Finding The Balance Of Love And Freedom In Jane Eyre

1591 words - 6 pages

Similar to many of the great feministic novels of its time, Jane Eyre purely emerges as a story focused on the quest for love. The novel’s protagonist, Jane, searches not only for the romantic side of love, but ultimately for a sense of self-worth and independence. Set in the overlapping times of the Victorian and Gothic periods, the novel touches upon both women’s supposed rights, and their inner struggle for liberty. Orphaned at an early age, Jane was born into a modest lifestyle, without any major parent roles to guide her through life’s obstacles. Instead, she spent much of her adolescent years locked in imaginary chains, serving those around her but never enjoying the many decadences life has to offer. It is not until Jane becomes a governess that many minute privileges become available to her and offer Jane a glance at what life could have been. It is on her quest for redemption and discovery that she truly is liberated. Throughout Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre, the story’s protagonist Jane, struggles to achieve the balance of both autonomy and love, without sacrificing herself in the process.
Although written during both the Victorian and Gothic time period, Jane Eyre draws upon many revolutionary influences that ultimately enabled it to become one of the most successful books of all time. Jane Eyre is merely a hybrid of a Victorian and Gothic novel, infusing a share of dark allusions with overzealous romanticism. The primitive cultures of the Victorian period reflect high ethical standards, an extreme respect for family life, and devotional qualities to God, all in which the novel portrays. Yet, to merely label Jane Eyre as a Victorian novel would be misleading. While the characteristics of a Gothic novel often involve dark, brooding characters, architecture and a sense of Poe-like fiction, Bronte’s use of gothic undertones help the reader understand the many intricate components of the novel. Bronte, however, deliberately avoids many of the conventional ways of Victorian fiction, instead using many motifs from Gothic works. Throughout the course of the novel, it becomes clear that the novel is not atypical Romance novel and does not dote on the mundane life of a Victorian woman but instead draws parallels from many sources. For the 1800s, Jane Eyre proves to be a revolutionary novel and paves the way for many feministic books to come.
Jane stretches the boundary for a woman’s role in society, as the concept of individual freedom was virtually unknown during the precarious times of the 1800s. Arnold Markley further laments, “In the nineteenth century women had far less personal freedom, and there were few options available for them to support themselves outside of choosing to marry and raising children.” During the nineteenth century, many women accepted that their only place in society would be the home. There, they would cook, clean and take care of their children, living without any political...

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