English 102: Introduction to Literature
The Eternal Charm of Jane Eyre
An Interpretation of the Formation of Women’s Rebellious Spirit
In the middle 19th century, Charlotte Bronte successfully creates a character with a striking personality named Jane Eyre who is born unfortunate but dares to fight fate. There are four life scenes in this novel which show the embryo, emergence, development, and climax of Jane Eyre’s rebellious spirit. In 19the century, most women do not have right to vote, financial independence, or chance to acquire formal education. Definitely, Jane’s rough and rugged path of life is the reflection of ordinary women’s life at that time. Bronte blazes forth her notion of society and brings light to women’s issues, which promotes equal access to freedom, rights for women, and a new chapter for women’s literature. * Historical Background and the Biography of Author
Unfair fate and brutal life are the ultimate fountains of Bronte’s writing. Charlotte Bronte was born in a poor pastor family and she lost her mum when she was young. Her two sisters who studied with her in a charity school were died of bad living conditions. Later, she worked as a governess with her younger sister. To some extent, the image of Jane who holds a firm belief in beautiful life and an independent personality is the mirror of herself. As a critical and realistic woman writer in middle 19th century, Charlotte Bronte makes an important breakthrough in literary creation: there are no tender finicky girls or venal hypocritical noblemen in her writing; she creates a female character that goes through thick and thin, revolts against fake and deceitful capitalism and is finally reborn. Also, in Jane Eyre, Bronte illustrates the societal standards at that time: in 19th century, women have no control of family and most of them have to stay at home, washing clothes and cooking. Not only that, but they have no financial independence at all: their properties all belong to their husbands. Women at that time act upon whatever their husbands say; they live in the society which is ruled and controlled by men. The main character Jane Eyre, in this novel is an educated woman in a patriarchal society who seeks true love, women rights, and equality, which is the mirror of some independently minded women: with the development of industrial revolution, England is industrialized gradually. Thus, women get chance to become workforces and achieve financial independence. At the same times, their interpersonal ability is improved and their self-esteem is increased. Since leaving their family and working liberate them from ideology, more and more women begin to grow the awareness of equality and they begin to claim for their rights, which develops Women’s Movement in England. Jane’s unique temperament and rich personal emotions capture millions of readers’ hearts. Because of this, Jane Eyre surpasses other literary works and be regarded as the first feminism novel in British literary history. A reader for Atlas once made such a comment on Jane Eyre: “It is a book to make the pulses gallop and the heart beat, and to fill the eyes with tears” (1847). * Different stages of Jane’s rebellious spirit formation 1. The embryonic stage – Gateshead
Jane Eyre’s first rebelling happens in the fighting with her cousin because she cannot put up with being subjected to endless bullying any more. During her ten years living with her vicious aunt and cousins, she is always obedient and never goes against anyone’s will. Although she has been accustomed to this unfair treatment for a long time, she is unwilling to submit to oppression meekly any more after being hit by a book and is bleeding. She accuses her cousin of being “wicked” loudly (4) and punches him in the nose bravely and heavily. At this moment, rebellious emotions have “predominated over fear” (4) and make her feel exhilarated, which is unprecedented. Her resistance...