Finding a Voice

Ref: C3744545

We will discuss the themes, style and structure of Anne Bronte’s 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' and Alice Walker’s 'The Color Purple'. In 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' the novel’s heroine achieves self-determination; she also challenges early nineteenth century attitudes to love, marriage, the law, and the role of women. Celie, the central character in 'The Color Purple', is an African American woman who lives in the South. She survives abuse and develops her understanding of friendship, love and equality; she also becomes more aware of differing attitudes to God and religion. As well as discussing the novels’ themes and values, we will also look at the way the stories are told, methods of characterisation, the importance of the settings and the key features of the descriptive writing.

Course aim

We will explore the themes, style and structure of two moving and challenging novels that explores issues of love, gender and power. The texts are Anne Bronte's novel 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' and Alice Walker's novel 'The Color Purple'.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • The course is for anyone who is interested in Literature. There are no entry requirements apart from an interest and enthusiasm for Literature.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss the social, psychological and religious themes.
  • Analyse the methods of characterisation and the structure of each novel.
  • Comment on the themes and use of language in key passages
  • Discuss the historical, political and cultural contexts.
  • Develop listening and discussion skills.

How will I be taught?

  • Your tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning. You will be asked to take part in discussion. You will have the opportunity to introduce a topic, but this is not required.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Your tutor will give you informal feedback on your progress. You can contact your tutor by email if you need advice or feedback. If you feel shy about participating, your tutor will give you advice about how to build up your confidence.

What else do I need to know?

  • Please bring a copy of Anne Bronte's ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ to the first class. Your tutor recommends the Penguin Classics edition, edited by Stevie Davies.. At the first session we will discuss the themes, key contrasts of character, and the style in the first fifteen chapters.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • To prepare for the first class, please think about the themes, contrasts of character, the use of settings, and key aspects of the style in the first fifteen chapters of ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course information sheet

Finding a Voice


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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