(In this post I share some of my thoughts after finishing chapter 17 in Shirley. Please be careful if you do not wish to be spoiled. You are welcome to come back and share your thoughts if you do get to reading Shirley. 😊)
“Oh, that is soon remedied!” exclaimed Shirley: “we’ll make him bid us good-bye.”
“Make him! That is not the same thing,” was the answer.
“It shall be the same thing.”
Miss Keeldar makes me laugh. I love how starkly different Caroline and Shirley are. Caroline is timid and reserved while Shirley is bold and speaks her mind. However, they both really appreciate one another and seem to compliment each other well.
One thought that has stuck with me since my last book thoughts post was, if Shirley was a representation of Charlotte Brontë “alter ego” and Caroline being a loose representation of her. From what I’ve read about Charlotte, she is often described as someone who was shy. I wonder if this was her way of speaking her mind, through characters like Shirley. I also found it interesting how one reader (Brontebabeblog) commented in my last post that she has noticed glimpses of Shirley from Charlotte’s juvenilia.
It’s been fun to read Shirley with this idea in mind, that perhaps Shirley is just stating what Caroline wants to yell after her disappointment with Robert Moore leaving without saying goodbye, “We’ll make him bid us goodbye.” Although, she does express her complete disapproval, about following after him to make him say goodbye, to Shirley afterwards. Which Shirley, seems to start picking up on Caroline’s odd distance towards her cousin, Robert Moore.
“I consider you very timid and undemonstrative,” remarked Miss Keeldar. “Why did you not give Moore your hand when he offered you his? He is your cousin; you like him. Are you ashamed to let him perceive your affection?”
One thing I am a little confused by is Shirley and Robert Moore’s relationship. I’m not sure yet if their relationship is more than friendly or strictly business. I can’t tell and I wonder if Charlotte Brontë created this ambiguity on purpose to create some kind of tension. It could be so because it has me quite intrigued.
Another thing that stood out to me was Mr. Hall. I like his character and how he responds to the dissenters who were trying to interrupt their march which of course Shirley was determined to teach them a lesson too:
“Bad manners!” said Shirley, “and I hate bad manners. Of course, they must have a lesson.”
“A lesson in politeness,” suggested Mr. Hall, who was ever for peace; “not an example of rudeness.”
I’m still trying to refresh my mind on some of the other characters since I stopped reading Shirley for a while. But it has been fun to pick it up again. I love how Charlotte Brontë does such a great job at helping us understand different characters so well and how they relate to one another, like Hortense and how she greeted Caroline:
“Hortense received her former pupil with a demeanour of more dignity than warmth. She had been seriously offended by Mr. Helstone’s proceedings, and had all along considered Caroline to blame in obeying her uncle too literally.
“You are a very great stranger,” she said austerely, as her pupil held and pressed her hand. The pupil knew
her too well to remonstrate or complain of coldness.”
Those are some of the things that have stood out to me in this chapter. If you would like to add or share your thoughts, please do. Thanks for reading!