and emotions in ...

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This book struck a cord very close to home for me. Having to deal with alcoholism within my own family and being a Psychology Major, I feel I can better relate to the struggles and emotions in the story. The overwhelming theme in the book is a woman’s fight to keep her child safe while still struggling to come to terms with her relationship and responsibilities to her abusive husband. I saw this very struggle as a child growing up, so i’m very familiar with how damaging it can be and all of the ways it can play out.

One thing I’ve been seeing in other reviews is how a lot of people think that Graham is self-righteous in her feelings overall and for disliking and even demonizing Alcohol. I have to say I agree with her, on the alcohol part at least. Alcohol has it’s dangers and their isn’t any real or specific purpose for it. I guess it can help with anxiety (or other emotional problems)…but why not learn to deal with those than have to be dependent on a substance?

When considering the husband though, i’d be totally fine with her divorcing him and moving on. The thing with alcoholism is that it gets worse overtime. The first few times they drink, they feel ok but they start feeling guilty for whatever reason. Afterwards, each time they drink all the guilt and bad choices come back to them and they start to get angry. Soon, they feel so much guilt about all the drinking and all the anger, that drinking more is the only thing that can help them forget about it. That is until a trigger comes along and they remember. Unfortunately for Graham, she was the trigger. All of her husband’s friends and girlfriends were getting the best side of him, simply because they didn’t remind him of his bad choices or his responsibility. But as soon as he saw Graham, all of those thoughts can back. You can see some moments in their relationship where things are better or where it looks like it may be manageable, but without a drastic switch of mindset, there is no escaping alcoholism.

Graham was a very strong character. I liked how she stood up for herself (most of the time) and tried to protect her child. The times in this book was pretty oppressive towards women and all though I feel pretty independent and wouldn’t have a problem tossing him to the curb, i can appreciate Graham’s sense of duty. Alcoholic or not, she did love him, atleast in the beginning, and anytime you love someone, you want to help them…but sometimes, unfortunately, in the end, there just isn’t any help. I was happy to see that Graham was able to move on and atleast attempt a new life.

This was a great book overall and i’d recommend it to older YA readers and Adults. Be warned though that it can be triggering for substance, verbal and emotional abuse.

I'm an avid reader and love most all books, but my favorite genres tend to be mystery, adventure, science fiction and classics. Genres I tend to shy away from include romance, contemporary fiction and chick lit. If I’m not actually reading books, I’m probably at work shelving them at my local library.

One Comment

  • Jane

    I haven’t read this yet but will bear your comments in mind when I do – alcohol is such a strange thing isn’t it? A drug we all seem to be expected and encouraged to enjoy.

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