Discuss why the novel has evoked this response
Charlotte Bronte communicates controversial values in Jane Eyre, which demonstrate her beliefs about women’s feelings and emotions as well as their role in society and in relationships. Bronte also shows her perspectives on values of religion and morality. These values have evoked passionate debate and controversy both in the Victorian period of the 19th century and today in the 21st century.
Bronte critically challenges what was generally portrayed about women’s feelings and their emotions in the 19th century. Bronte’s view about women is that they “…are supposed to be very calm generally: but [they] feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do.” The use of first person, through Jane, articulates Bronte’s feelings directly as they happen, providing a more detailed and insightful response to readers. The way in which Bronte communicates her views about women’s feelings and their emotions, using very assertive language, would have evoked fiery debate among Victorian readers because the expected values of women in this time period would have involved them being emotionless and entirely dependent on their master’s, either being their father or husband.
Charlotte Bronte goes against traditional Victorian values and communicates women as being as independent, strong-willed and knowledgeable as the men of society. “…That then I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit”. Referring to women, Jane makes a point that “it is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action”. Bronte, through Jane, identifies directly from these statements that she wants to and has the ability to be completely independent and that she has her own visions and abilities. In the Victorian period women were