Comparing the Portrayal of Women by Jane Austen to the Bronte sisters

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Jane Austen’s portrayal of women differs from the Bronte sisters’ portrayal of women. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen portrayed Elizabeth Bennet as a strong-willed character who was not easily swayed by material wealth or social status. This differs from other characters such as Charlotte Lucas. In the case of Charlotte, she was more concerned over monetary aspects than love. Charlotte does not view love as the most vital component of marriage, and instead is more interested in having a comfortable home. Charlotte is displayed as a pragmatic individual whereas Elizabeth is romantic. Charlotte Lucas represents Jane Austen’s view on the typical 19th Century English woman. Financial status was of a top priority for single women in that time and marriage was a straightforward way to gain financial status as males wielded more financial power. However, Elizabeth is an independent woman who believes that love is the most important factor in marriage. In the beginning of the novel, Elizabeth was uninterested by marriage prospects. However, towards the end of the novel, Elizabeth accepts Mr Darcy’s marriage proposal as she realizes that she has misunderstood him. Thus, Jane Austen still perceives marriage as an important aspect for women and her stance mirrors the typical 19th Century woman’ social status. On the other hand, the Charlotte Bronte portrays women in a very different light. In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the main character, Jane, is intelligent and sharp-witted. She possesses immense inner strength and determination, and opposes the patriarchal society. This can be seen from her insubmissive attitude towards men. She even plays the role of a heroine in the novel when she saves Mr Rochester from the burning house. This novel showcases the weaknesses of men and mental strength of women. This in turn contradicts the social norms of 19th Century England, where males had more rights and privileges than women and women were powerless due to a lack of...
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