Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Tuesday, September 01, 2020 10:31 am by Cristina in , ,    No comments
The Sydney Morning Herald recalls an anecdote involving a mask:
I read recently of a widower who had a unique method of dealing with his children. He’d shut the door of his study and pull out a mask - like a full face mask, perhaps made of fabric, or a white Phantom of the Opera style one, I don’t know.
The child would put the mask on and the father would (and in my imagination the father is seated in a leather wing-back) begin to ask the child questions to try to ascertain how the child was really feeling, what he or she thought about their siblings, if the punishment he as a father was giving was fair.
Sound strange? Perhaps. But perhaps this factual story of Mr Brontë and his child-raising techniques with his future famous children, Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell, have more in common with today than at first glance.
Mr Brontë believed the mask enabled truth-telling.
Mr Brontë tapped into something in the psyche in the 19th century that is still prevalent today. It’s helped me understand the recent experience of Melbourne actor Shane Jacobson, who has been targeted for appearing in a government ad encouraging people to wear a face mask during the pandemic.
A mask, whether literally or metaphorically, can liberate the consciousness and the mouth of its wearer so they say things they wouldn’t ordinarily say. I connect the physical mask of Mr Brontë’s with the mask of the screen. Some, naturally, would argue that being behind this screen encourages bravery. There is a body of blogs, websites and rants that can support and attest to this; people sharing vulnerabilities online with ease and are well received, encouraged and supported in doing so. Some users of social media in this manner even gain popularity the more they disclose of their selves, warts and all. (Belinda Lyons-Lee)
G (Czech Republic) has an article on the Brontë sisters. Mary Vee shares pictures inspired by Jane Eyre.

Finally, this month's Treasure from the Brontë Parsonage Museum on The Sisters' Room is Anne Brontë’s collection of pebbles.


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