This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

On Feminism And Jane Eyre Essay

1284 words - 5 pages

Influential female characters in literature reflect the struggle for equality women have with men. Much like reality, these characters seek individualism and liberty from, or equality with, men in a society dominated by men. These seekers are called feminists and many feminists see Charlotte Bronte’s titular character Jane Eyre as a proto-feminist icon of the Victorian era. Not only does Jane Eyre show the struggle of one woman under one man it represents the struggle of women in a male-dominated society. Reading Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre through a feminist perspective reveals Jane’s fight for independence, individuality, and equality in a society controlled and dominated by men.
Before Jane’s situation can be dissected thoroughly, however, one has to put the Victorian era into perspective. In Victorian England the woman’s main purpose was to “serve others…please her husband and society,” (Barrera, “Etiquette of a Victorian Lady”). As well women were for years the managers of the household and, therefore, confined to it and all of its duties. Even the clothing that women wore served only to emphasize the womanly parts and the “separation from the world of work” (Abrams, “Ideals of Womanhood in Victorian Britain”). Since women were controlled by society and men controlled society, women were forced into obedience. However, feminism was also on the rise as many women grew tired of domestic life and their place in society which caused them to seek equality with men. This theme, i.e. “the patriarchal forces that have impeded women’s efforts to achieve full equality with men,” is present in Victorian society as well as in Jane Eyre.
Early in Jane’s life women are put in a position in which exert their standards of what women should be. A perfect example of this kind of subjugation is Lowood School--the institution run by Mr. Brocklehurst. In chapter Seven Mr. Brocklehurst orders that a girl must have her hair cut off insisting “[he] desire[s] the hair to be arranged closely, modestly, plainly,” Mr. Brocklehurst punishes this girl, and all girls, who defects from his, or society’s, template of a proper woman. Mr. Brocklehurst tries to further exert his power over the girls when he confronts Miss Temple about the lunch of bread and cheese. He thinks that since they did not eat breakfast they should not get lunch; he doesn’t want to “accustom them to habits of luxury and indulgence.” He continues by saying their sufferings should be comparable to those of the martyrs of Biblical times. He sets the standard at what he believes the girls, and by extension all women, should be once more. Another example is St. John and his reason for proposing to Jane. St. John outlines everything that Jane is and tells her that her life is best slated for missionary work. This is an example of the social conditioning of the Victorian time period; women are forced to follow the rules set by men and suffer punishment for their deviation.
Jane Eyre is a woman whose...

Find Another Essay On On Feminism and Jane Eyre

Feminism in "Jane Eyre", by Charlotte Bronte

750 words - 3 pages In her novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte; portrays a titular character who tests the boundaries of feminism in her quest for independence. In its first publication, Brontë's highly feminist novel outraged many with its blunt portayal of societal life. In essence, the novel was a direct assault on Victorian morality, with controversy borne in its realistic presentation of thoughts considered entirely improper for a lady of the nineteenth

Macbeth and Jane Eyre Essay

1099 words - 4 pages Macbeth by Shakespeare and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte have a similar theme. In both the novel and play, there is a contender edging somebody else on. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth edges Macbeth on to first killing King Duncan and other people. In Jane Eyre, Jane pushes Rochester not to be scared and to let go of the safety nets and trust in others. In Macbeth, Macbeth turns from having a pure heart to a black and evil heart, while Rochester

Essay on Social Conventions in Jane Eyre and Hedda Gabler

2226 words - 9 pages her to religious and spiritual guidance. The Mr. Brocklehurst incident introduces her to the concept of an individual morality and integrity. For most, these codes of conduct become enmeshed. Jane Eyre and Hedda Gabler are no exception. Jane, faced with the crises of her life, relies on a blend of these codes to guide her actions.       Being the exception, Jane had not gone from her father's house to a husband's house. She became a governess

A comparative essay on "Frankenstein" and "Jane Eyre"

1144 words - 5 pages of comfort, a soothing force against the anger established by society. Lightening, on the other hand, may serve as a warning, keeping the character on his proper path to enlightenment. In these two texts, nature shows its power many times to the main characters of Jane Eyre, Rochester, Victor Frankenstein, and the Monster. These characters both use nature as their one reference point, the one thing that will not change and will not turn against

