Jane Eyre and the Anti-Heroes

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The Victorian era, with its fascinating social conventions and classes, cannot compare to present day America, with music and pop culture dominating the entertainment scene and government officials getting into publicized scandals. Victorian literature was generally compliant with social customs, with beautiful, reserved female protagonists who abide by patriarchy and hierarchy. The novels themselves were long, with multiple subplots and numerous characters. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, however, had a strong-willed anti-heroine main character that did not comply with social customs. Characteristics of anti-heroes and heroines are definite human flaws, not always thinking about what the moral action is, and rejection of traditional values. Jane Eyre is considered the anti-heroine because she defies the patriarchy and the social hierarchy in Victorian Society, as well as maintaining her autonomy. Her relationships with the four anti-heroes, St. John Rivers, John Reed, Mr. Brocklehurst, and Mr. Rochester, help criticize Victorian literary convention because they do not always do the morally correct actions.

Thus, with her straightforward speech and mannerisms, Jane Eyre defies patriarchy and social hierarchy and maintains her autonomy, becoming a prime example of an anti-heroine. As a child Jane defies patriarchy when she does not submit to Brocklehurst and as an adult stands up to Rochester, both choices based on her developing set of moral codes, not out of necessity. When Jane first officially meets Rochester in the drawing room, she knows he is of higher class and her employer, yet she jests with him, acknowledging that "the men in green all forsook England a hundred years ago," in a serious tone (Bronte - 124). She does not follow the standard for young women on the time, intriguing Rochester along with staying independent. Jane maintains her autonomy by marrying Rochester when she is not emotionally or financially dependant on him. Living away from...
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