Focusing on Their Relationship with Authority Figures, Explore How the Strong Feelings of Jane Eyre and Juliet Are Presented

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Gothic fiction, Authority Pages: 6 (1837 words) Published: March 17, 2013
Focusing on their relationship with authority figures, explore how the strong feelings of Jane Eyre and Juliet are presented 1. Introduction:
Jane Eyre is a gothic bildungsroman novel set in the Nineteenth Century which follows the development of an orphan dependant into maturity, exploring the many struggles against society she faces along the way. Romeo and Juliet is a play set in 13th Century Italy. It portrays the story of two young lovers from feuding families who would not approve of their relationship. The contrast in genre between the two works sets up some of the differences which can be found. However, both female characters also experience many difficulties as a result of society’s oppression on females at the time. They are both subject domination by the male characters in the play, and must remain obedient not only to their respective families and seniors, but also to God, and society’s ideals for marriage, status and honour. In addition, the writers have access to different techniques in their presentation of their character’s emotions. Shakespeare utilises stage directions and the stage set to help to emphasise and arouse interest in the audience. The director and actors also play a part in the spectators’ viewing of the play, as what we see also includes their interpretation of the playwright’s work. On the other hand, Charlotte Brontë uses the first person perspective to give the reader an exciting insight into Jane’s unspoken feelings and the reasons behind her actions.

2. JE; Isolation:
Jane’s relationship with her aunt provokes strong feelings of isolation. As a dependant and an orphan, Jane is excluded from her wealthy, upper class family and from early on in the novel demonstrates her preference to solitude. She shows that she favours being withdrawn from the family in the quote “I was shrined in double retirement.” By associating Jane’s exclusion with shrines and divinity, Brontë suggests that Jane enjoys her solitude, and has developed a resistance to the cold, emotionless atmosphere that her aunt has created. Jane also links her own situation to phrases from the book she is reading. She speaks of the “haunts of sea-fowl; of the solitary rocks and premonitions”. This connection with her reading material makes Jane’s emotions more vivid, as the reader can imagine her childlike mind noticing the reflection in her own circumstances; solitary and hidden away in her own ‘crevice’.

3. JE; The Red Room:
Subsequent to her aggressive behaviour towards her cousin John, Jane is forced to remain in the Red Room until her Aunt deems her to be reformed. The Red Room symbolises many things, including the confinements of the Victorian era for Jane and the introduction of the gothic theme continued throughout the novel. Jane tells of her time spent in the Red Room, “From morning to noon, and from noon to dusk”, thus creating a tense atmosphere as the reader worries for Jane’s safety. The parallelism used in this quote exemplifies Jane’s seemingly constant struggle with the various restraints and challenges of her life as Mrs Reed’s orphan protégé. The extensive passage describing her time spent in the Red Room also illustrates this point. The room is also a symbol of imprisonment, as it is hard to ignore the references to prisons and the locked door. Although the Red Room represents Jane’s literal imprisonment, it could also embody the metaphorical limitations and lack of freedoms, mostly relating to Victorian social conventions and opinions towards Jane’s gender and social class. The room is symbolic of the struggles she experience at the hands of her relations, and as a consequence of their actions (i.e. sending her away to boarding school) and resulting from the various ventures towards independence she makes in her life (i.e. Leaving Thornfield, refusing St. John’s marriage proposal). Later on in the book, the Red Room becomes a metaphorical authority figure acting upon Jane, as it affects...
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