Jane Eyre: Close Reading and Male Dominance in the Victorian Era
There's a passage from Bronte's Jane Eyre that brings light to the patriarchal relationship between Jane and Rochester. Although Rochester has shown on multiple occasions that he has minimal control over his emotions and has the capacity to lash out, Jane admits her love for him and her feelings of safety around him. The scene depicts Rochester's dominance over Jane as he holds her, and without a word, she falls completely useless under his perceived power. This ties in with the themes of the class surrounding the patriarchal dominance of the Victorian period, as Jane struggles and fails to fight back against her superior, yet still tries to maintain her sense of self and intuition. Bronte's use of masculine imagery and the usage of the soul as the internalized truth highlights the traditional masculine and feminine roles of the Victorian era.
The various masculine-specific wording work to create a scene in which the audience feels Jane's inferiority to Rochester during his rage, yet not to the point where she feels victimized. Bronte's use of harsh words such as “seize” and “devour” suggest that Rochester has complete control over Jane, seemingly both physically and emotionally. Physically, Jane notes his strength and her inability to resist his grip on her waist and arm, and noting her “strength almost exhausted” further implements this idea of Jane as a submissive woman. Having Jane notice his “stubble” and then fall powerless under him is a prime example of masculine power over women, seeing that facial hair is symbolic of the typical manly man.
The contrast of Rochester's intense expression and mannerism lie in Jane, specifically in her ability to remain calm and try to read him in the midst of the tussle. Her regard for her soul suggests her independence and knowledge of herself, and with that turns to Rochester and attempts to understand the meaning of his actions towards her. Her...
References: to the “glow of a furnace” and usage of “fierce face” and “flaming glace” suggests that despite the struggle, Jane and Rochester share this mutual passion for one another underneath their fighting for dominance in their relationship.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document