The themes in Jane Eyre and Arcadia vary, but one theme that unites them both is feminism. It could be argued that in Jane Eyre the main theme is Marxism, but as the main character is female there is a feminist element as well. As the story progresses the Marxist theme is diluted because Jane is more empowered, and the feminist theme is more central. In Arcadia there are many themes but they all revolve around the main theme of feminism.
Whereas Jane Eyre is a typical Victorian narrator who we trust, Thomasina is a character that we are drawn to. Throughout Jane Eyre it is hard to grasp how far Brontë’s views are feminist. She reveals a lot of her own opinions through Jane, and there are moments when Jane expresses feelings of injustice when women are treated as though they are inferior to men, but Jane is also portrayed as a woman who knows her place, and does not feel equal to men or even women of a higher class to her. In Arcadia, Tom Stoppard conveys Thomasina as a very intelligent young woman with great wealth and a certain degree of power over Septimus. Stoppard doesn’t fail to show the attitude towards women of the Victorian era, but at the same time he shows his own view towards women. By making Thomasina’s character very intelligent (especially for her age) he instantly empowers her. A typical Victorian author would not write their female characters as intelligent, or as women with opinions different to those of their male superiors (like Thomasina).
One of the last lines in Jane Eyre – “Reader I married him” is a great portrayal of feminist views. This direct address coming from a female narrator was completely unheard of during the Victorian period; it gives Jane authority. This line implies that the marriage was Jane’s decision, or that she consented it (again empowering her) as opposed to Rochester. This is echoed by Rochester’s eventual physical condition (poor, injured and impaired) where he is humbled and Jane’s status is raised, as she no...
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