Jane Eyre and Class System

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Revolutionary Jane

In Brontë’s time, the Victorian era, class system still played a huge role in society. People of a certain class would often look down on people from another class. Class was something you were born into. It was almost impossible to shift from one class to another. In the novel Jane Eyre, Brontë presents a very revolutionary character in that aspect. Charlotte Brontë is critical about the class system and tries to show that through Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is not influenced by the social class system, because she shifts between several classes, has a strong character which enables her to ignore the traditions of the class system, and she does not judge others on their class, but rather on their character. Jane is
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This shows that Jane has a different view from the traditional one, namely that she thinks that women are equal to men. At a later stage in her life, when she inherits twenty thousand pounds from her uncle, she also reacts different from the traditional standards. She wants to divide the money equally with her nephew and cousins (Brontë 505). However, St John calls this “contrary to all custom” (Brontë 507), because normally someone from a lower class would keep the money for himself. So Brontë shows that she has a critical view on the social class system by presenting Jane’s revolutionary character, and letting her break through the traditions of the class system. She is not influenced by the social class system, because instead of being fixed to one class, Jane changes from one class to the other. She starts out as a working class girl being raised in a middle class environment, and shifts back and forth until she finally ends in the middle class. She also evaluates people on their character instead of their class, and her strong personality enables her to ignore the standards of the social class.

Works Cited
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. London: Penguin Books, 2009. Print
Godfrey, Esther. “ “Jane Eyre”, from Governess to Girl Bride.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 45.4
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