• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore the presentation of obsession in men in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

Extracts from this document...


Explore the presentation of obsession in men in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Enduring Love by Ian McEwan Both Jane Eyre by Bronte and Enduring Love by McEwan present the theme of obsession in men. Jane is successively controlled by men, the critics, Gilbert and Gubar (The Madwoman in the Attic) said, "Rochester's loving tyranny recalls John Reed's unloving despotism... recalls Brocklehurst's hypocrisy" which indicates that Jane never escapes the oppression of the men around her. The control that Rochester and St John try to impose upon her is part of the patriarchal society of the day, causing Bronte to be widely criticised when Jane Eyre was first published. Rochester's love for Jane which is featured in the third part of the novel is one of heated passion and love from both sides. Traits of Rochester's obsessional love of Jane can be seen developing throughout the book, but it is most obvious when Rochester proposes to her, "I summon you as my wife". Rochester's desperation to marry Jane and the control he wants to impose on her is particularly evident when he "summons" her to marry him. This also reflects the patriarchal society in which men were expected to control women and for them to be subservient. The use of the word 'my' indicated that Rochester is very possessive over Jane and this is continued throughout the novel. ...read more.


The monosyllabic sentence McEwan uses suggests that Parry says it so simply that Parry completely believes it to be true. Rochester also believes his love of Jane to be real, but from the outside, it is easy to question it. Jane encounters another controlling and obsessive character in St John Rivers, but he is obsessed with controlling everything around him, including Jane. The first, and most obvious attempt to control everything is in chapter thirty-two, " 'go on for another quarter of an hour' And he actually took out his watch and laid it upon the table to measure the time". Bronte immediately creates a controlling character with obsessive tendencies. St John is presented to be cruel in his overwhelming devotion to religion and during their relationship shows no mercy in trying to control Jane and to force her to do what he wants. This rigidity and coldness is reflected in the ice imagery used to describe him by Bronte as "cold as an iceberg". The use of a simile implies that St John is completely emotionless and he is repeatedly described as cold to suggest his repression. This also shows that St John definitely does not understand Jane's passionate nature which is described using the contrasting fire imagery. Moreover, both characters want more control over their future and are to a certain extent obsessed by it. ...read more.


Throughout the novel, Bronte presents religious men in a negative way, both St John and the hypocrite Mr Brocklehurst in chuildhood. The critics Gibert and Gubar (The Madwoman in the Attic) said that "St John has an almost blatantly patriarchal name" and this symoblises his power as a man and his religious zeal. Parry attempts to use religion in Enduring Love to gain Joe as his partner also, "I praise God He has sent me to you". In contrast to Jane Eyre, Parry uses religion to persuade Joe and to rejoice at their 'relationship', whereas St John uses religion to bully. Overall, religion is a vital theme in both books, which characters use either to control or to show their love. Overall, both Jane Eyre by Bronte and Enduring Love by McEwan possess the theme of obsession in the male characters. The differences of the books include when they were written, which leads to the reader being able to question if St John has a mental disorder, or even Rochester. The times also affect the ways in which the male characters could obsess, such as Parry using a telephone. But, the main question is if obsession ever even leads to happiness. The answer is an obvious no as Jane and Rochester only marry when the obsession has ended and Jed's obsession of Joe only leads to the destruction of Joe and Clarissa's relationship and Jed ending up in a mental hospital. Therefore, even love can not tolerate obsession, whether it be embraced or pushed away. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Charlotte Bronte section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Charlotte Bronte essays

  1. Discuss the Role of Religion in Jane Eyre

    students may be said to show Bront�'s wariness of the Evangelical movement and the ideals it presents. Jane's second religious role model, Helen Burns, presented beliefs that may be seen as being closer to Jane's own religious ideas. However, they are still too passive for Jane to accept, which serves

  2. Essentially, Jane Eyre is a story of romantic love Discuss.

    For example, on the day after her engagement to Mr Rochester, the June morning is "brilliant" with a "fresh and fragrant breeze." She appreciates the beautiful weather and seems to make the most out of it. This reflects her feelings: she feels new and brilliant at being united with the man she loves.

  1. Jane Eyre: an unconventional heroine. Explore how the female position is presented

    Once again, Jane is not satisfied with this interpretation of religion and insists that she should "resist those who punish me unjustly." The third interpretation of religion is represented by St John Rivers, who believes in sacrificing emotional needs for Christianity, which Jane also rejects (by rejecting his proposal).

  2. Closely analyse the presentation of Rochesters character in Jane Eyre. In the course of ...

    he is the master of the house, a well-liked figure among high society, and is dominant to Jane throughout most of the novel. Rhys's presentation of the character is similar in Wide Sargasso Sea: a white, British man of wealth (especially when compared with the poverty that the Cosway family

  1. Jane Eyre. We would like to show you Jane Eyres character and ...

    Rochester tries to stop her, but she explains that she would never walk away without helping a person in need. Rochester later claims that this behavior attracted him to Jane, probably because it was so out of the ordinary. Upper-class Victorian women did not have occupations, ever. They didn�t work.

  2. How does Charlotte Bront develop the adult Jane Eyre through the presentation of the ...

    Jane thinks that she should not have to endure pain when she does not deserve it; her discussion of what she would do in several situations further demonstrates this. Helen, however, thinks in a different way - she believes if she endures pain, and listens to advice, she will learn to correct her faults.

  1. People talk of natural sympathies From their first meeting, Jane and Rochester are well-matched. ...

    a high social class, far more age and experience and is male, however he is determined to ignore all of these superiorities and take notice only of Jane?s inner-spirit and personality. This shows the extent of Rochester?s unconventionality, and this irregularity of character is what really allows their relationship to develop.

  2. Explore Bronte's use of symbolism in Jane Eyre

    Jane is "seeing red" at this moment. Alternatively, one can think about the red-room experience as part of the indescribable trauma of suffering; Jane loses consciousness because she can scarcely deal with the ordeal, and she can never quite verbalize what the problem is, besides the possibility of Mr Reed?s ghost.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work