The right to independence for women in Jane Eyre

Independence means having the right. The right to think what you want to think. Not let any body take control of your mind, and thoughts. The right to free speech. To be able to say what you believe is right. Human rights protect the rights of people, everyone no matter sex or status. When women got the vote it was an amazing breakthrough in our history, and that slab of independence with live inside every women for years to come, like a flame that is always burning. However it was not always been that way. That flame had not always been burning. There was a time in which women were not so respected.

This lives within books like Jane Eyre. Striving to alter the problems in society. During the Victorian Era, independence for women was not even thought of as important. Men dominated the lives of their wives. For an average wife, sex was thought of as a sin, shamefully committed and injured to fulfil her husband’s wants, or orders. Ironically, however shameful sex was in a relationship, prostitution was common. Many Authors, battled and fought against the system, and exposed the true Victorian life for what it really was. Authors such as Charles Dickens.

Who with his book Oliver Twist, shone a light on the back street life of London, and showed it for what it really was. These books tackled the harsh issues of our history, and helped shape and mould our country for the future. The Bronte novel did much the same thing. Throughout the book, we have an insight into the life of an orphan girl. Jane is a young girl when we first come upon her. She was a very passionate, fiery character, she was very mercurial. She reacts to her environment with great intensity. She explodes, with desire and drive, and really does not want to allow people to be in authority over her.

Or have any control over her behaviour. She is described as ” a picture of passion. ” Bronte wrote Jane Eyre with herself in mind. She based the character Jane upon her self. She used Jane to get across feelings. Her deep feelings that she couldn’t express through any other form. She was aiming her character to other plain Victorian women, also in her position, or maybe of a higher class, to emphasise to them, they way in which they treat members of a lower status to them. She spoke out load o the nation through Jane. It becomes apparent throughout the book, that Bronte had hidden feelings about herself that she expresses.

In her book, she sets a spark alight for women’s independence, that doesn’t burn out until the day that it is fully accomplished. In the first paragraph, Jane’s feelings and emotions are put across using pathetic fallacy. Her mood is described as “clouds so sombre” and “rain so penetrating. ” This lays the foundations for Jane’s misery. She feels very dull, and unloved. Jane is quite aware of her position at Gateshead, “humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgianna Reed,” This book is written in first person, this gets the reader embedded inn Jane’s thoughts.

We go through every emotion as her. We understand the motivation behind every move that she makes. We also understand exactly how she feels, and can empathise with her entirely. When we first meet Jane, she is living with a family called the Reeds. The reason for her residence there is that her father died, and her uncle requested her to be raised by his wife, Mrs Reed. Mrs Reed is a loveless, cruel, and harsh woman. She reluctantly took Jane in, as she was not to disobey her husband’s wishes. Her son, Master John Reed, is almost inhuman in the way he talks to, and treats Jane. He bullied and punished me; not two or three times in a week; nor once or twice in a day, but continually: every nerve I had feared him, and every morsal in my flesh shrank when he came near. ” This is a frightening description of what life was like for Jane.

Constantly being abused, mentally and physically, by her surrounding ‘carers’. The reason why the Reeds are appalled by Jane and her behaviour is due to her class. Her poverty is the reason for the abuse she suffers day to day. “You have no money, your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not live here with gentlemen’s and children like us. John Reed asserts himself by being abusive and cruel to Jane. “Without speaking, he struck suddenly and strongly. ” Jane feels depressed and unwanted at the beginning of the book “leafless shrubbery” represents the bareness of nature, like Jane’s lack of emotion. However Jane has a surge of passion, to strike back to her recurring abuse. “Wicked and cruel boy! ” and “you are like a murderer-you are like a slave driver- you are like the roman emperors” are what she said. Her fury and utter anger had resulted in her being condemned to the red room.

This is what she feared above all other things. She was so scared that she “resisted all the way. ” She states that she “felt resolved, in desperation, to go all lengths. ” She was so terrified of going in there that she would do anything to get out. Jane appears not to care what other people tell her. She is described as a “mad cat. 2 This could have been used by Bronte to show how misunderstood Jane was. As during the Victorian times, people had no concept of serious madness. They were scared of it. They locked people in rooms, and wouldn’t let them out.

