Representation of the Other in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

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Representation of the ‘Other’ in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre


This study aims at examining the representation of the’ other’ as portrayed in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1847). It attempts to inspect how the ‘Other’ is viewed in Nineteenth century England and the cultural ideology behind such specific representation. It poses crucial questions as to why the ‘Other’ is always represented negatively in main-stream western narrative as in the case of Bertha Mason who is portrayed as a madwoman and a voiceless monster that deserves a ten-year- rigorous confinement in the Attic. I will attempt to focus on the cultural and historical context of ‘Jane Eyre’ and its impact on the representation of the’ Other’. I will also draw on
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Therefore, there is a great importance to focus on the ways in which meaning is produced and reproduced as the result of a particular discourse. According to Donnelly,' Discourses are sets of experiences that are displayed through language, they are ways of referring to or constructing knowledge about a particular topic of practice'. (2002:57). We come to know that representation is a form of discourse and it involves social conventions and unequal power relationships and that some people have more power to speak than others. Edward Said observes that the contemporary Western View of the Orient as an outsider and an inferior part of the West is manifested in the academic sphere. Western scholars use Oriental images and ideologies to consolidate the intellectual awkwardness of the' Other' .In other words, these views of the Orient are attempts to portray the superiority and intellectuality of the western status. (Said,1979). For Spivak, representation is not only a matter of ‘speaking about’ but also ‘speaking for and the role of literature in the production of cultural representation shouldn’t be ignored. (Spivak, 1988). She argues that many western writings ,for example Jane Eyre ,have not adequately portrayed the reality of the colonized 'Other' and tend to exclude the voices of the 'Other' where she concludes that the
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