Jane is quiet and controlled, and her foil, Bertha, the wife of Jane’s love interest, is seen as a “lunatic,” but is also a metaphorical representation of Jane’s innermost thoughts and rage towards those who have ever dismissed her and/or controlled her. In the end, Jane is overcome by a burning desire to be free, and in claiming so, she describes herself as insane by saying “’I care for myself…the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself…Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be… I am insane — quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot,’” (Bronte, 408). In this selection, Jane explains how her self-suppression has led her to insanity. However, she mislabels her intuitive trust and desire to put
Throughout Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë uses the character Jane as a tool to comment on the oppression that women were forced to endure at the time. Jane can be seen as representative of the women who suffered from repression during the Victorian period, a time when patriarchy was commonplace. Brontë herself was affected by the time period, because according to Wolfe, she was deprived “experience and intercourse and travel.” (70) Thus Jane offers a unique perspective as a woman who is both keenly aware of her position and yet trapped by it despite repeated attempts to elevate herself and escape the burden placed on by her different suitors. Although superficially it seems that Jane wants to break away from the relationships that further
Throughout Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre is afflicted with the feud between her moral values, and the way society perceives these notions. Jane ultimately obtains her happy ending, and Brontë’s shrewd denouement of St. John’s fate juxtaposes Jane’s blissful future with St. John’s tragic course of action. When Jane ends up at the Moor House, she is able to discover a nexus of love and family, and by doing so, she no longer feels fettered to Rochester. Moreover, Rochester is no longer Jane’s only form of psychological escape, and thus Jane is in a position to return to him without an aura of discontent. At the end of the novel, Jane is finally able to be irrevocably “blest beyond what language can express” (Brontë 459) because she is “absolutely bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh” (459).
The novel in which Jane Eyre stars in can be seen criticizing many aspects of those times such as the role and nature of women, child negligence and social hardships for those in a lesser class. Jane Eyre’s alienation from society allows for a greater reveal of the story’s culture, values, and assumptions. It’s presented through the use of gender, class and character conflicts throughout the story. On multiple occasions, Jane is judged for the presented factors reflecting the type of society Jane lives in and what the times were like at that time.
While Bertha’s is most obviously apparent, Jane hides her wildness inside of her. However, both women face this unkempt part of them. For example, Jane says ‘‘They have a worth- so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane- quite insane; with my veins running fire and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs’’ (Brontë, 606). When leaving Thornfield, Jane feels as though she is crazy, just as Bertha is described simply a chapter ago. This wanton feeling pervades her body. Bertha is insane, and Jane feels just as uncontrolled. Jane also says that ‘‘I could not help it; the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain at times’’ (Brontë, 206). Jane’s need for adventure and change is reminiscent of young, beautiful Bertha who also wanted adventure with her new wealthy husband. Finally, ‘‘I lived with that woman upstairs four years, and before that time she had tried me indeed: her character ripened and developed with frightful rapidity; her vices sprang up fast and rank: they were so strong, only cruelty could check them, and I would not use cruelty’’ (Brontë, 584-5) . Bertha’s mental illness made her inhuman and society made her appear as a monster rather than a woman. Bertha’s disability is her wildness through and through, and though she cannot control it it will always be in her no matter what she does, just as Jane’s unrestrained
Violence is the most recurrent gothic convention used in Jane Eyre, which is prominent in Charlotte Brontë's effective development of the novel and the character of Jane Eyre, who, throughout this novel, is searching for a home in which she would have a sense of belonging and love which would ultimately resolve this exact unfulfilled need she had as a child. The neglect she experienced in her childhood is manifested in the way she is treated by her aunt, Mrs. Reed, as in the first page of the novel Jane Eyre admits: ‘Me, she had dispensed from joining the group, saying, 'She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance’’. This opening shows how there is a clear line of separation drawn between Jane and her relatives due to her complicated family background which consequently results in their reluctance to accept her into their environment. These complications lead to her maltreatment, which also adds on to the violence she experiences acting as a catalyst for the development of the character and her subconscious quest.
How can a girl, who started out with nothing, blossom into a well educated, generous, blissful woman? Well, in Jane Eyre, the main character overcomes all obstacles thrown at her and makes a great life for herself. From a miserable, orphaned young girl to a happily married, well educated woman, Jane Eyre transforms immensely throughout the novel. Through her many experiences in essential locations, she grows significantly at Gateshead, Lowood School, Thornfield, Marsh End, and Ferndean.
Question 2. Although Jane Eyre has taught herself to maintain a sense of self-discipline and self-control within society, everything about what she does is carefully managed so that she fits into the society in which she would like to be apart. Yet in spite of this Jane has a spirit of rebelliousness that sometimes represents itself in spite of Jane’s efforts, for example when she attacks her cousin John Reed after being pushed to her limit due to his mistreatment of her. Bertha Mason is in some ways a perverse logical extension of the way in which women, namely Jane in the novel have been pressured into a radical confinement of their emotions. Bertha Mason can be seen as representing Jane Eyre’s interiority and feelings of the injustice that women have to be condemned to a life of servitude and complacency. This way Bertha and Jane are similar in the sense that they both suffer a kind of confinement to a life that they don’t necessarily want. Both Bertha and Jane have a will to express themselves in a way that they are unable to do, in Bertha’s case because she is confined to the attic and people think she is insane, and in Jane’s case because she has been pressured by society to maintain the appearance of a respectable member of society.
