Mrs. Gaskell's book is the first biography written of Charlotte Bronte. Having the advantage of knowing the author and the problems facing a woman writer in the 19th century, Mrs. Gaskell painted the picture of a benevolent homebody who seems to have written in her spare time. She spends a lot of time describing the isolated Yorkshire moors where Charlotte grew up and the effects of the dominating human males in her family and their melancholy dispositions. She also talks about Charlotte's work habits.
When Charlotte became more well known, after the publication of Jane Eyre, Mrs. Gaskell underemphasizes her agressiveness and drive as these are qualities inappropriate for a 19th century woman. The book is important because it gives a contemporary's view of what Charlotte Bronte was like.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein