The Victorian Era was known for its propriety, and for its social standards that could be as strict as the caste system in India. Citizens in England of low social regard faced many prejudices and limitations that could be almost insurmountable to overcome. Much like the caste system, people considered to be the dregs of society were often alienated and had little room for opportunity. In Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, the main character, Jane, suffers social prejudice because she is a simple governess, revealing much about the social stigmas about the working class during the Victorian Era. Jane’s social status limits her not only from being with the one she loves, but also hinders her endeavor to achieve true autonomy.
Bronte’s feminist ideas radiated throughout her novel Jane Eyre. There were many strong and clear examples of these ideas in Bronte’s protagonist, Jane, her personality, actions, thoughts and beliefs. From the beginning of the book, Jane’s strong personality and her lack of following social expectations were quiet clear. “Women of the Victorian era were not part of a man’s world, as they were considered below them.”(VanTassel-Baska, 4) The class divisions between a man and a woman were very distinctive. Jane however ignored this. When Jane first met Rochester, the whole scene presented a feminist portrait of Jane. A women walking alone in that era should never address a man, but Jane went out of her way to help Rochester stating that “if you are hurt, I can help” (Bronte, 98), Jane even let him place a hand on her shoulder. Jane believed that “women were supposed to be very calm generally, but women felt just as men felt” (Bronte, 116), which showed her perseverance and persistence in being independent and proving that men should be equal to that of women. This was of
Throughout the novel, Bronte recognizes both the male and the female as equivalent in terms of what is needed to establish true bonds in relationships. By refusing to accept the idea of marriageability and suitability, she has denied society’s objectification of women. Bronte exemplifies that love should be the true bond that individuals should strive to discovery. Through Jane’s behaviors power cannot be given to her male counterpart Rochester. Instead a balance of power is formed. Consequently, through Jane’s need to be seen and appreciated as an equal the torment that she endures strengthens her character and allows her to become an independent woman versus the naivety that is seen in women conforming to social requirements. Rochester tries
“Look at the difference!” Mr. Rochester urges Mr. Woods and Mr. Briggs to compare Jane Eyre’s “clear eyes” and “face” with Bertha Mason’s “red balls” and “mask” (p. 311). It is obvious that Rochester’s comments on his new lover are a lot more positive than those on his first wife. From his point of view, Jane is a pure angel whereas Bertha is a raging beast. Rochester further overstates the contrast between Bertha and Jane by dehumanizing the former into a “demon” and “bulk” while giving the latter human characteristics and “form” (p. 311). Nevertheless, Rochester overlooks the connection between the two women who marry him in succession. Bertha, the most enigmatic and problematic character in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, is in fact Jane’s
The way she is educated make her mind confounded to the principal's men think women ought to be. Through her education, she has learned how to sing, play the piano, memorize quotes from books and present herself in an appealing way to men. She is not taught anything beyond this. Blanche does not win the heart of Mr. Rochester because she cannot entertain his mind.
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).
Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre embraces many feminist views in opposition to the Victorian feminine ideal. Charlotte Bronte herself was among the first feminist writers of her time, and wrote this book in order to send the message of feminism to a Victorian-Age Society in which women were looked upon as inferior and repressed by the society in which they lived. This novel embodies the ideology of equality between a man and woman in marriage, as well as in society at large. As a feminist writer, Charlotte Bronte created this novel to support and spread the idea of an independent woman who works for herself, thinks for herself, and acts of her own accord.
The Victorian Era encompassed a time of great discrepancy between the sexes, especially for women. The polarization of gender roles reflected on a basis of gender sexuality where men and women were granted certain advantages and disadvantages. Women were expected to realize a specific position in society based on morals of submission, passivity, and a complete lack of selfishness and independence. Constrictive notions such as these prevent individual expression and expansion. Therefore, while struggling to fill the pre-conceived expectancies of society, one forces true desires and happiness to pass as a scant priority. Charlotte Brontë's Victorian novel, Jane Eyre, explores the significance of individual fulfillment in an oppressive
In Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre, Bronte seemingly condemns the existing social hierarchy. Not only are the characters who are most concerned with the allure of fortune and rank portrayed as either deceitful or unethical, but even characters who’ve accepted their means of poverty and demonstrate honest moral natures are mocked. Rather than use the normal class structures, the book suggests that a person of impoverished means can be viewed as socially respectable with the condition that they maintain a sincere desire to better both oneself and their means of living.
Furthermore, Jane says “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself” (Chapter 27, Bronte.) This statement greatly represents the growth that Jane has undergone. She no longer dreads the solitude that once haunted her because she respects herself enough to realize that she did not deserve to experience such great dismay. Through independence and self-recognition, Jane has discovered the importance of loving oneself. Without the reliance on the thoughts of others, the once extremely troubled girl found bliss through a lack of outside control. In regards to her relationship with Mr. Rochester, Jane understands that she must leave him behind to maintain her own well-being. She does not allow the wealth or proclaimed love from Rochester to skew her decisions and she does not linger to dominate the life of her lover. Instead, she moves forward to continue her endless pursuit of happiness and independence.
Femininity runs throughout the work of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. A variety of figures illustrate behaviors that Jane observes growing up. There are a number of positive role models that portray how to be a woman not just in the 19th century but in modern-day time. On the flip side there are role models that exemplify socially and morally unacceptable traits. Jane is a growing embodiment of both the good and bad mystique. But is there a right way to be a woman? The good of one person reflects on the rest of the population. What more for a woman to act one way and have it represent the rest of her kind? During Jane’s childhood, Mrs. Reed and Ms. Temple establish two distinct platforms of femininity. One platform values the virtues of compassion
Charlotte Bronte created one of the first feminist novels--Jane Eyre--of her time period when she created the unique and feminist female heroine, Jane Eyre. Throughout the novel, Jane becomes stronger as she speaks out against antagonists. She presses to find happiness whether she is single or married and disregards society’s rules. The novel begins as Jane is a small, orphan child living with her aunt and cousins due to the death of her parents and her uncle. Jane 's aunt--Mrs. Reed--degrades her as she favors her biological children. Jane 's aunt--Mrs. Reed--degrades her as she favors her biological children. Her cousin--John Reed--hits her and then Mrs. Reed chooses to punish her instead and sends her to the room in which her uncle
Before she can become Rochester 's wife, Jane must prove her acceptability based on class. Does she have an upper-class sensibility, despite her inferior position at Thornfield? For example, when Bessie sees Jane at Lowood, she is impressed because Jane has become "quite a lady"; in fact, her accomplishments surpass that of her cousins, yet they are still considered her social superiors based solely on wealth. The conversation emphasizes the ambiguities of Jane 's family 's class status and of the class system in general: Should a lady be judged based on academic accomplishments, money, or family name? The novel critiques the behavior of most of the upper-class characters Jane meets: Blanche Ingram is haughty and superficial, John Reed is debauched, and Eliza Reed is inhumanely cold. Rochester is a primary example of upper-class debauchery, with his series of mistresses and his attempt to make Jane a member of the harem. In her final view of Thornfield, after Bertha has burned it down, Jane
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is a coming-of-age story about an unconventional woman's development within a society of strict rules and expectations. At pivotal moments in Jane's life, she makes choices which are influenced by her emotions and/or her reason. Through the results of those choices, Jane learns to balance passion and practicality to achieve true happiness.