Headscratchers: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Did Anne Bronte agree with Helen's conclusions in the proposal scene, that Gilbert's modesty was really "false delicacy" and his restraint was not a sign of humility but of either "pride or indifference"?I know, I know, Death of the Author, but I would like to know if Anne meant for Gilbert's behavior to come across as reprehensible as Helen apparently finds it. In their meeting at Staningley, Gilbert's acting the way Helen taught him to act and basing his actions on her instructions from their last meeting. If Gilbert burst in eager to ask for Helen's hand and expecting a "Yes," I hardly think she would have been flattered and not told him he was being too proud and presumptuous (just like Walter Hargrave). Yet, she accuses Gilbert of pride for doing the opposite. Pride is when, like Mr. Darcy, you hesitate to ask a girl to marry you because you don't think she's good enough for you but eventually ask with no doubt of a "Yes." Gilbert hesitates to ask Helen to marry him because he doesn't think he's good enough for her. Did Anne have any of this in mind, or am I seeing things that aren't emant to be there? Is Anne deliberately contrasting Gilbert's restraint and humility with the violent professions of passion made by Mr. Huntingdon and Mr. Hargrave, or does Anne condemn him as much as Helen does? Edward Rochester and the cruel villain Heathcliff via Draco in Leather Pants but unjustly condemn Gilbert Markham as a Jerk Ass via Ron the Death Eater?