Helen's Cruelty

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Helen’s marriage to Huntingdon causes her become a shell of her former self. Her temper seems to flare more often than not, and she finds herself close to despair at most times. She can know that technically she must remain married to Arthur, but in her heart she has left him and become a single woman. Not only does her husband not value her enough to stay faithful to the vows that mean so much to her, but he is willing to share Helen with other men that he finds worthy. When Lowborough finds out about the affair between Huntingdon and his wife, Annabella, he asks Helen how long she has suffered from the news, to which she replies, “‘Two years ago; and two years hence you will be as calm as I am now, - and far, far happier, I trust, for …show more content…

I believe that if Helen would have stayed with Arthur, her situation could have very likely ended up like the one mentioned above. Norton writes, “If the wife sue for separation for cruelty, it must be “cruelty that endangers life or limb,” and if she has once forgiven, or, in legal phrase, “condoned” his offences, she cannot plead them; though her past forgiveness only proves that she endured as long as endurance was possible” (457). If Helen were to sue for separation, I am not sure that she would have won, and things would most likely get much worse for her. Helen would have to keep living with her abuser in the same house until either he died, or he killed her. Running away might not have been the most socially acceptable option for Helen during the Victorian era, but it kept Helen and her son alive. When Arthur goes through Helen’s things and reads her diary, he does not seem troubled about the fact that he may be losing his wife, or that she is immeasurably unhappy because of him, but that he would be shamed. He says, ‘So you thought to disgrace me, did you, by running away and turning artist, and supporting yourself by the labour of your hands, forsooth? And you thought to rob me of my son too, and bring him up as a Yankee tradesman, or a low, beggarly painter?’ ‘Yes, to obviate his becoming such a gentleman as his father’” (Bronte 311). He does not care that he is losing Helen,

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