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March 10, 2014
In the first ten chapters, Jane Eyre is already exposed to the prejudice of a male dominant society. John Reed, neither having any "affection for his mother and sisters," his constant brutality toward Jane reveals another belief that some men had against women (Bronte 19). Because Jane technically is not apart of the family, poor, and not as beautiful, people see her as flawed and unworthy. John's physical abuse on Jane shows how men feel powerful over "these kinds" of women. "Accustomed to John Reed's abuse," Jane remains bewildered at the fact that no matter how obvious who was the criminal in the family, the rest of the family still addressed John as "their young master" (Bronte 21, 20). This clearifies that not only are the "lower class women" abused by brutal men, but are also oppressed by the "upper class women" of the society. Because Jane is not as educated, sophisticated, or beautiful as her cousins, Mrs. Reed treats her unjustly by punishing her for John's fault.
Another male character that reveals Charlotte Bronte's opinion in feminism is Mr. Brockelhurst. By keeping the girls a Lowood as "quiet and plain" as possible, he believes that "consistency... is the first of Christian duties" (Bronte 90). First off, he takes the Bible too literally and uses it out of context to make his decisions sound just when they are unjust. Also, keeping the young women at Lowood so orderly and restricted makes Mr. Brockelhurst feel powerful and controlling over them, which shows his patriarchal oppression.
March 25, 2013
When Bronte begins chapter ten with Jane directly talking to the reader, this symbolizes that Jane is taking control of the story. Although she comes out of Lowood in "uniform... but not unhappy," her firm decision to start a new life with a new job shows that she has begun her search for her safe stronghold and happiness (Bronte 233). In Jane's time, getting a job and being paid was usually a man's duty, but Jane once again shows her strong sense of self respect and determination in a society that expects less of her.
When Jane finally meets Mr. Rochester, she "[appears] a disciplined and subdued character," like any other governess or young lady from Lowood (Bronte 234). Shocking him with her whit and respect of her own opinion, Rochester's interest in hearing her thoughts and being charmed by her display's Bronte's belief of true beauty. Bronte believes that a woman's beauty should be based on their intelligence, self respect, and diligence, not social rank, money, and external beauty. Miss Ingram symbolizes the society's typical, snobby rich girl that is not able to charm Rochester because she lacks true beauty, unlike Jane. Even though Miss Ingram has a repulsive opinion about everything, it is still unoriginal, but Jane's opinions are true and unique.
Bronte illuminates the ways society degrades women through Jane and her relaitonships with other characters, mainly with Rochester, which shows that true beauty always shines through the world's flawed degrations. Not only is Rochester helplessly drawnt to Jane because of her genuine character, but he admits that she "too [has] power over [him]" and he is "vulnerable" to her concealed strength (Bronte 615).
April 7, 2014
In chapter 21, Mrs. Reed is slowy dying and Jane comes to visit her, but instead of recieving forgivness and love from Mrs. Reed, Jane finds the opposite. When Mrs. Reed recalls the time when Jane passionately fought with her before going to Lowood, she said she "felt fear" of Jane's hate and that she had "cursed [her] in a man's voice" (Bronte 565). Bronte chooses the word "man" to describe Jane's voice because she shows that Jane has the capability to have the superiority over others like the man of a household. This characterisitic of Jane comes in use in Thornfield. Not only is Rochester attracted to the power of her boldness and "purity," but it also drives her away from his temptations (Bronte 753). Trying to keep her as a mistress, Jane shows how her yearning for acceptance will never overpower her true independent nature. In Bronte's society, women kept their "independent will" concealed, and Jane once again defies society and takes "liberty" in leaving Rochester (Bronte 600).
In addition, Rochester talks about his superoirity to Jane numerous times. Byronic heros are typically yearning or obsessed with power, which explains why he is so fascinated with Jane's passive power. Whether he wanted to remain supieror to Jane or was just obsessed with her independence, Bronte uses Rochester to illuminate that women have the capability to direct their own lives without the help of wealthy men, and should stay true to their virtues and not submitt.
April 23, 2014
From chapter 30 to the end of the book, Jane not only escapes the darkness of death after leaving Thornfield, but she becomes financially independent and solid in her faith in God. When she first arrives at St. John's house, she is “poor and obscure," but then her prayers are answered when she recieves an inheritance from her uncle (Bronte 841). Feeling as "content as a queen" for finally becoming “independent of the Society’s aid," Jane uses her new confidence to save Mr. Rochester from his misery (Bronte 931, 985). When she finds him blind, crippled, and poor, Rochester shows the “avowal of his dependence" toward Jane because she has the power of financial stability (Bronte 1050). Rochester and Jane have swithced their social roles, which Bronte displays her feminist idea that women are capable to have the independent power of wealth. Although, Bronte has Jane call Rochester her "tyrant" because she also wants to show that women can hold the power much better than men because they do not let money create sinful pride (Bronte 1051). Jane also displays this when she immediately splits her inheritance money with her cousins.
Another feminist topic that Bronte illuminates through Jane is the idea that women should be able to have a choice in their marriage, and not be forced into it or submissive to the man's decision. When St. John says that by not marrying him, “it is not [him Jane denies], but God," Bronte exploits St. John using false testimony to gain control over Jane (Bronte 974). The reason women should not just submitt to the man's decision is because they abuse their power in society. If Jane had not trusted herself and her faith in God's true word, she would not have ended in the life she wanted most.