Feminism in Jane Eyre

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Feminism in Jane Eyre

Jay Sheldon

Feminism has been a prominent and controversial topic in writings for the past two centuries. With novels such as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, or even William Shakespeare's Macbeth the fascination over this subject by authors is evident. In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre the main character, Jane Eyre, explores the depth at which women may act in society and finds her own boundaries in Victorian England. As well, along with the notions of feminism often follow the subjects of class distinctions and boundaries.

There is an ample amount of evidence to suggest that the tone of Jane Eyre is in fact a very feminist one and may well be thought as relevant to the women of today who feel they have been discriminated against because of there gender. At the beginning of the 19th century, little opportunity existed for women, and thus many of them felt uncomfortable when attempting to enter many parts of society. The absence of advanced educational opportunities for women and their alienation from almost all fields of work gave them little option in life: either become a house wife or a governess. Although today a tutor may be considered a fairly high class and intellectual job, in the Victorian era a governess was little more than a servant who was paid to share her scarce amount of knowledge in limited fields to a child. With little respect, security, or class one may certainly feel that an intelligent, passionate and opinionated young woman such as Jane Eyre should deserve and be capable of so much more. The insecurity of this position, being tossed around with complete disregard for her feelings or preferences, is only one of many grueling characteristics of this occupation. However for Jane to even emerge into society, becoming a governess seemed the only reasonable path for her.

The women of the Victorian Era can be regarded as the first group to do battle for the equality of the sexes. They lead all women...
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