By saying that Jane is a “mad cat” Bronte was saying that Jane appeared to be behaving in a way that was not normal. She has a strong mind, and a wilful nature “my impulse was to rise from it like a spring. ” Its almost like she jas an instant action to things. Mrs Reed feel no sympathy for Jane “take her to the red room, and lock her in there. ” It is almost like she resents having to look after her. Not that she does look after her. However much Mrs Reed despises Jane she still makes it very clear that Jane is “under obligations” to her. Jane’s uncle died in the red room, and this is her reason for being so cautious of it.

She doesn’t understand it, and it has never been denied by the other children that her uncle haunts the room. Jane is terrified of the outcome of her unwanted intrusion into the room. Jane is truly horrified by the thought of a ghost appearing, and she is shocked by the room. No-one really enters the room, “the housemaid alone came in here on Saturdays. ” And “Mrs Reed herself, at far intervals, visited to review the contents of a secret drawer. ” She observes the room, and understands why no one else goes in, “Lies of the secret of the red room spell, which kept it so lonely in spite of its grandeur.

Jane was hallucinating, she was completely terror struck. 2All looked colder and darker in that visionary hollow than in reality: and the 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. ” She looked in the mirror. It shows her the duality of her character, her passionate, and her weak, with “glittering eyes of fear. ” She fainted from sheer horror of her experience. After being expelled from the festivities of Christmas cheer, “from every enjoyment I was of course, excluded. She was sent before Mr Brocklehurst, who interrogated her, about possible entry to Lowood School.

“Do you say your prayers every morning? ” He proved to be a vicious and un-caring man. Who on face value seemed to be a church-going, upstanding member of the society, but he was a terribly harsh, mean man. Jane rebelled against some of his questions. She refused to listen to some of his statements. She is no learning to assert herself, she is gaining more independence. However what is her strength was also her biggest weakness. Mr Brocklehusrt did not like her behaviour. Her remarks were not welcomed by him. Psalms are not interesting” Jane said. He is a hot-tempered man, and doesn’t take kindly to Jane’s comments.

“That proves you have a wicked heart, and you must prey to god to change it… and give you a heart of flesh. ” References to God punishing Jane are becoming more frequent. Jane at this point doesn’t understand the relevance of those comments in her life. The hypocritical attitudes of society meant that people believed that they were good people, who go to church, and do the right things foe society. For example, Mr Brocklehurst, who uses references to the bible in his interview with Jane, but he is a mean, harsh man.

Who doesn’t care genuinely about anything. Jane’s first “quarter” at Lowood was hard. It was severely cold. Insufficient clothing became apparent. This is symbolic for the feelings that Jane has about school, when she first arrives. Bronte again uses pathetic fallacy to portray Jane’s feeling and emotions to the reader. Charlotte Bronte’s sister, died at her time at her school. This was due to insufficient clothing and food for them to survive. Lots of children died whilst being at school. A harsh fact of Victorian life. This was the fuel that Bronte used, that made her angry about the conditions at school.

During Jane’s time at Lowood, she met two people that changed her considerably. They really helped her through the tough times that she injured. Helen Burns and Miss Temple. These two characters seemed to nurture her good side. They brought out the happy, religious, joyful, Jane. Jane was humiliated at school, by Mr Brocklehurst, just after her entrance to the school. “Let the child who broke her slate come forward! ” However the kind, caring, character of Miss Temple contradicts that of Mr Brocklehurst, and helps her cope with her upset.

“Don’t worry Jane, I saw it was an accident, you shall not be punished. Helen Burns also helps her. She becomes closer to the two of them than ever before. However Thyphus strikes Lowood, and Jane has to cope with a great loss. This builds upon Jane’s character, she becomes much more understanding. She is very strong-minded still, but much more in control of her emotions. “Shall I see you again Helen? When I die? ” Jane finds the death of Helen Burns a lot to cope with and she finds it hard to look at her. “I saw her face, pale, wasted, but quite composed. ” After her experiences with Miss Temple and Helen, she decides to give back all of the good that they gave and she teaches at the school.

