Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Introduction
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Plot Summary
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Themes
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Quotes
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Characters
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Symbols
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Anne Brontë
Historical Context of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Other Books Related to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
- Full Title: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
- When Written: Spring 1847
- Where Written: Haworth Parsonage, West Yorkshire, England
- When Published: June 1848
- Literary Period: Victorian Realism
- Genre: Novel
- Setting: 1820s, rural England
- Climax: Helen plucks a rose from a bush outside her window and hands it to Gilbert, with great ceremony. Gilbert nearly wastes the moment, taking the rose from Helen with very little show of emotion, and so she snatches it away and throws it outside, telling him that the rose represented her heart and he has, in effect, thrown it away. Gilbert, realizing that he could lose Helen if he doesn’t seize the moment, fetches the rose and proposes marriage. Helen accepts, and their years of frustrated and thwarted passion end in complete happiness.
- Antagonist: Arthur Huntingdon
- Point of View: First person from the points-of-view of Gilbert Markham and Helen Graham
Extra Credit for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Their Brother’s Keeper. Most scholars believe The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to be biographical in nature and that the character of Arthur Huntingdon is at least in part based on Anne’s brother Branwell, who suffered from alcohol and opiate addiction and whose death of tuberculosis at the age of 31 was precipitated by his dissolute habits. His erratic behavior was a constant embarrassment to his sisters, who were often charged with taking care of him and at times tried to cover up the worst of his behavior, which included setting fire to his bed.
Charlotte as Censor. Charlotte Brontë went on to become the most famous of the Brontë sisters, perhaps because she was also the longest lived. When The Tenant of Wildfell Hall appeared in print, Charlotte was one of its harshest critics, saying that Anne was not suited to write about the brutal realities of alcohol abuse and infidelity, but should instead stick to calmer subjects. A year after Anne’s death, the publishers of the book approached Charlotte to authorize a reprint. She refused to do so, claiming that she wanted to keep the book out of circulation in order to protect her sister’s memory from the attacks of readers and critics who, like her, were turned off by its depressing subject matter—but some believe she acted out of jealousy.