Jane Eyre Patriarchal Dominance

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A Female in a Man’s World
Patriarchal dominance is something that has been the norm for centuries, and is only now beginning to become less prominent. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is about the young Byronic hero Jane Eyre who has been resisting patriarchal forces all her life. In Brontë’s novel, Jane’s character is consistently portrayed as passionate in asserting her own identity, even though this has caused conflict with most males, and some females throughout her life. The passage that follows is taken from the scene when Jane is justifying to herself her refusal to go to the south of France with Rochester, as well as her decision to leave Thornfield Hall. Jane’s decision is devouring her, however she knows that she will never be more than a mistress to him as long as Bertha Mason is alive, and so she must assert herself in order to retain the identity that she has worked so hard for:

Still indomitable was the reply--"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. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth--so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane--quite insane.

(408)
Her conscience and reason have been described as betraying her and siding with her passion and feelings side, causing an inner-conflict that is threatening the resonance of her identity. This clash between Jane’s passion and reasoning strongly illustrates key reoccurring themes throughout the novel, including the assertion of her strong, female identity as well as resisting patriarchal forces...
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