After working at Lowood, she decides to become a governess. This is a typical job for poor Victorian females. Jane had a warm welcome at Thornfield, which she certainly did not expect. “I little expected such a reception; I anticipated only coldness and stiffness: this is not like what I have heard of the treatment of governesses. ” She came upon Miss Fairfax who instantly took a liking to Jane, and her bubbly aura, and likewise with Jane. Jane was shown to her room. “The chamber looked such a bright little place to me as the sun shone in between the gay blue chintz curtains… o unlike the bare planks and stained plaster of Lowood… my spirits rose at view. ”

She is comparing her room at Thornfield with Lowood. Lowood was a place of misery for Jane while she was young. As she states that Lowood and Thornfield are so different. She assumes that she will be happy at Thornfield. One Mysterious night, with the aura of fantasy in the air, Jane meets someone who she will have an instant attraction to. “That evening calm betrayed alike the tinkle of the nearest streams, the sough of the most remote. ” She was thinking about that fairy stories that Bessie used to tell her at Gateshead. I remembered certain of Bessie’s tales. ”

She was interrupted, by an animal that added to the atmosphere of the night. “A horse was coming. ” Rather like a Prince on horse back in a fairy tale. Intruding on her dreams. This horse reminded her of an animal in one of her fairy tales. “A spirit called Gytrash, which in the form of the horse, mule of large dog, haunted solitary ways, and sometimes came upon bleated travellers, as this horse was now coming upon me. ” Mr Rochester and Jane met on that evening; it was a romantic setting for they’re meeting.

I think that Bronte used this to show the instant bond between the couple. When Jane gets back to Thornfield, after helping the stranger, she finds out indeed that he was Mr Rochester – her boss. Jane feels hideously embarrassed by the situation. Mr Rochester certainly doesn’t feel the tension between the couple. “Mr Rochester would be glad if you and your pupil would take tea with him in the drawing room this evening. ” Mr Rochester is the character who shows society how people should love on impulse, he forgets about Jane’s class, or his position of authority over her.

He is interested in her, and her nature. He seems interested in poverty not frightened by it. He is very passionate and has some vibrant emotions. Women in Victorian society didn’t marry for love, but more for convenience or deals within families. Jane is very different; she is morally upstanding and cannot marry Mr Rochester even if it’s for the right reasons. Mr Rochester treats Jane like an equal “my equal is here. ” I think that she is very surprised at this, as she has never before been treated this way. During her time at Gateshead, Jane was treated like an inferior.

She was abused by her family. Jane had grown up a lot at Lowood School. It had built her character. Mr Rochester surprises Jane in the way that he treats her. Jane is reminded of her depression about herself when a party is held at Thornfiled. Among the guests was Blanche Ingam. A beautiful and young lady. “This beautiful an accomplished lady… as brilliant as her jewels. ” She was considered “the belle of the evening. ” Jane was rather envious of Blanche. She compared herself to her. This shows the duality of society. Jane is plain, and works hard for what she earns.

Whereas Blanche is Beautiful, but has a heart “on which nothing bloomed spontaneously. ” She feels as though she doesn’t belong, even though Mr Rochester had insisted that she and Adele were involved in the festivities. Jane became upset when the ladies started discussing the “in competency” of governesses. Blanche said “My dearest, don’t mention governesses, the word makes me nervous. ” This shows how the higher classes view that of the lower classes. However Mr Rochester believes in treating Jane like an equal. “I don’t wish to treat you like an inferior.

He also says ” My equal is here. ” Mr Rochester is symbolic of the start of independence for women. He neglects social structure, and loves on impulse. He seems not to care about material gain, and believes that marriage is not for business or family gain, but purely for love. This is Bronte’s way of showing the Victorian society the love is more important, and that poverty is nothing to be afraid of. After all that Jane has been through, she does indeed fall in love with Mr Rochester. This truly does show that love conquers all.

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