Feminism & Jane Eyre Essay

1589 words - 6 pages

Jane Eyre is a Feminist Novel In the novel Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, there is an ample amount of evidence to suggest that the tone of Jane Eyre is in fact a feminist novel. Throughout the novel, Jane establishes us with a first hand account of a woman's triumph over hardships. Through strength and integrity, Jane is able to break free of the mold that society attempted to set her in. The power and independence that Jane manages to obtain is very unusual for this Victorian time period. Bronte uses Jane's struggles not only to judge sexual placement of that time, but also to establish to all women the need for sexual equality.In the beginning of Jane Eyre, Jane struggles with Bessie the nurse at Gateshead Hall. Jane says, "I resisted all the way: a new thing for me"¦" (Jane Eyre: p.24) This sentence foreshadows what will be an important theme of the rest of the book, female independence and rebelliousness. Jane is here resisting her unfair punishment, but throughout the novel she expresses her opinions on the state of women. Before leaving Gateshead, Jane finally stands up for herself against Mrs. Reed by saying, "I gathered my energies and launched them in this blunt sentence-"¦"(Jane Eyre: p.47) This is a huge turning point in Jane's life, one that greatly affects her for the rest of her life. From this point on Jane's pilgrimage will consist of a series of experiences that in one way or another are connected to her time spent at Gateshead. (Gilbert: p.477) After her retaliation at Mrs. Reed, Jane feels over-powered: "Ere I had finished this reply, my soul began to expand, to exult, with the strangest sense of freedom, of triumph, I ever felt."(Jane Eyre: p.48) This power gives Jane a sense of confidence in to go out in the world and be what she wants to be. She directly addressed a fear, stood up for herself and in the process, gained the strength and fortitude she would need to face her upcoming hardships.Once at Lowood, Jane befriends Helen Burns, a girl whom in some sense acts as a mother to Jane.(Gilbert: p.481) Helen tells Jane to be less impulsive and just obey the rules of her school. Helen continues to preach about loving your enemies and letting people get away with victimizing you. Jane replies back, "But I feel this Helen: I must dislike those who, whatever I do please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who punish me unjustly"¦" (Jane Eyre: p.67 ) This shows a great deal of insight and moral strength on the part of Jane at such a young age. Jane is sympathetic, affectionate, and spiritual but that doesn't mean that she can be walked over. Helen disagrees with Jane's morals and believes that dying young is a way of escaping and mastering an unhappy world .(Schwartz: p.556 ) Jane not only shows the reader her beliefs on female independence through her actions, but also through her thoughts. Jane desires to see more of the world and have more interactions with its people. While she appreciates...

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