Villette Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Villette

Lucy Snowe leaves England and a lonely past to become a teacher in a French boarding school in Villette. There, she confronts her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses romances involving Dr. John and two quite different young women. She also finds a love of her own in M. Paul, another teacher at the boarding school. The novel's ambiguous ending leaves Lucy's future to the reader's imagination.
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The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Wood

"While I looked my inner self moved; my spirit shook it's always fettered wings half loose; I had the sudden feeling as if I, who had never truly lived, were at last about to taste life..."

A repressed Victorian woman, Lucy Snowe, tries to leave an unhappy past behind her and sets out on a journey of self-discovery. With only her faith in the notion that "a way will be made", she leaves England and travels to Belgium, to the cosmopolitan city of Villette, where she gets a job teaching English in a school for girls. She distances herself to avoid any chance of being hurt, but, she is forced out of her role as an "observer" and must face passionate feelings for two very different men-- Fire and Ice--who seem to have conflicting opinions as to her true nature. She figures out which is her soul-mate and finds a love "far better than common" which "honored, protected, and elevated, no less than it gladdened her to whom it was given." Though not without trials (understatement) Lucy, armed with this love, learns to live.
The review of this Book prepared by Wendy

Villette is a story about a girl, Lucy, who is basically alone in life. The books is broken down into two "books". Never really knowing her family, is raised by an aunt. Lucy, upon reaching an age where she must fend for herself, having no income, ventures out into the world with no connections or knowledge of where she will go, hoping to earn a living as a teacher or governess. Her venture begins the second "book" within Villete. Lucy happens upon a young women on the ship across the channel from England and follows her to Villette (Brussels). There, Lucy wonders and find herself a situation to become a teacher in a boarding school. During her time in the school, Lucy learns about people, her devotion to her Protestant religion as well as love, and her desire to become self supporting. In the end, Lucy learns finally finds true love and is given the chance to start her own school.
The review of this Book prepared by Amy

Villette is a wonderful book, by Charlotte Bronte, which all should read. It is the story of a young woman growing up in a comparatively hard life, who allows things to just happen. All who have read Jane Eyre and loved it as much as I did must read Villette!
The review of this Book prepared by Shira Brandwein

Chapter Analysis of Villette

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   fighting matchbreaker (parents/authorities) Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Life of a profession:    -   teacher Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   British    -   French    -   Dutch Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book)    -   religious issues Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   France

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Villette

Charlotte Bronte Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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