Lack of Mother and Reunion in Victorian Times

Topics: Victorian era, Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre Pages: 13 (4650 words) Published: May 23, 2010

The aim of this paper is to discuss the psychological effects of being motherless and orphanhood and metaphors of reunion under social class distinction observation on the characters of two well known Victorian novels; Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist.

Orphanhood means having no parents but in Victorian society this term also refers to “one who has deprived of only one parent” as Laura Peters states. As a result of this, motherlessness and orphanhood were considered the same in the Victorian Era.

“To write a life, in the Victorian period , is to write the story of the loss of mother” says Caroline Dever. In other words, Victorian fiction mostly tells us the piteous stories of little motherless,orphan children who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.The importance of family and blood relations are significant aspects of Victorian Era.So these little orphans should have defend themselves against disadvantages of being alone in this material world, also they had to get over their psychological traumas mostly by themselves.

According to Dever, mother is the symbol of the unity,safety and order in a child's life.Within the death of mother, the hero/heroine finds himself in a very dangerous , chaotic situation.In addition to that, the female protagonist has to face with erotic danger.Mostly in Victorian novels, maternal lossis used a path to set the young protoganist free to construct selfhood independently of parental constraint. The lack of parents leads the protagonist to start his quest in a disadvantaged position and he finds his inner strength to assert his personality. Orphans are in search of identity in social, psychological and personal dimensions.

Lacan's “mirror phase” is the very first step of being a person. When a baby first sees himself on the mirror, at first he tries to control and play it. When the baby understands that this is a reflection,he realizes that he is not a part ofmother, on the contrary, he has another personality. Until now,the baby thinks himself like a body part of his mother. With the mirror stage, he sees himself as a whole being and this realizationis very important for his identification.

On the other hand,this realization creates alienation.Understanding her mother is a seperate object makes him realise that this object is not under his control.Starting from now,he searches identificatory images to fill this lack,such as representations,doubles and other.

In order to understand and achieve the main goals of Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist, we should have a glance at Charles Dicken's and Charlotte Bronte's early lives.

Charlotte Brontë was born in 1816, the third daughter of the Rev. Patrick Brontë and his wife Maria. Her brother Patrick Branwell was born in 1817, and her sisters Emily and Anne in 1818 and 1820. In 1820, too, the Brontë family moved to Haworth, Mrs. Brontë dying the following year.

In 1824 the four eldest Brontë daughters were enrolled as pupils at the Clergy Daughter's School at Cowan Bridge. The following year Maria and Elizabeth, the two eldest daughters, became ill, left the school and died: Charlotte and Emily, understandably, were brought home. In 1826 Mr. Brontë brought home a box of wooden soldiers for Branwell to play with. Charlotte, Emily, Branwell, and Ann, playing with the soldiers, conceived of and began to write in great detail about an imaginary world which they called Angria.In 1831 Charlotte became a pupil at the school at Roe Head, but she left school the following year to teach her sisters at home. She returned returns to Roe Head School in 1835 as a governess: for a time her sister Emily attended the same school as a pupil, but became homesick and returned to Haworth.

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, the son of John and Elizabeth Dickens. John Dickens was a clerk in the...
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