Desire in The Mill on the Floss and Jane Eyre

1871 words - 7 pages In this paper I would like to explore the issue of desire and how it moves the plot of two works from nineteenth century Victorian Literature by George Elliot and Charlotte Bronte called The Mill on the Floss and Jane Eyre. The ideal of desire offers conflicts in both novels. In The Mill on the Floss, Mr. Tulliver's desire to maintain equality and dignity in a world of black and white economic castes presents the Tulliver family with trial after

St. John and Jane Eyre

1687 words - 7 pages Bronte’s Religion: Faith, Feminism and Jane Eyre”. Christianity and Literature 58.1. (2002): 81. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. Havely, Cicely Palser. "Troubles with men: the pattern of Jane Eyre's relationships with patriarchal men is set in her childhood. Cicely Palser Havely traces this theme to its eventual resolution." The English Review 17.2 (2006): 21. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. Johnston, Anna

Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre

2293 words - 9 pages school but Charlotte always remembered the harness shown to her sisters at the school and blamed the school for their deaths. When Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre some years later she based Lowood on the school Cowen Bridge. She also models the suffering Helen who died from disease in Lowood in Jane Eyre on her sister Maria. The novel "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë consists of the continuous journey through Jane’s life towards her

Jane Eyre and Gender Issues

580 words - 2 pages Jane Eyre is a novel that represents critique of Victorian age assumptions about social classes and gender issues. In the nineteenth-century there was a belief that women and men belong in "separate spheres," each with its own responsibilities. The women were expected to devote her self to the repetitive tasks of domestic labor and to minister to the needs of others while the men work and brought money.Charlotte Bronte tries in her novel to

Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett

1770 words - 7 pages Patriarchal societies have been accepted as the norm in many cultures since the beginning of time. Escaping the restrictions of such a society has been a pursuit of women for just as long. Men have tried to control the women in their lives because of some divine right they feel has been given them by God. This theme is seen throughout Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Both Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett

Comparison between Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason from Jane Eyre

490 words - 2 pages the marriage should not go on. Jane leaves Thornfield, feeling it is now a place of imprisonment or inferiority. While she is away, Bertha burns down Thornfield, expressing what Jane could only feel and not carry out. Bertha is also an antithesis with Jane. They are compared to show the contrast of both. Before the reader even know who Bertha is, it is clear the she has savage-like qualities that bring out Jane’s righteousness and kindness

Reflection on Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

646 words - 3 pages Reflection on Jane Eyre "That strange little figure there gazing at me, with a white face and arms specking the gloom, and glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect of a real spirit." This was the painful reaction of young Jane Eyre to her own horrifying ten-year-old reflection in the mirror . This reflection illustrates the harsh and fearful childhood of a strong-willed girl in the beginning of

Similar Essays

Jane Eyre And Feminism Essay

1400 words - 6 pages Jane Eyre and Feminism In Charlotte Bronte?s Jane Eyre, there is more than enough support to imply that the attitude of Jane Eyre is actually a feminist novel. Throughout the novel, Jane establishes us with an immediate account of a woman?s achievement over hardships. Through strength and uprightness, Jane is able to break free of the form that society attempted to set her in. The power and independence that Jane manages to get hold of is quite

Feminism & Jane Eyre Essay

1589 words - 6 pages 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

Tremendous Spirit And Feminism Displayed In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

2466 words - 10 pages Tremendous spirit. The enviable trait that Jane Eyre from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre possesses is what stimulates her to achieve self-actualization despite the fact that she is a woman. True feminism isn’t as violent as a handful of vicious extremists claim it to be. The accurate definition of feminism is “the doctrine advocating women’s social, political, civil, educational and all other rights as equal to those of men.” Women of Charlotte

"Jane Eyre" Feminism In The Novel

652 words - 3 pages Jane preaches a sort of individual feminism, valuing equality and individuality over societal constraints. As a Victorian woman, and an orphan- consequently making her low class, Jane Eyre had very few choices to secure her survival. She could have been a prostitute, she could have married for money, become a servant, or become a governess. Jane chose the option that allowed her to be an individual, to choose her own path. Aided by a mysterious