Category Archives: Australian lit

A Love Measured in Black and Blue

Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? Isolated authoress writes tale of violently consuming love, inspiring future isolated authoress to write tale of violently consuming love. Repeat. It would seem that limited experience of love and passion leaves much room for the imagination. Is domestic violence defined so in the intent? Bronte writes of Catherine and Heathcliff’s final bodily encounter:

“while raising himself with one hand, he had taken her arm with the other; and so inadequate was his stock of gentleness to the requirements of her condition, that on his letting go, I saw four distinct impressions left blue in the colourless skin” (140).

Bronte’s antipodean successor and fan, Miles Franklin, writes:

“For answer, he took a firmer hold, in one hand seizing my arm above the elbow, and gripping my sholder with the other so tightly that, through my flimsy covering, his strong fingers bruised me so severely that in a calmer moment I would have squirmed and cried out with pain” (Franklin 2004, 159-160.)

Franklin’s account develops Bronte’s motif with far less inhibition, relating:

“on disrobing for the night, I discovered on my soft white shoulders and arms – so susceptible to bruises – many marks, and black. It had been a very happy day for me” (Franklin, 2004, 166).

Ever-enlightening, our Facebook group – thanks Row! – has drawn cynical (but no less accurate) links between late adolescent violent-stalker notions of sexiness and the Twilight franchise, with Meyer capitalising on this long tradition. However the cynic in me feels that isolation and spinsterhood make the violent fantasies so much more desired and intense for their lack of experience by the creator. Reality rarely lives up to fantasy. Stephenie Meyer, a SAHM capitalising on adolescent inexperience (with vampiric clichés thrown in to double-trend), seems kind of disingenuous by comparison, with none of the fetishism of the lonely.

Bronte, Emily. 2009. Wuthering Heights. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Franklin, Miles. 2004. My Brilliant Career & My Career goes Bung. Sydney: Harper Perrenial.