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Shirley | Opinião - ShirleyShirley is a woman of independent means; her friend Caroline is not. Both struggle with what a woman's role is and can be. Their male counterparts - Louis, the powerless tutor, and Robert, his cloth-manufacturing brother - also stand at odds to society's expectations.

Autor: Charlotte Brontë    
Editor: Wordsworth Books Ltd. 
Género: Romance
Páginas: 528
Original: Shirley (1849) 


“but your mind, Caroline - your mind is crushed. Your heart is almost broken; you have been so neglected, so repulsed, left so desolate” - 320

Embora prefira o bem mais melodramático Jane Eyre, acabei por gostar também deste segundo livro que leio de Charlotte Brontë. É certo que a autora se demora a narrá-lo, mas Shirley não é, de todo, um livro complexo e acaba por se ler muito bem. Admito que gostei mais do livro pelos personagens – pela empatia que fui compelida a sentir por eles e pelas suas ideias – do que propriamente pela história dos mesmos, mas o contexto histórico em que se insere e a preocupação demonstrada pela posição da mulher na época, enriquecem bastante o livro.

É muito fácil simpatizar de imediato com a jovem Caroline e com as suas ideias. Caroline, deseja simplesmente ocupar-se; ocupar o seu tempo e mente de forma útil. Embora reconheça que uma atividade laboral pudesse trazer algum cansaço, Caroline sabe que traria também algum sentido e propósito à sua vida. Ao contrário das senhoras da época, Caroline não se contenta com bordados, costuras nem visitas de cortesia à vizinhança. Quer aprender um ofício, ser e sentir-se verdadeiramente útil. No entanto, com o tio como único suporte, tal nunca será possível. Por seu lado, Shirley é independente, ativa e empreendedora; isto porque tem dinheiro suficiente para fazer o que lhe der na real gana. Shirley e Caroline tornam-se grandes amigas… e apesar destas diferenças elementares não é difícil identificarmo-nos, simpatizarmos e compreendermos ambas.

Charlotte Brontë desenvolve não um mas dois romances em simultâneo, povoando-os com personagens memoráveis e desenrolando-os numa época muito interessante em que os patrões desejavam automatizar os seus sistemas de trabalho mas viam as suas tentativas frustradas pela pressão e violência dos trabalhadores em revolta.

Frases Preferidas

“Misery generates hate” - 23

“Suspense is irksome, disappointment bitter.” - 62

“Nothing refines like affection. Family jarring vulgarises; family union elevates.” - 66

“Alas, Experience! No other mentor has so wasted and frozen a face as yours, none wears a robe so black, none bears a rod so heavy, none with hand so inexorable draws the novice so sternly to his task, and forces him with authority so resistless to its acquirement. It is by your instructions alone that man or woman can ever find a safe track through life's wilds; without it, how they stumble, how they stray! On what forbidden grounds do they intrude, down what dread declivities are they hurled!” - 74

“You expected bread and you have got a stone: break your teeth on it, and don't shriek because the nerves are martyrised; do not doubt that your mental stomach - if you have such a thing - is strong as an ostrich's; the stone will digest. You held out your hand for an egg, and fate put into it a scorpion. Show no consternation; close your fingers firmly upon the gift; let it sting through your palm. Never mind; in time, after your hand and arm have swelled and quivered long with torture, the squeezed scorpion will die, and you will have learned the great lesson how to endure without a sob. For the whole remnant of your life, if you survive the test - some, it is said, die under it - you will be stronger, wiser, less sensitive.” - 79

“however old, plain, humble, desolate, afflicted we may be, so long as our hearts preserve the feeblest spark of life, they preserve also, shivering near that pale ember, a starved, ghostly longing for appreciation and affection.” - 138

“Sincerity is never ludicrous; it is always respectable. Whether truth - be it religious or moral truth - speak eloquently and in well-chosen language or not, its voice should be heard with reverence. Let those who cannot nicely, and with certainty, discern the difference between the tones of hypocrisy and those of sincerity, never presume to laugh at all, lest they should have the miserable misfortune to laugh in the wrong place, and commit impiety when they think they are achieving wit” - 139

“I will bestir myself,' was her resolution, 'and try to be wise if I cannot be good.” - 140

“Men and women never struggle so hard as when they struggle alone, without witness, counsellor, or confidant; unencouraged, unadvised, and unpitied” - 141

“nobody should write poetry to exhibit intellect or attainment. Who cares for that sort of poetry? Who cares for learning - who cares for fine words in poetry? And who does not care for feeling - real feeling - however simply, even rudely expressed?” - 169

“those silly deeds it distresses the heart and sets the face on fire to think of: one of those small but sharp recollections that return, lacerating your self-respect like tiny penknives, and forcing from your lips, as you sit alone, sudden, insane-sounding interjections” - 172

“Affection, like love, will be unjust now and then” - 187

“I’ll borrow of imagination what reality will not give me” - 226

“But indolent she is, reckless she is, and most ignorant, for she does not know her dreams are rare - her feelings peculiar: she does not know, has never known, and will die without knowing, the full value of that spring whose bright fresh bubbling in her heart keeps it green.” - 291

“but your mind, Caroline - your mind is crushed. Your heart is almost broken; you have been so neglected, so repulsed, left so desolate” - 320

“Look Life in its iron face – stare Reality out of its brassy contenance” - 368

“’How dare you,’ ahe woukd ask herself – ‘how dare you show your weakness and betray your imbecile anxieties? Shake them off, rise above them. If you cannot do this, hide them’” - 369

“those are better off who, being destitute of advantage, cannot cherish delusion” - 385

“too mutinous for heaven, too innocent for gel” - 390

“There she is, a lily of the valley, untinted, needing no tint. What change could improve her? What pencil dare to paint? My sweetheart, if I ever have one, must bear nearer affinity to the rose: a sweet, lively delight guarded with prickly peril. (…) Beauty is never so beautiful as when, if I tease it, it wreathes back on me with spirit. Fascination is never so imperial as when, roused and half ireful, she threatens transformation to fierceness. ” - 390

“I believe - I daily find it proved - that we can get nothing in this world worth keeping, not so much as a principle or a conviction, except out of purifying flame, or through strengthening peril. We err; we fall; we are humbled - then we walk more carefully. We greedily eat and drink poison out of the gilded cup of vice, or from the beggar's wallet of avarice; we are sickened, degraded; everything good in us rebels against us; our souls rise bitterly indignant against our bodies; there is a period of civil war; if the soul has strength, it conquers and rules thereafter.”  - 402

“No man – no woman – is always strong, always able to bear up against the unjust opinion, the vilifying unguarded feelings”- 415

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