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In chapters 1-10 in Jane Eyre, feminism and it's role is very apparent throughout the chapters. Bronte uses Jane and her experiences with men to teach the reader on her views of the role of women and the abuse of women in many cases. Young Jane grows up being very wary and untrusting of most men becasue of her evil cousin, John Reed. John Reed physically and verbally asbuses Jane constantly. Jane explains that “Accustomed to John Reed’s abuse, I never had an idea of replying to it; my care was how to endure the blow which would certainly follow the insult.” (Bronte 18). John Reed insults Jane by saying, “You have no business to take our books; you are a dependent, mama says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentlemen’s children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mama’s expense.” (Bronte 18). Jane become very accustomed to this abuse but as her time at Gateshead begins to come to a close, Jane begins rebelling against John Reed and standing up for herself. She called him a “Wicked and cruel boy!” And tells him he is “You are "like a murderer" "like a slave-driver" "like the Roman emperors!” (Bronte 19). When Jane leaves Gateshead and the Reed family behind, she runs into another cruel man named Mr. Brocklehurst at Lowood, an all girls school for orphans. Mr Brocklehurt believes that all women should be plain and birning to honor their role. He also wrongfully humiliates Jane in front of her peers. “Teachers, you must watch her: keep your eyes on her movements, weigh well her words, scrutinise her actions, punish her body to save her soul: if, indeed, such salvation be possible, for (my tongue falters while I tell it) this girl, this child, the native of a Christian land, worse than many a little heathen who says its prayers to Brahma and kneels before Juggernaut—this girl is—a liar!” (Bronte 91). Jane also has some people on her side at Lowood, such as Helen Burns and miss temple, who stands up to the abuse of men in her own ways.
In chapters 11-20 of Jane Eyre, Emily Bronte further expresses her views on feminism and life as a woman in her time through Jane's life and experiences. In chapter 11, Jane makes her first life changing descision as an idependent woman. She chooses to leave Lowood and begin a new life at Thornfield as a governess. This leap of faith jumpstarts Jane's new role as a strong woman character. Soon after arriving at Thornfield, Jane unknowinly runs into the ever unpresent man of the house, Rochester, which marks the beginning of a strange and new relationship with a man for Jane. One night, Rochester drunkenly questions Jane on whether or not she find him attractive. She quiclky replies with a "no". Rochester goes on to explain to Jane that their relationship is one not soley of servitude. Rochester and Jane's growing mutual respect proves very evident in these chapters, which is something Jane has never experienced before. As the story goes on, everyday Jane falls for Rochester more and more. She tries her hardest to fight these feelings on love towards Rochester but she cant. Rochester also occationally displays small acts of affection towards Jane. As Jane's feelings grow, she finds out about a beautiful woman named Blanche Ingram, and she developed a type of jealousy towards Blanche Ingram. Jane descides she is going to draw a pictures of her ad Blanche and whenever she has feeling for Rochester, look back and the pictures and see that she will never be with him because of her lack of beauty. “Whenever, in future, you should chance to fancy Mr. Rochester thinks well of you, take out these two pictures and compare them: say, ‘Mr. Rochester might probably win that noble lady’s love, if he chose to strive for it; is it likely he would waste a serious thought on this indigent and insignificant plebeian?’” (Bronte 180). Later on, Jane sees Blanche Ingram in person when she arrives with Rochester as well as with a large group of the most elite and prestigious people Jane has ever seen. Blanche proves to be absolutley physically beautiful but has a terrible personality. Bronte teaches the lesson that beauty is not everything that woman have. Bronte also points out this theme in little Adele and her constant worries and appearances and clother. “ I turned my face away to conceal a smile I could not suppress: there was something ludicrous as well as painful in the little Parisienne’s earnest and innate devotion to matters of dress." (Bronte 295). Finally, Jane goes on a very lomg tangent about womens rights that seem as if it is almost ronte speaking to the reader herself. “Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.” (Bronte 189).
