Jane Eyre Essay examples

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Jane Eyre and the Lovemad Woman

I was experiencing an ordeal: a hand of fiery iron grasped my vitals. Terrible moment: full of struggle blackness, burning! No human being that ever lived could wish to be loved better then I was loved; and him who thus loved me I absolutely worshipped: and I must renounce love and idol. (311; ch. 27)

Jane Eyre’s inner struggle over leaving an already married Rochester is the epitome of the new "lovemad" woman in nineteenth-century literature. Jane Eyre is the story of a lovemad woman who has two parts to her personality (herself and Bertha Mason) to accommodate this madness. Charlotte Bronte takes the already used character of the lovemad woman and uses her to be an outlet for the confinement
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Through her "tryst" with Heger, Charlotte could certainly identify with the emotions of a lovemad woman. She was rejected by her "lover" and can be seen as almost mad because of the emotions that she projects into her writings due to this "affair." Charlotte also was well read on the psychology of the time. She attended medical lectures and would have discussed such with her father Patrick Bronte (Small 155). Charlotte eventually settled for her father’s curate, Mr. Nicholls, as her husband, though initially she did not love him (Winnifirth 111).

Through the events of Charlotte’s life it is easy to see parts of her in the characters of Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason. Charlotte uses Bertha as a rebellious outlet for not only Jane but for herself as well. The feminist critics Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar clearly summarize this phenomenon when they state "By projecting their rebellious impulses not into their heroines but into mad or monstrous women, female authors dramatize their own self-division." (Gilbert and Gubar 78). In other words Charlotte has Bertha as a sort of scapegoat that she can express her true rebellious feelings without demeaning herself or her heroine. Charlotte makes Jane different from Bertha in the end because Jane uses her will to overcome her madness and ultimately gets the happy ending that neither Bertha nor Charlotte herself, it seems, were able to obtain.

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