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The Power Of Great Expectations And Jane Eyre

2435 words - 10 pages

The Power of Great Expectations and Jane Eyre

    Many novels have been written in many different eras. Each era has its `reform' novel or piece of literature, or pieces of work that "broke the mold". For the Greeks, it was Homer's Odyssey; for the Renaissance, it was The Essays: Of Cannibals by Michel de Montaigne; for the Medieval era, it was Dante Alighieri's Inferno. It was the same in the Victorian era, which ran from 1850 to about 1900. The reform authors were Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens. These two authors wrote Jane Eyre and Great Expectations, respectively. Through these novels, the authors have epitomized the Victorian era with gothic elements, Byronic heroes, importance of society, and round and flat characters.

One of the key elements to every novel is the round characters, often the "main" character. A round character is one that changes throughout his or her's life. They grow as a person through character. In the novel Jane Eyre, the title character, Jane Eyre, is the primary round character. As a child, Jane bottled up emotions, until they flowed over one day in her tenth year:"I am not deceitful: if I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed: and this book about the Liar, you may give to your girl, Georgiana, for it is she that tells lies, and not I" (Brontë: 33)

Jane spoke her opinion as a child. The girl never gave thought about what may happen to her. She was a strong willed individual that was not going to allow anyone to stand between her and her goal. As Jane ages into her teens, she grows independent. "Women are to be very calm generally, but women feel just as men feel." (Brontë: 113) Jane learns to bottle her emotions, but not allow them to get in the way of enjoying life. Jane acquired a job as a governess at an, apparently, single man's home, tutoring is young ward. Needless to say, "Mr. Rochester" and Jane fell in love. However, Jane did not want to marry. Except that her love grows too strong, Jane puts aside her stubbornness for love.

"My future husband was becoming to me my whole world; and more than the world: almost my hope of heaven. He stood between me and every thought of religion, as an eclipse intervenes between man and the broad sun. I could not, in those days, see God for his creature: of whom I had made an idol." (Brontë: ch 25)

Jane then relents and marries Rochester. Jane made the journey from explosive, to independent, to in love; a true journey for a woman in the Victorian era.

Pip, the main character of Great Expectations, is an orphaned boy who is one the quintessential round characters. When Pip is first introduced, he is an easily influenced young boy living with his sister, Mrs. Joe, and her husband, Joe Gargery. When Pip was asked to steal from Mrs. Joe and Joe by a convict, he could hardly live with himself:

"If I slept at all...

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