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KEV67

The Brontë bad boys

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Not the most original idea for discussion in the history of literary criticism. Nevertheless, a YouTube video by conservative social scientist, Jordan Peterson, on the subject of women preferring bad, or at least disagreeable, men over nice guys (who don't stand a chance) got me thinking. Branwell Brontë was a bad lad. Emily Brontë wrote Heathcliff as bad. Nearly everyone was bad in Wuthering Heights. John Sutherland, who wrote: Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Great Puzzles in Nineteenth Century Literature, wrote a chapter in which he explained why he thought Rochester bumped off a certain person who had been causing him stress and unhappiness. When Jane asked the landlord of the pub near Thornfield about it, the explanation sounded rehearsed, and since the pub landlord was financially dependent on Rochester, he is not going to accuse him of anything. Other than that, Rochester was obviously bad in matters of sexual morality (I hope that is not a spoiler). Anne Brontë wrote the Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It described a lot of bad, male behaviour by Arthur Huntingdon, mostly in the form of debauchery rather than evil. It is so vividly described I wondered where Anne witnessed it. Branwell could not have been that bad. However, it was the behaviour of Gilbert Markham that shocked me the most. He was a good guy, but he did something shocking. There were mitigating circumstances, and what he did does not compare with what Heathcliff, Rochester or Huntingdon did, but for some reason it made more of an impression on me. It definitely lowered him in my estimation, although I can imagine doing something similar myself in the circumstances.I thought it was a good bit of writing because I thought both Markham and his victim behaved very realistically,

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