1. What are some effects of the opening chapters about the Bronte family and Yorkshire landscape? Do they distract from the presentation of Charlotte's own life, or do they seem to present relevant information?
  2. What were limitations or biases in the materials available to Elizabeth Gaskell for examination? What important letters was she never able to read?
  3. What do you feel were some of Gaskell's motivations in undertaking the biography? Are there good features of the biography which result from her view of Charlotte as a suffering virtuous heroine?
  4. Do the letters suggest qualities of character which Gaskell does not explain or discuss?
  5. How can we tell the assumptions and biases of the biographer from the arrangment of the work? Does she intrude in her own voice with her own opinions, and if so, how do these seem different from those of her subject?
  6. Do you have the sense that we are watching the development of Charlotte Bronte's character? Does she undergo internal conflict or ambivalance?
  7. What effect do you think the fact that Gaskell was writing the life of a contemporary have on the tone and presentation of details?
  8. Do you recognize details form Bronte's novels which seem directly from her life? Are there patterns to the way in which Bronte alters her material to form fiction?
  9. Do you feel the biography gains in intensity? Do the letters receive the right amount of emphasis?