Analysis of Jane Eyre

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Analysis of Jane Eyre

In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte portrays one woman's desperate

struggle to attain her identity in the mist of temptation, isolation, and

impossible odds. Although she processes a strong soul she must fight not

only the forces of passion and reason within herself ,but other's wills

constantly imposed on her. In its first publication, it outraged many for

its realistic portrayal of life during that time. Ultimately, the

controversy of Bronte's novel lied in its realism, challenging the role of

women, religion, and mortality in the Victorian society.

In essence, Bronte's novel became a direct assault on Victorian

morality. Controversy based in its realistic exposure of thoughts once

considered improper for a lady of the 19th century. Emotions any

respectable girl would repress. Women at this time were not to feel

passion, nor were they considered sexual beings. To conceive the thought of

women expressing rage and blatantly retaliating against authority was a

defiance against the traditional role of women. Jane Eyre sent

controversy through the literary community. For not only was it written

by a woman but marked the first use of realistic characters. Jane's

complexity lied in her being neither holy good nor evil. She was poor and

plain in a time when society considered "an ugly woman a blot on the face

of creation." It challenged Victorian class structure in a strictly

hierachal society. A relationship between a lowly governess and a wealthy

nobleman was simply unheard of. Bronte drew criticism for her attack on the

aristocracy who she deemed as hypocritical "showy but ... not genuine." She

assaulted individual's already established morals by presenting a plausible

case for bigamy. Notions which should have evoked disgust and outrage from

its reader. Yet its most scandaless aspect was its open treatment of love.

Passionate love scenes which were for their day extremely explicit but by

today's standards are less than tame.

Bronte's choice of a strong independent heroine depicted feminist

ideals that would later lead to the overhaul of Victorian culture. By

making Jane an educated woman, Bronte gave her impowerment in a patriarchal

society that denied women education. However, Jane became a woman who

demanded a say in her own destiny. During her courtship, she refutes

Rochester's need to "clasp... bracelets on her wrists" and "fasten a

diamond chain around her neck." These become symbols of female enslavement

within a male dominated world. Jane's will power and integrity prevent her

from succumbing to Rochester and becoming just another of his possessions.

For if she can not preserve her individuality, she "shall not be ... Jane

Eyre any longer, but an ape in a harlequins jacket." With her refusal to

become Rochester's mistress, she demonstrates her inner strength. Strength

that will enable her to face the possibility of hunger, poverty, and even

death. It is in her decision to not marry St. John that Jane finally

liberates herself from the bonds of male suppression. All this has been in

effort to maintain some semblance of self-worth. "Who in the world cares

for you?" "I care for myself. The more friendless ... the more I will

respect myself." Even in her ultimate marriage to Rochester, she is in no

way surrendering to convention, for she has entered their union not only

with independence but emotional equality. If anything her actions resemble

a feminist adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, one in which the woman rescues

the prince. Essentially Jane has sacrificed nothing, rather gaining a

loving marriage in which they are equals; equality resulting from the

disfigurement that has left Rochester in equal stature with Jane. "We stood

at God's feet, equals as...
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