In chapters 21-30, Bronte further expresses her feeling about the struggles women face at that time and feminism through various situatiosn that Jane endures. The major situation Bronte uses to express her views once again is through Jane and Rochesters confusing, complicated, and disfnstion relationship with eachother. As stated before, Jane comes into Thornfield very assertive and with a unwavering sense of self. As time goes on, she begins to lose herself little by little. When Jane sees Rochester for the first time after visiting the Reed's, she explains that “every nerve I have is unstrung: for a moment I am beyond my own mastery. What does it mean? I did not think I should tremble in this way when I saw him, or lose my voice or the power of motion in his presence.” (Bronte 425). This shows his obvious power he has over her body and emotions now, which the reader would not expect from the strongest woman in the book. Jane also expresses her growing dependence on Rochester in explaining to him that wherever he is, thats her home. When Rochester explains that he intends on marrying Blanche, Jane deperately confesses that “I grieve to leave Thornfield: I love Thornfield:—I love it, because I have lived in it a full and delightful life,—momentarily at least. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been buried with inferior minds, and excluded from every glimpse of communion with what is bright and energetic and high. I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence, with what I delight in,—with an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind. I have known you, Mr. Rochester; and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you for ever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death.” (Bronte 440). However, Jane goes on to exclaim to Rochester “Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you,—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you” and Rochester reveals to Jane that he views them as equals. Jane tries to fight against Rochesters flattering and convincing speeches but she fails. Rochester then almost demands that he marries her and she giddily and spontaneously accepts. Rochester also indirectly requests that Jane be his mistress, although he beleives that mistresses are like slaves. To perefctly describe how Jane has been overtaken by Rochester, “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.” (Bronte 478). Jane admits that Rochester is her idol.
When Jane finds out that Rochester is still married to Betha, she realizes that she must flee Thornfield. However, this descision does not come easily. In the end, Her faith and morals overcome all of Rochesters manipulation and temptations, which she is very thankful for. Jane begins to find herself again. Jane confesses that “Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot.” (Bronte 555).
In conclusion, these chapers tell the story of janes submission to Rochester through words, thoughts, and actions. also, these chapters show jane triumph over his suffocating grip to regain her old sense of self.
In chapters 31-38, Jane fort her struggle with male oppression but in the end, she completes her journey to become an independent woman. When St. John and his sisters take jane In, St. John begins to have a very controlling attitude over her. Jane explains that “I found him a very patient, very forbearing, and yet an exacting master: he expected me to do a great deal and when I fulfilled his expectations, he, in his own way, fully testified his approbation. By degrees, he acquired a certain influence over me that took away my liberty of mind: his praise and notice were more restraining than his indifference. I could no longer talk or laugh freely when he was by, because a tiresomely importunate instinct reminded me that vivacity (at least in me) was distasteful to him. I was so fully aware that only serious moods and occupations were acceptable, that in his presence every effort to sustain or follow any other became vain: I fell under a freezing spell. When he said “go,” I went; “come,” I came; “do this,” I did it. But I did not love my servitude: I wished, many a time, he had continued to neglect me.” (Bronte 550). This is a long quote but it perfectly showcases jane falling under the control of a suppressive and controlling man once again almost unwillingly. As time goes on, Jane also confesses: “I daily wished more to please him; but to do so, I felt daily more and more that I must disown half my nature, stifle half my faculties, wrest my tastes from their original bent, force myself to the adoption of pursuits for which I had no natural vocation” (Bronte 551). Finally, Jane comes to appoint if clarity and she begins to understand what she has such complicated relationships with powerful men and people I'm general. This shows huge growth from orphan jane to now almost independent jane. “I know no medium: I never in my life have known any medium in my dealings with positive, hard characters, antagonistic to my own, between absolute submission and determined revolt.” (Bronte 554). When Jane finally breaks free from St. John's strangling grip, Jane hears a voice and knows that is has to be a sign for her to go back to Rochester. When Jane finally meets him again, Rochester is disabled and without money. Jane is now obviously the more financially and physically powerful figure now in their relationship. Jane can now declare to Rochester that she is now an independent woman. Jane is now in the position to take care of Rochester. Jane's new situation is the completion of her journey to find independence as a woman in her day and in her relationship with Rochester. After being reunited with Jane fir a small amount of time, Rochester humbly asks jane to be his wife after making sure she would be fine with watching after his now disabled body. Jane then claims that “Reader, I married him.” (Bronte 624). Jane is married to Rochester for 10 years at the end of the boom and she explains that “No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together.” (Bronte 626). This statement fully shows the new and healthy and equal relationship the share. They are growing together and Jane has finally reached her happiness as a independent woman in a very intimate and equal relationship.