Against the pull of its patriarchal love fantasy, Jane Eyre presents an equally passionate protest against patriarchal authority. Do you agree?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was published in 1847 and was met with instant criticism and public disapproval in the Victorian society. The Victorian woman had a restricted, narrow existence solely as the ‘angel of the house’, the wife and nurturer. By lending a powerful voice to the girl governess, Jane Eyre, Bronte attempts to break away from feminine stereotypes. Jane enters into a constant dialogue with the reader to reveal what she aspires and desires through the use of the powerful and self-satisfying, 'I'. It is through this ‘I’ that Jane tries to find the missing patriarchal love in her life, and at the same time; she tries to break away from patriarchal norms that limit a woman's existence. The novel begins with Jane declaring the impossibility of taking a walk that day and then she proceeds to seat herself comfortably and conceal herself from the bully, John Reed, the representation of a typical Victorian patriarch. Incidentally she gazes out of the window and 'studies the aspect of the winter afternoon'. By gazing out of the window, Jane is actually trying to look into herself; to understand what 'flaw' in her deprives her of her aunt's love and affection. Uncle Reed, as we are told, was always loving and kind in his attention towards Jane, which is lost after he dies. It is this affection that she seeks in Aunt Reed, the wife of the dead father figure, even though she abhors her. Although, she later speaks up against her aunt and vows never to address her as thus, she continues to seek the absent father figure in her life. Jane is locked up in the red room, the room where Uncle Reed dies, after she stands up against her bullying cousin, John Reed and denies his patriarchal authority. The red room, as the name suggests is of crimson and white décor, symbolic of Jane’s struggle with passion...
Bibliography: Reconstructing Desire: The Role of Unconscious in Women 's Reading and Writing by Jean Wyatt (UNC Book Press, 1990)
The Oedipal Dynamic in Jane Eyre presented by Aurelie Dellolio (Dumas 0518020)
The Father, Castration and Female Fantasy in Jane Eyre by Dianne F. Sadoff
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