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Analyse the methods Charlotte Bronte uses to make the reader empathise with Jane Eyre in the opening chapters. Reflect on how the novel portrays Victorian ideology

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Introduction

Analyse the methods Charlotte Bronte uses to make the reader empathise with Jane Eyre in the opening chapters. Reflect on how the novel portrays Victorian ideology and relate your analysis to the novel's literary context In 1847, Charlotte Bronte published a Victorian novel called 'Jane Eyre' under a male pen name, Currer Bell. The reason for that was that in Victorian times women were criticised for being emotional, and that reflected in their writing work. It is interesting to explore how Charlotte Bronte makes the reader emphasise with Jane Eyre in the opening chapters of the novel. Bronte does that by reflecting the settings on Jane's emotional and mental state and by demonstrating that Jane's values contrast favourably with those of a patriarchal household. The novels opening sets out a cold miserable scene, which reflects on Jane's mental and emotional state. The narrator says: We had been wandering indeed in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and rain so penetrating, that further outdoor exercise was now out of the question. Bronte uses adjectives such as leafless, cold, winter, sombre and penetrating to set the setting of coldness and loneliness. ...read more.

Middle

Jane explains that she has committed as many crimes as John and he is not punished for it. Mrs. Reed still loves him and calls him 'her own darling', despite him disrespecting her by calling her 'old girl', spoiling her clothes and more. When Georgina and Eliza call Mrs Reed, she immediately assumes that Jane has done something wrong and sends her to the red room, even though John was calling Jane a rat. The servants, Bessie and Abbot, also respect John more then the others. When they come down and see Jane and John fighting they respond with; "Dear! Dear! What a fury to fly at Master John!" and "Did ever anybody see such a picture of passion!" They also immediately side with John and shout at Jane for attacking him. This is because at those times there was an idea that the eldest male (John) should be the dominant in a Victorian household. This relates back to Bronte's assertion that 'conventionality is not mortality' just because something is done in a traditional way, does not mean that it is ethical. 'self-righteousness is not religion' just because you believe that you are good and others are evil does not mean that god would approve of your ways. ...read more.

Conclusion

The novel 'Jane Eyre' was informed by novels written in the mid-17th century because Jane falls in love with a married man, but doesn't marry him until his wife dies, which is the illicit love. In the 18th century novel were popular because the main characters were virtuous (morally good). 'Jane Eyre' was informed by such novels because she was also virtuous. 'Novels of Sentiment' were popular in the 18th century and such novels main characters were, virtuous because they were aware of their surrounding and had sympathetic hearts. In 'Jane Eyre' we see that Jane is also aware of here surroundings and has a sympathetic heart. In the 19th century many novels used landscaped to reflect the depth of their characters' feelings. This includes Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre', her sister, Emily's 'Wuthering Heights' and others. In such novels pathetic fallacy is used to reflect on the characters feelings. The opening of Jane Eyre is a good example of this as Bronte opens with a rainy, cold day that reflects on how isolated and depressed Jane is. In the novel Bronte shows how the settings reflect on Jane's mental and emotional state and how Jane's values contrast with those of the patriarchal household. Bronte also shows that the women's place within Victorian Ideology was low and that men were considered to be better. ?? ?? ?? ?? 16/10/2005 1 ...read more.

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