Jane Eyre: Feminism

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Feminism: Jane Eyre Unveiled

Brittney Christensen

English 153
Shona Harrison
November 15th, 2012

“Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men, statuses and classes.” The novel Jane Eyre greatly depicts many forms of feminism throughout, and is an eye opener as to how much time have changed and in a sense stayed the same since the Victorian Era. The thought of being exposed to such standards and conditions at such a young age onward outlines the realest forms of commitment to independence and dignity. Jane is a victim of feminism in the instance that she is subjected to the power of men and also plays the role of a feminist role model shown by multiple examples throughout the novel, whether referring to relationships or to personal attributes. The comparing and contrasting between the other characters and characteristics of the novel also unveil forms of feminism and feministic senses.

The word “feminist” or “feminism” is a very obscured word, with many different points of views considering their meanings. In the terms of feminist, “a doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” And reference to Jane Eyre, Jane only hopes for equality between men and women, herself in particular, obviously due to the specific situations and circumstances she is exposed to. Jane proposed her acts upon facing women’s rights and equality by enforcing her words and good deeds, proving her lack of ignorance and retaliation. Jane represents a feminist in the Victorian Era, and mainly targeted at younger readers, preferably female considering the context, with the purpose to help the young females learn about maturity, growing up in the world, and the possible variety of obstacles that they may be faced with. With that said, Jane’s actions and words throughout the novel decipher her life and her experiences are what built her courage and strength as a woman.

Jane Eyre is proof that love and affection are two things that cannot be bought and that that her courageousness will not be underestimated. Rochester tries to persuade Jane into falling for him by offering her luxurious stones and lavish pieces of clothing. “Glad was I to get him out of the silk warehouse, and then out of a jeweler’s shop: the more he bought me, the more my cheek burned with a sense of annoyance and degradation.” (Bronte, Page 229). Jane is getting the feeling of aggravation towards Rochester’s offerings in a sense that she does not need nor want such things and refuses to become exposed to the world of the materialistic lifestyle. Her hesitation towards marriage is also expressed in her statement, providing evidence that she does not feel the need to go to these extremes and expenses when it comes to marriage. “Marriage: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” Nowhere does it state that the experience as a whole has to be lavish, proving Jane’s point of view. Jane, as a feminist believes that everything and everyone can be beautiful without the extent of needing a man and the accommodations and luxuries one has to offer.

Jane, being exposed to independence at such a young age gave her the leverage and confidence she needed to stand up for herself and express her view of women’s equality through her eyes. She comes to the consensus about her values and duties of herself as an individual when states, “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad – as I am now.” (Bronte, page 270). This quotation depicts and unveils Jane’s powerful feelings towards how she sees herself and what her morals are versus what they should be. Jane believes to be “mad”, which refers to the fact...
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