Personal growth is an essential element of human development and progress. However, even though there are countless opportunities for the characters in Thomas Hardy 's novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge, to embrace and experience this necessary growth, there is an absence of such personal advancement and progress. Ultimately, the decisions and actions of Michael Henchard, Lucetta Le Sueur, Donald Farfrae, and Elizabeth Jane all demonstrate repetitive qualities and a lack of character development which either assist or hinder the justice and moral order of the characters’ fates. Throughout Hardy’s plot driven novel, the true personalities of the characters shine forth based upon their responses to the obstacles that they face or the repercussions of their actions. Some of the characters such as Elizabeth Jane and Donald Farfrae stay true to their own morals and beliefs as a way to demonstrate their altruism. However, other characters such as Lucetta and Henchard stay consistent in their own lies in the hope of personal embetterment that only leads to destruction. Even though Henchard attempts to repent and move past his previous faults by refraining from alcohol for twenty-one years after selling his wife Susan and child Elizabeth Jane, remarrying Susan after she returns to Casterbridge, and pursuing Lucetta after Susan dies to cover up their scandal together, Henchard lacks the dignity to move past the lies and the scandals of his past life. Therefore, when faced with an
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During the 19th century female authors were commonly degraded especially when books had a sexual nature. A now notable biography from this period is Charlotte Brontё’s “Jane Eyre”, a detailed account of the life of a young girl that blossoms into adulthood having to face the challenges and social norms of the time. In many works of literature a character intentionally deceives others to either hurt or offer protection. In “Jane Eyre” a character intentionally deceives a loved one with the intention to protect everyone including himself. This particular deception plays a large role in developing the characters of the narrative and the plot development, contributing to the work as a whole.
Throughout the course of history, social hierarchies have existed across the globe, spanning from prince to pauper or business tycoon to lowly scrivener. Authors, in turn, have written works regarding social class, often examining the negative effects of societal structure on personal growth. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre takes place in Victorian England, in the age of industry and genesis of industrial capitalism. The novel’s protagonist, Jane, first lives a life of neglect, then a life in poverty, and eventually finds her happy ending. Through Jane’s personal experiences and interactions with fellow characters, Brontë analyzes the effects of social class. Professor Chris Vanden Bossche’s article analysis “What Did ‘Jane Eyre’ Do? Ideology, Agency, Class and the Novel” examines social inclusion and monetary pressures placed on the central characters during this pivotal era of English history. Through the Marxist lens, Jane Eyre can be understood in terms of complexity and character motives. Vanden Bossche effectively argues that external forces, like money and people, both motivate and repress Jane into choosing her own path. Thus, a more developed explanation is made for Jane’s various behaviors regarding social inclusion and societal rebellion.
Fitting with the common theme between the two novels of the judgment of others, each heroine falls victim to a horrible misjudgment of the character of another. After discovering that the engagement between her brother and her friend Isabella has been broken, Catherine finds she has grossly misjudged her friend’s character, and thinks, “She was ashamed of Isabella, ashamed of ever having loved her” (Northanger 150). Elizabeth, on the other hand, finds her attachment the Wickham wholly inappropriate after receiving her letter from Mr. Darcy. After digesting the shocking contents of the letter, Elizabeth “grew absolutely ashamed of herself.—Of neither Darcy nor Wickham could she think, without feeling that she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd” (Pride 156). And indeed, as suggested by Elizabeth’s mention of Darcy, this misjudgment goes on to affect each girl’s attachment to her future husband.
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.
With the coming of age of Catherine and Heathcliff, the hapless families of Earnshaw and Linton brave the storms that brew between them and realize that they must rise up to meet what they have forced upon themselves. Foremost, the main characters, Catherine, Heathcliff, and Edgar are never quite as they appear to be, and are constantly changing in both dynamic and static ways. For example, Catherine is the one who changes the most. As she states, “In my soul and in my heart, I’m convinced I’m wrong … I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind,” (p. 79). This expresses how she feels as if she has been
In the novel, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë there were many incidents that had affected the overall plot of the book. Sometimes an author adds certain events or ideas to help accentuate the plot. In this novel there is a recurring theme of betrayal. The one that seems to be affected by the curse of betrayal the most is the main character, Jane Eyre, herself. Her first encounter with betrayal came about when she was still just a child. And as she grew older and experienced the world new ways unlike before, she could never escape the curse of betrayal.
For example in the prologue of the story, Douglas initially includes in his introduction of the governess the detail that she was the “youngest of several daughters of a poor country parson” (James 4). Douglas’ mention of this minor fact is crucial to understanding the fundamental psychology of the governess. By considering the fact that the governess was raised in an environment of an “English middle-class class-consciousness” it is shown that a result of this is the development of “her somber and guilty visions and the way she behaves about them.” Inevitably, her upbringing through the taboos of the Victorian-English time period has ultimately led to her “inability to admit to herself her natural sexual impulses and the relentless English ‘authority’ which enables her to put over on inferiors even purposes which are totally deluded and not at all in the other people’s best interests” (Gale 3).
Daneen Small ID: 108886157 HIS 268 Professor Robert Chase Extra Credit Essay: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Frank Capra’s production of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town exemplified many themes of the 1930s. This romantic comedy touched on wealth and inequality during the Great Depression. It also incorporated gender relations and the role of women during this time period. At the beginning of the film when Deeds is approached by John Cedar about his inheritance, Deeds doesn’t react as one would usually.
In Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Arthur Huntington, Helen’s husband and Arthur’s father, is presented as an alcoholic, disgraceful, narcissistic “gentleman” (Brontë 311). Despite Helen’s efforts to shelter their son, Arthur, from the corrupted masculinity embodied by Huntington and his friends, Huntington encourages Arthur’s “manly accomplishments” that mirror his own character, such as excessive drinking, swearing, and selfishness (297). For fear of Arthur becoming “a curse to others and himself”, like his father, Helen has acquitted herself to prepare for an escape; however, Huntington seizes her journal which reveal her plans (203). In this passage Mr. Huntington is not only devaluing aspect of his corrupted masculinity,
A husband who will be able to help her assure a stable status in society. This, from all of her faults is what exasperates me the most. She uses her looks as an asset to aid her in getting ahead in life. Despite all of this, as a reader, I was still hopeful to see her regain her status, and through her desperation I was even expecting it. Nonetheless, despite the strained circumstances in her life, she is still too snobbish to compromise her sensibilities and settle for Mr. Gryce or Mr. Rosedale. Throughout the whole novel her pride got in the way of her making the right choices. Had she been able to put that aside she would have been able to marry Seldon, despite the fact that he was a working man and she would have been able to put a stop to the rumors that arose regarding the affair with George Dorset. Unfortunately however Edith Wharton had another fate planned out for our beloved protagonist. The ambiguity of the ending not only left me with more questions but also destroyed the hope I had for Miss. Bart and
Men and women during the nineteenth century were thought to have completely different natural behaviors with men featuring characteristics ideal for the public world while women were suited for a private world. Women were generalized as being weak, emotional subordinates that were in all respects dependent on men (Radek). It’s important to recognize that women and men were expected to demonstrate, “traits [that] are generally polar opposites,” to one another in order for a marriage to function properly (Radek). Any woman that expressed a desire to break free from these expectations was ostracized for their defiance. The main protagonist, Jane Eyre, embodies a spirit destined to defy the social expectations of her time in a multitude of ways. Not only does Jane represent the strength and wisdom that women can display, she takes action striving for her own personal happiness. Despite a powerful love affair, she refuses to ever allow her desires to become, “completely controlled by the men,” in her life as society informed her to, but rather pursues what she believes will be the most beneficial for her own journey (Smith). A woman with the audacity to make decisions with this mindset is unheard of during this time which emphasizes the complexity of Jane as a character. Bronte utilizes this evolving character to contest the common stereotypes that modified the perception of women and created a society that provoked limitations upon
In Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, rejection and reconciliation is a consistent theme. During the Victorian era, Michael Henchard, a common hat trusser, becomes Mayor of the town of Casterbridge, Wessex. However, his position does not prevent him from making a series of mistakes that ultimately lead to his downfall. Henchard’s daughter, Elizabeth Jane Newson, is affected by her father’s choices and is not spared any disappointing consequences. In the novel, the characters of Henchard and Elizabeth Jane both experience the pain of rejection in its different forms and discover reconciliation from that rejection.
Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular novels written by Jane Austen. This romantic novel, the story of which revolves around relationships and the difficulties of being in love, was not much of a success in Austen's own time. However, it has grown in its importance to literary critics and readerships over the last hundred years. There are many facets to the story that make reading it not only amusing but also highly interesting. The reader can learn much about the upper-class society of this age, and also gets an insight to the author's opinion about this society. Austen presents the high-society of her time from an observational point of view, ironically describing human behavior. She describes what she sees and adds her own
In the mid-1800s, Michael Henchard and his wife Susan, who carried their daughter Elizabeth-Jane, were walking down a path seeking a place to lodge for the evening. Stopping at a county fair tent, the family decided to eat furmity, Michael Henchard (who possessed a quick-temper and a drinking problem at the time) decided to slide the cook extra money to spike his meal. After this point, the situation rapidly got out of hand and Michael Henchard sold his wife and child to a sailor for five guineas. This was the shocking first scene in Thomas Hardy’s novel, Mayor of Casterbridge, published in 1886. To proceed with the story and jump ahead almost two decades, Susan and Elizabeth-Jane sought out Henchard (since the sailor was lost at sea and believed to never return) in the town of Casterbridge, where they discovered that he was Mayor. From this point on, the husband and wife reconciled their differences, married again, and started new beginnings together. However, things took a turn for the worse ever since the two women materialized back into Henchard’s life. Throughout the novel, Donald Farfrae, a man Michael requested assistance from, availed in every aspect over Mr. Henchard, causing a expeditious downfall to the latter. Their differences included love, success, popularity, fortune, and authority.
The impact of Henchard’s fluctuating self-concept is seen in the different ways that he treats Elizabeth-Jane. His attitude towards her moves from warm and caring to cold and distant and back again. While he believes that he is Elizabeth-Jane’s biological father, Henchard is warm and caring towards Elizabeth-Jane. This can be seen by them taking frequent walks together. He, however, does not show his full affection to Elizabeth-Jane though actions such as kissing her cheek because he is viewed as her stepfather by the townspeople and by Elizabeth-Jane herself. After Henchard convinces Elizabeth-Jane that he is her biological father, he reads a posthumous letter from Susan saying otherwise. Instead of feeling joy at being able to show his full affection the next day “…it was no less than a miserable insipidity to him now that it had come” (Chapter 19, para.34). The change in his self-concept of himself as her biological father cast a shadow over their budding