Jane Eyre vs. Great Expectatio

Topics: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, Miss Havisham Pages: 5 (1875 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Both Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, and Great Expectations, written by Charles Dickens, have many Victorian similarities. Both novels are influenced by the same three elements. The first is the gothic novel, which instilled mystery, suspense, and horror into the work. The second is the romantic poets, which gave the literature liberty, individualism, and nature. The third is the Byronic hero, which consists of the outcast or rebel who is proud and melancholy and seeks a purer life. The results when all three combined are works of literature like Jane Eyre and Great Expectations. BOTH NOVELS CONVEY THE SAME VICTORIAN IDEOLOGIES COMMON FOR THE TIME PERIOD IN, WHICH THEY WERE WRITTEN. Brontë displays many of her experiences and beliefs through the main character, Jane, in her novel. As does Dickens, he portrays his own experiences and thoughts through Pip, the main character of Great Expectations. Dickens and Brontë use setting as an important role in the search for domesticity. Great Expectations is a circular book, with Pip finding his childhood home at the end of the story finally filled with happiness and a real family (Chesterton, 102). Pip begins the novel in his village, innocent though oppressed. Moving to London, he becomes uncommon, but also loses his natural goodness. Paying his financial debts and living abroad after losing his "great expectations," he regains his goodness, or at least pays for his sins, and can finally return to his childhood home. His physical traveling reflects his mental and emotional journeys. Only when he returns to his childhood place and childhood goodness can he begin to look for happiness again. In contrast, the use of setting in Jane Eyre is linear (Martin, 154). Instead of returning to her childhood home to find domesticity, Jane cannot find home until she moves to a totally different place. Setting plays an equally important role as she moves from Gateshead Hall to Lowood to Thornfield to Moor House, and finally to Freudian Manor. She cannot find her native ideal at Gateshead Hall, the site of her childhood torment, or Lowood, a boarding school, of Thornfield, where Rochester hid his first wife and almost became a bigamist, or Moor House, where St. John's presence constantly reminds her of true love's rarity (Martin 155). She and Rochester can only create their own domestic haven in a totally new and fresh setting. A theme that can be acknowledged in both novels in the concept of social and gender mobility. In both novels the characters encounter social and gender mobility and each character attends to the notion differently. In Great Expectations, much of Mr. And Mrs. Joe Gargery's experiences of a class above theirs must be achieved vicariously, namely through Pip as he goes back and for the to Miss Havisham's: If a dread of not being understood be hidden in the breasts of other young people to anything like the extent of which it used to be hidden in mine… it is the key to many reservations. I felt convinced that if I described Miss Havisham's as my eyes had seen it, I should not be understood. Not only that, but I felt convinced that Miss Havisham, too, would not be understood; and although she was perfectly incomprehensible to me, I entertained an impression that there would be something coarse and treacherous in my dragging her as she really was (to say nothing of Miss Estella) before the contemplation of Mrs. Joe (Dickens, 60).

However, in Bronte's Jane Eyre, no such previous dependence on indirect experience between Jane and Rochester occur, until Rochester's injury, which cripples is hand and blinds him. The fire in which Rochester received his injuries, however, cleansed him of his previous wife, the unethical money he lived on, and the dominating position he held Jane under. A good quote that demonstrates the idea of social and gender mobility in Jane Eyre is the following: Mr. Rochester continued blind the first two years of our union:...
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