Jane Eyre vs. Mary Wollstonecraft
There is no doubt that Charlotte Bronte knew the works of Mary Wollstonecraft, and she knew them well. Although Wollstonecraft's ideas were written a hundred years beforehand, many women did not read her work because it was not easily attainable. Many women were not educated to read this piece of literature and many men deemed it unimportant to their education. Bronte's works were cleverly disguised in women's entertainment, the novel. The main themes both women discuss are education, love and marriage.
First, Wollstonecraft discusses education of women as secondary to men. They learn a little bit of sewing, how to dress, how to sing and speak a little of a language. She criticizes that women need to learn more than muse their husbands. This concept is presented in Bronte's work. Jane Eyre is presented as successful mainly because Jane is educated in a school where she learns how to be other things than an entertaining wife. She learns geography, history, art and fluent French. She is taught how to be a teacher, and how to be employed which was not typical for a woman of her time. In contrast, Blanche Ingram is the typical educated woman. The way she is educated make her mind confounded to the principal's men think women ought to be. Through her education, she has learned how to sing, play the piano, memorize quotes from books and present herself in an appealing way to men. She is not taught anything beyond this. Blanche does not win the heart of Mr. Rochester because she cannot entertain his mind.
The next issue both women present are the way women are treated in relationships. Wollstonecraft warns that women are victims of men's lust. She goes on saying that since men cannot see women for anything but beauty, when the "flower" dies, the man cannot see anything else the woman is good for. This...