Early Feminism in Jane Eyre

Topics: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, Governess Pages: 14 (5668 words) Published: May 2, 2008
Charlotte Bronte has long been considered as an outstanding woman literary figure in the Victorian time. Despite of the largely autobiographical content of her novels, Charlotte Bronte breaks the conventional, and ignorant in the nineteenth century. Her novel, Jane Eyre, has been translated into many languages and is always high in reading popularity. The highly acclaimed Jane Eyre best demonstrates the breakthrough: its heroine is a plain woman who possesses the characteristics of intelligence, self—confidence, a will of her own. Charlotte Bronte, as well as her sister, lived and died in the first part of 19th century. At that time, there had long been the rapid industry growth in England. Connected with the improvement in industry and transportation there came the rise of a kind of new ruling class, the owners of the mills and miners of the industrial age, who began to compete with the old landed gentry. In order to improve themselves, they tried to provide a good education for their children. This opened a new opportunity for the impoverished gentlewomen to take the career as governesses. In this economic and social situation, girls of good background began to go out to work. It was with this situation in mind that the Bronte sisters made their plans for earning their living, which would be necessary if they were unmarried when their father died. The position of the governess was as uncomfortable one, for, though they were of higher class than servants, they could not reach the level of family. Consequently, they often suffered from loneliness and humiliation. Charlotte Bronte, the third and oldest of the “Bronte sisters”, was born in Haworth, Yorkshire in 1816. Her father, Mr. Bronte was a poor clergyman in a little village. Because there were so many children in her family and all were born in so short time, and because her mother become very ill with cancer, she and her sisters were let much on their own. Isolated in the moors, they cherished in their souls the love of liberty. After the death of the mother, Charlotte and her sisters, except the youngest, were sent in 1824 to a charity school at Cowan Bridge—the Clergy Daughters School for the daughters of poor clergy-men, which prevented the girls from having normal mental growth, for the school’s object was to bring them up submissive slaves to the rich, was just like a prison.” The site was low, damp, and unhealthy, the food unappetizing, and the rules very strict for children accustomed to affection and freedom.” After two of the sister died in the school, Charlotte and Emily were brought home and educated by her father. And Charlotte had a good time with her sisters. Once the children’s chores and lessons were done, they were free to read or play as they pleased. Their powerful imagination added strange and marvelous fantasies to the fact they heard or read. Soon they began to invent their own stories. In 1847, Charlotte published Jane Eyre, which brought her fame and placed her in the ranks of fore—most English realistic writers. In the writing of Jane Eyre, Charlotte drew a great deal from her own life experience. And we can find that it was very extremely same of Jane’s life—experience and the author’s. Charlotte expressed her own feeling, idea and thoughts through the words of Jane Eyre. And the author used the first person in the novel to show the reality of the novel. Jane first appears an orphan lodging with her aunt, who resents her and shamelessly favors her own children. Later, Jane is sent away to a charity school run by Mr. Brocklehurst, where through the harsh regime, she learns how to survive and eventually succeeds in becoming a teacher there herself. She advertises for a post as governess, and is appointed to care for Adele, the ward of Edward Rochester at Thornfield Hall. What attracts Rochester to Jane is not her looks, as she is small and plain, but the honesty with which she speaks her mind, and her practical common sense, which...
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