Jane Eyre: Feminist Hero
Submissive, domestic, good-tempered, quiet, agreeable and mild; these are all words that could be used to describe the ideal Victorian woman. Sexism and discrimination put up roadblocks and didn’t allow much room for educational growth for women. Education and job opportunities were limited and left most women with marriage, particularly to a wealthy man, as their best option for security. Jane Eyre broke the mold of the common Victorian woman; she was determined, stubborn, and would not be swayed from doing what she believed to be right and just. She worked her way up from orphan, to governess, to wife of a wealthy man – all without compromising her integrity, her moral standards or her pride.
In a time where women had little to no say over how they lived their lives, Jane was doing just the opposite and taking control over her own destiny. It all begun when Jane left Gateshead as a young girl. She escaped her cruel aunt and cousins and ventured out on her own, leaving a semi-comfortable living situation and the familiar in pursuit of bettering herself with an education. As a result of Jane receiving an education, she was able to further her independence by taking a job as a governess at Thornfield. Though the profession of governess was considered low class and seen as little more than a servant, Jane took the opportunity. Again, Jane left the comfort of familiarity and moved on to do what she believed best. As a governess, Jane was able to make her own wages and, though she was living in someone else’s home and worked for Mr. Rochester, she wasn’t taking charity from anyone; she was working for her keep (Brontë 140).
Jane was a very passionate person and, despite the social norm being that women held their tongues in front of men, Jane spoke her opinions boldly, especially to Mr. Rochester. Jane didn’t feel that stifling her voice was fair, and she refused to do it. Jane explained her views on the women of the day in the...
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