Through a close reading of the selected passage of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, a reader can see that Jane attempts to separate herself from her decisions by personifying her emotions and giving them a specific voice, which strongly reflects the societal views of the time. At this point in the story, Jane has discovered, on her wedding day, that Mr. Rochester is still married to a woman named Bertha, and that woman still lives in his house. Distraught, Jane locks herself in her room and tries to decide what she should do. When she wakes up the next day, she is again confronted with what she needs to do in the wake of her discovery.
Women in Victorian literature often came to be seen as "the other" or in more direct terms, as somehow demonized. This is certainly true in Jane Eyre. Bertha Mason, Rochester's mad wife, is the epitome of the demon in the attic. By virtue of being the first wife she is in continually compared to Jane. Although there are parallels in plot and language between the two women, they are completely different people. In addition, Bronte also depicts other women throughout the novel as something to be feared. Whereas earlier in English literature, men were typically depicted as monsters, in the nineteenth century women came to be seen as threatening creatures. They entrap men through their
Throughout the novel of ‘Jane Eyre’ a colonialism and isolation are reflected throughout the novel, mainly through the treatment of Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre as she is cruelly locked in the attic due to her husband, Mr Rochester deeming her as insane. Bertha is described in a demon like manner whereas Jane represents a rebellious young woman who can be closely linked to a modern woman with the values and independence the contemporary readers possess. Jane does not represent any of the desired values by Victorians as Jane stands up to Rochester and acts as his equal rather than his lesser half. The presentation of Bertha being demonic was also highlighted by Solomon as she ‘represent[s] the flames of hell fire’¹ showing the devilish manner Bertha is presented in and the mistreatment of her as an individual, however, it also shows the historical views towards the mentally ill as Bertha isn’t seen to have a sickness but rather she is possessed. Fire is also associated with heat like Bertha as she is aligned with the ‘hot’ West Indies. Bertha is seen as villain as she constantly jeopardises Jane and Rochester’s future, however she can be seem to catalyse Janes personal development and self-awareness due to the positions Jane is left in due to Berthas presence.
Jane’s approach could be considered romantic and embodies conventional feminist concepts; she remains headstrong and stubborn in the face of injustice. The representation of Jane as a strong, independent woman upholds the belief that woman can achieve their goals. Jane does precisely this; she marries Rochester, becomes a part of a family as well as gains financial independence. The way in which Bronte represents Jane is emphasized through her narrative stance. The reader is presented with a firm and rebellious character, her diction is simple and assertive. She addresses the reader directly and is able to identify and challenge the problems she faces with determination. Furthermore Jane is able to identify and comment on how she feels woman are subjugated by their society; she denounces that “woman are supposed to be very calm generally: but woman feel just as men feel […]” (Bronte
In Jane Eyre, Bertha Mason is a symbol of female oppression, and the confining roles of women in marriages. Bronte depicts Jane as a young woman in attempt to set an example for others by dodging conformity, and expose false stereotypes, marriage and submission to Rochester are counterintuitive to her goals and morals. Bertha serves as a warning to Jane by displaying the effects of marriage. As a woman who had been oppressed and dominated because of her marriage, Bertha symbolizes the damaging effects marriage in a male dominated society on a woman’s individuality and sanity. Bertha is presented as the “madwoman in the attic” by Bronte, her insanity is a dramatization of the ramifications of marriage by personifying the thoughts of women in the victorian era. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Antoinette is tricked into a loveless marriage for monital purposes because of society’s views on femininity which is females are meant to be passive (Anderson, 1982). This common perception on women is what leads Antoinette and many other women to drift into unhappy marriages, and the greater consequence being they lose themselves due to their forced
In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the character Bertha Mason is a manifestation of the feelings that Jane cannot express, and thus acts as an alter ego. Every time Bertha acts, it is predicated by a strong emotion or what should have been a strong emotion on Jane’s part. In the Victorian Era, women were expected to follow strict rules and isolate themselves from the outside world. In order to be the “angel in the house,” women were expected to obey and not question their fathers and husbands. Societal expectations dictate that Jane cannot show the full extent of her emotions, particularly when Mr. Rochester is involved. As a result, she does not do so, and they come out in the form of Bertha Mason. Throughout the novel, some sort of action by Bertha closely follows Jane’s musings on her frustrations, her discontent, or her anger. When Jane recognizes her emotions, Bertha’s expression is mild. However, Jane fails to recognize fully her emotions in multiple cases and Bertha responds violently. Because Bertha represents emotions that Jane possesses but represses in order to meet societal expectations, Bertha and these emotions must be removed before she can marry Mr. Rochester. Therefore, Bertha is a key character because she represents an important aspect of Jane and prevents Jane from fulfilling societal expectations.