Reactions To Patriarchal Oppression By Jane Eyre And Bertha Mason

3847 words - 15 pages

Reactions to Patriarchal Oppression by Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason
Missing Works Cited

Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason are both oppressed by the British patriarchal system were men are the makers, interpreters, and enforcers of social and political rules. However, these two women differ greatly in the ways that they accept and cope with the reality of their place in society, and it is these differences that ultimately determine their fate. Jane Eyre follows the rules. Although she initially revolts against what she believes to be unfair restrictions at Gateshead and Lowood, she soon discovers that rebellion carries a high price and, over time, she learns to modify her behavior to conform to socially accepted norms. Bertha Mason, on the other hand, never accedes to society's restrictions on women's behavior. Bertha blatantly breaks all of the rules at Spanish Town and at Thornfield, but when Rochester punishes her for her unacceptable behavior, she only becomes less restrained. As Wyatt notes, the novel's "doubling of the female self into the good girl Jane and the criminally passionate Bertha reflect [sic] the experiences and corresponding psychic patterns of women living under patriarchy," and true to their individual responses to patriarchal control, "Jane reasons out the causes and effects of women's domestic oppression, [but] Bertha burns down the imprisoning house" (199-200). Jane, therefore, is successful in securing her desired place in society because she ultimately learns the value of conforming to the rules and operating within the context of their established structure. Bertha does not conform and therefore does not survive.

On the surface, two more opposite female characters could not be conceived. As an adult, Jane is a "plain, Quakerish governess," a "quiet...disciplined and subdued character" who is "given in allegiance to duty and order" (246; ch. 24, 76; ch. 10). By contrast, Bertha is "a big woman, in stature almost equaling her husband, and corpulent besides" with a "virile force" and "purple...bloated features" (279; ch. 26). Jane is an impoverished orphan, and an English clergyman's daughter who is reared in a charity school; Bertha is an exotic Creole, and the pampered daughter of a wealthy Jamaican planter. Jane is modest, decorous, and virginal; Bertha is "'at once intemperate and unchaste'" (291; ch. 27). Edward Fairfax Rochester, husband to each, cannot imagine two women less alike. However, it is not these obvious physical, behavioral, class, and socioeconomic differences that are important when comparing the two. Rather, it is the difference in the way they accept their roles as women in a patriarchal society that defines the characters and determines the outcome of the story.

Bertha and Jane have no choice but to live within the male-dominated society into which they were born. Accordingly, their only feasible survival options involve "attaching themselves to . . . powerful or economically viable men" in...

Find Another Essay On Reactions to Patriarchal Oppression by Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason

Macbeth and Jane Eyre Essay

1099 words - 4 pages like each other's personalities. He later throws a party where a beautiful lady by the name of Blanche Ingram attends. Rochester and her are suppose to get married but Jane gets in the way. Rochester realized that he could not marry Ingram because he realizes that he is in love with Jane. After many incidents and complications to get married, Jane runs away. While she is away, Bertha Mason, a crazy woman who is Rochester's first wife, burns down

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

"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte.

970 words - 4 pages Jane EyreBy Charlotte BronteAs all great pieces of literature do, the novel "Jane Eyre", by Charlotte Bronte, did not end, it merely concluded. Jane Eyre narrates to "the reader" her life story up until she reaches the point in her life where she is currently speaking of her life. The structure, style, detail and imagery keeps interest and suspense in Jane's tale, beginning to conclusion.Jane's story begins as a child under the care of her cruel

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

1340 words - 5 pages Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte not only traces Jane's development as an independent individual, but it can also be read as a description of her personal journey in finding a family through the five settings in the novel. From beginning to end Jane engages with an array of nurturing, maternal women whom model a family for her, but also encounters those who torment her and bring her great suffering. In reading this novel, we’re not only able to

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

1328 words - 5 pages Humans learn from severe situations. Being a stranger in a harsh environment forces humanity to open to new capabilities, and learning from these hardships makes a person prepared for life's final exam. "Jane Eyre", by Charlotte Bronte is a picaresque that revolves around a girl name Jane. Bronte places Jane at Marsh End because she wanted her to see the nature of the world and to show the reader that life comes with surprises. After rising from

