"Jane Eyre" By Charlotte Bronte, A Direct Assault Of Victorian Morality.

1110 words - 4 pages

In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte portrays one woman's desperate struggle to attain heridentity in the mist of temptation, isolation, and impossible odds. Although she processesa strong soul she must fight not only the forces of passion and reason within herself ,butother's wills constantly imposed on her. In its first publication, it outraged many for itsrealistic portrayal of life during that time. Ultimately, the controversy of Bronte's novellied in its realism, challenging the role of women, religion, and mortality in theVictorian society.In essence, Bronte's novel became a direct assault on Victorian morality. Controversybased in its realistic exposure of thoughts once considered improper for a lady of the19th century. Emotions any respectable girl would repress. Women at this time were notto feel passion, nor were they considered sexual beings. To conceive the thought ofwomen expressing rage and blatantly retaliating against authority was a defiance againstthe traditional role of women. Jane Eyre sent controversy through the literarycommunity. For not only was it written by a woman but marked the first use of realisticcharacters. Jane's complexity lied in her being neither holy good nor evil. She was poorand plain in a time when society considered 'an ugly woman a blot on the face ofcreation.' It challenged Victorian class structure in a strictly hierachal society. Arelationship between a lowly governess and a wealthy nobleman was simply unheard of.Bronte drew criticism for her attack on the aristocracy who she deemed as hypocritical'showy but ... not genuine.' She assaulted individual's already established morals bypresenting a plausible case for bigamy. Notions which should have evoked disgust andoutrage from its reader. Yet its most scandaless aspect was its open treatment of love.Passionate love scenes which were for their day extremely explicit but by today'sstandards are less than tame.Bronte's choice of a strong independent heroine depicted feminist ideals that would laterlead to the overhaul of Victorian culture. By making Jane an educated woman, Brontegave her impowerment in a patriarchal society that denied women education. However,Jane became a woman who demanded a say in her own destiny. During her courtship, sherefutes Rochester's need to 'clasp... bracelets on her wrists' and 'fasten a diamond chainaround her neck.' These become symbols of female enslavement within a maledominated world. Jane's will power and integrity prevent her from succumbing toRochester and becoming just another of his possessions. For if she can not preserve herindividuality, she 'shall not be ... Jane Eyre any longer, but an ape in a harlequins jacket.'With her refusal to become Rochester's mistress, she demonstrates her inner strength.Strength that will enable her to face the possibility of hunger, poverty, and even death. Itis in her decision to not marry St. John that Jane finally liberates herself from the bondsof male suppression. All this has been in...

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