"Jane Eyre is a typical novel of its time"
Discuss this quotation, paying particular attention to the social, cultural and historical context within which it was published.
There are a large number of elements in the novel 'Jane Eyre' that are very typical of the way of life in the mid 19th century, and also of other novels at that time. Through the novel Charlotte Bronte puts across exactly the factors which were characteristic of the late 18th and 19th century: class and status both of women and of poor people; public health and illnesses at the time; religion, as well as the gothic elements which were particularly common in 18th/19th century books.
Outside even of the actual story, we see evidence historically of the status of women during the 18th and 19th century through the fact that because Charlotte Bronte was a woman, to get her novel published regardless of its quality - she was forced to use a male pseudonym, Currer Bell. This is a classic demonstration of how women at the time were seen as inferior to men and the sexist views that restricted them in the mid 19th century.
The second example of typicality in the novel is the "Red Room"; Charlotte Bronte uses the room to incorporate into the novel the gothic elements which were popular culturally at that time. Bronte puts the room across as a gothic, sinister omen through Jane's fear of it and the association she makes with it and her uncle's death. Further gothic elements are seen later in the novel through Bertha Mason.
Jane's arrival at Lowood introduces the reader to the appalling public health conditions which were customary to Bronte during her lifetime. It's likely that the death of Jane's close friend, Helen Burns is a depiction of the deaths of Charlotte Bronte's two sisters who both died at school from Tuberculosis too; and that Lowood itself is an illustration of the boarding school which Charlotte Bronte attended Cowan Wood, the... [continues]
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