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

1533 words - 6 pages . (Bomarito) Early in her life, Jane was adopted by her uncle, who later died and left her to her unloving aunt and cousins. All of them treated her horribly thinking that because she was an orphan she is in a lower class than them. Oppression follows Jane to her school Lowood and its benefactor Mr. Brocklehurst and even to her future employer Mr. Rochester and her distant cousin St. John. Al of Jane’s life involves overcoming the barriers the men of

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

1215 words - 5 pages considered as a living rational being, except as connected with the wearisome duties she has to fulfil” (Gaskell, ch. 8, ¶ 243). In 1847 Brontë published the novel Jane Eyre, which deals with this very subject. The novel Jane Eyre provides a sound insight into the class system of the Victorian era and the place of the woman in this system. The novel achieves this by making Jane Eyre climb the social ladder. The young Jane Eyre is a poor orphan, who

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

890 words - 4 pages Jane's social challenge is that the greatest opportunities oftentimes favor the wealthy. As Jane continues to pursue the love of Edward Rochester in the second and third volumes of Jane Eyre, she believes that Rochester’s feeling for Jane as fallen short of another woman, Lady Blanche Ingram. The expectation of society upon Jane was to leave Rochester alone to marry Lady Ingram, as Lady Ingram is wealthy and she is not. Nineteenth century

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

2070 words - 8 pages Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre, a novel about an English woman’s struggles told through the writing of Charlotte Brontë, has filled its audience with thoughts of hope, love, and deception for many years. These thoughts surround people, not just women, everyday, as if an endless cycle from birth to death. As men and women fall further into this spiral of life they begin to find their true beings along with the qualities of others

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

1304 words - 5 pages Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte In this essay I am going to analyse the novel ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte. Jane is an orphaned child sent to live with her aunt and uncle. Her uncle was her last remaining blood relative and, since he died, she has been severely neglected. She is treated like a slave and is bullied by her cousins. She was locked in a room in which her uncle died in and thought that she saw a ghost of him and fainted

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

1093 words - 4 pages for pursuing an idiosyncratic lifestyle, leading instead to the passive adoption of a corrupt lifestyle to be ‘controlled’ by the social class system. Jane Eyre’s interclass marriage to Rochester is a predominant example: Mr Rochester is an upper-class gentleman, while Jane Eyre, a common working class citizen. This event arouse disapproval from the upper and working class communities as anyone who is not of a wealth status are believed to have

Similar Essays

Comparison Between Jane Eyre And Bertha Mason From Jane Eyre

490 words - 2 pages beauty. The presence of Bertha Mason in the plot strengthens the reader’s desire to keep reading and discover who the “vampire” is. Bertha’s mystery also strengthens Jane’s and Rochester’s relationship and creates a perfect climax to one of the most read stories of the nineteenth century.

Bertha As Jane's Alter Ego In Jane Eyre

1593 words - 6 pages love with Rochester. In the novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë draws distinct similarities between the red-room and the attic of Thornfield, suggesting the complex relationship between Jane and Bertha. While Brontë presents Jane as a woman who is determined to subsist in a patriarchal world without allowing her anger to consume her, she also offers Bertha as Jane's alter ego who is imprisoned by her own rage which ultimately destroys her

Oppression, Suffering, And Poverty Of Men In Jane Eyre

1488 words - 6 pages Bertha eventually kills herself. With the death of Bertha and the re-union of Mr. Rochester and Jane Mr. Rochester can finally be in the relationship he always desired, but at the cost of his hand and eyesight; adding even more to his suffering, but at least now he has his true love to be by his side. Throughout Jane Eyre the three male characters: John Reed, St. John Rivers, and Edward Rochester endure suffering caused from society and the family

Ladies First. Refers To "Emma" By Austen And "Jane Eyre" By Brontë

1431 words - 6 pages to St. John and his sister. St. John realized that she loves Jane and proposes to her but she does not accept for she is still in love with Rochester. Jane leaves St. John in return to Thornfield.Coming back to Thornfield Jane find out that it is burned down. She finds out the Bertha Mason Rochester set it on fire and jumped off the roof. Austen in a way showed this as a rebirth for Rochester and Jane Eyre. Jane returns to Rochester even though he