Winda Rosita Dewi
Jane Eyre’s Struggle for Gender Equality in the novel Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte
Equal is being the same in quantity, size, degree, value or status (Oxford Dictionary). From that definition, it can be said that equality is something that usually some people looking for, to show that their status are also same with the others. The inequalities are usually felt by women, because of their gender is related with something that weak, slow, home, and so on. Society likes to think of males as dominant, aggressive, educated, and ambitious; it thinks of women as submissive, passive, less-educated, emotional, and pleased to serve their male spouses. Women usually feel the unequal treatment, where they are always reputed as weak, defenseless and so on. This opinion put women’s status right under men; it means that women’s status is lower than men. However, actually, the truth is that women and men are the same human being, women could feel what men feel and so do the opposite. The assumption that women’s status is lower than men are actually can be denied by seeing that some women can get high education, they can get a high position in government and they also can get a good job like what men do. Because women nowadays are not the same with women in the past that majority of them are just staying at home, cooking, and washing clothes and so on.
This problem is same with Jane Eyre’s problem as the main character in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. She is an orphan girl that living with her aunt and her children. From the beginning, Jane Eyre has felt the unequal treatment from her aunt to her if compare to her aunt own children. She treats Jane awfully and always blames Jane even if actually her own children that makes the mistakes.
After she leaves her aunt home, then she studies in the Lowood School for females orphans. After studying as a student for about six years and becomes a teacher for two years, she gets a job as a governess in a house called Thornfield. There, she meets with the owner of the house named Mr. Rochester. After few months working in Thornfield as a governess, Jane feels in love with her master and Mr. Rochester also shows some attracted signal to her. Here, she tries to ignore her feeling because she just a governess while Mr. Rochester is a wealthy man. Besides, there is Lady Ingram that looks like very proper to Mr. Rochester because both of them are also coming from a wealthy family. However, when Mr. Rochester shows that he likes Jane Eyre, she struggles to get her equality to him because she wants to emphasize that even if she is a female and just a governess, it does not mean that she can be treated in that way. He cannot love her while he also loves Lady Ingram at the same time.
According to radical feminism, women should struggle to get their gender equality to men. They believe that patriarchy is something that oppresses women; it put the right things or the leader position to men, while women are always put aside. Therefore, women should struggle to get their equality in the society and abolish patriarchy in order to make them equal to men. This theory is the most appropriate theory that can be used to analyze the struggle of Jane Eyre in the novel Jane Eyre since the focus of the research is to find out her struggle to get her gender equality to men, especially to Mr. Rochester.
Jane Eyre’s Struggle for Gender Equality
When Jane Eyre becomes a governess in Thornfield and she meets with her master, Mr. Rochester, she is treated as if she is just a kid and knows nothing. His perception is not right because it underestimates the role or the capability of a young woman where may be she has the same better knowledge as him. I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time...
References: Jane Eyre novel by Charlotte Bronte
Ruthven, K. K. 1984. Feminist Literary Studies: An Introduction. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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