The Lesser Bronte?

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm the youngest of four children, so I've experienced my fair share of sibling rivalry over the years. I may have brought some (or most of it) upon myself, but having siblings inevitably means that you will be compared to them. My siblings and I are all pretty different people and those differences have become more apparent as we've gotten older. Hopefully, we're all past the need to compare and compete.

But what about famous siblings who have similar (or exactly the same) kinds of careers? It's pretty hard not to compare them to each other. In my house we jokingly like to refer to one of the siblings as the "lesser" one. Let me give you an example of what I mean:

Scott and Rob Niedermayer

If you couldn't tell from the pictures these brothers are both hockey players, but one is better than the other. Scott (on the left) has won four Stanley Cups, the Norris Trophy (Defensive Player of the Year) and the Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP). Rob has won just one Stanley Cup. Maybe it's not fair to compare the number of Stanley Cup wins since hockey is a team sport and everything, but let's looks a couple of key points:

1) When Scott won the cup in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils they defeated the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim...Rob's team.

2) When Rob finally did win the cup in 2007 he did so with Anaheim. That same year Scott won his fourth cup, also as a member of the Ducks.

3) Scott was the MVP of the 2007 Playoffs, not Rob.

So, you can see Rob did finally win, but it took his brother coming to his team to get it done. Poor Rob. Or as we like to call him in my house, The Lesser Niedermayer.

And there are other examples I could throw out: Beyonce and Solange Knowles, Haylie and Hilary Duff, Peyton and Eli Manning...I'm sure there are other good (and some far more talented) examples.

Anyway, my whole point is that sometimes one famous sibling can overshadow another to the point that people miss out on some really great things that the lesser sibling has to offer. Case in point, Anne Bronte.

Poor Anne never gets any of the attention or praise that her sisters, Emily and Charlotte, have received over the years. In high school most of us had to read Emily's Wuthering Heights and Charlotte's Jane Eyre, but did you ever have to read anything that Anne wrote? Probably not. Can you even name one of Anne books? I doubt it. And, honestly, that's a shame. Over the past few months I've had the opportunity to read two of Anne's novels and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by them both. Both Agnes Gray and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall are engaging stories, with great characters and superior writing. And while the literary significance of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre are much discussed and highly lauded, the social commentary Anne offers in her works should not be overlooked.

So, please, if you get the chance check out some of Anne's work. And while you're at it look into some of the other lesser siblings out there. You might find that you enjoy their talents more than those of their "superior" family members.


Regina said...

Mandy, I really enjoyed this post. I had never heard of Anne Bronte until your "other" book club added her to your reading list. Now, I can't wait to put her novels on my reading list.

The sibling thing is so true. Even in college, we nicknamed siblings in ROTC big- and little- (ex. Big-Caldwell and Little-Caldwell). At least there we only did things by age, not so much by who was more successful.

My sister and I tried to conquer this phenomenon by attending different schools. (You can't be the "lesser" if there's only one!) It actually helped a lot!

In any case...Anne Bronte will not be forgotten!

The Bright Side said...

YES!!!! We need to tell the world! Because I have read each Bronte sister and I LOVE Anne. I love how she writes, I love her social commentaries, and I just plainly love her stories! The other girls are good, but Anne is definitely my favorite!

marie said...

I'd say that you are a fairly superior lesser sibling! And don't you forget it!!