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Analyse the ways in which Bronte presents the "wedding" of Jane and Rochester and the discovery of the Bertha in chapter 26. Discuss what this tells the reader about the Victorian views of women and race?

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Introduction

Analyse the ways in which Bronte presents the "wedding" of Jane and Rochester and the discovery of the Bertha in chapter 26. Discuss what this tells the reader about the Victorian views of women and race? Jane Eyre is a classical novel by Charlotte Bronte. She has had a difficult past at Gateshead, with her aunt and cousins and at Lowood where she studied. However her life looked promising at Thornfield. Jane wakes to strange noises and the smell of smoke. She finds Rochester unconscious in his bed, which is on fire. Other odd things happen in the house: Jane often hears strange laughter and thuds. Bertha's tearing of Jane's wedding veil could be seen as symbolizing her revolt against the institution of marriage. Jane is not entirely the stereotype of an obedient Victorian woman. In this one passage" ... ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting socks, to play on the piano and embroider bags." Jane clearly sets herself apart from women of her time. She speaks of something that most women wouldn't dare, or just didn't care about equality between men and women. Jane speaks about it so fervently, and with conviction in an attempt to prove her worth is that of any a man's. ...read more.

Middle

However, Jane and Rochester saw each other before arriving at the church. This is an indication that something awful will happen later on. Furthermore, it is fire imagery that represents the break-up between Rochester and Jane. Earlier in the book, the chestnut tree in the orchard is hit by lightning, a form of fire imagery. Though "scarred and scorched", "the cloven halves were not broken from each other" and the "strong roots kept them unsoldered below". The fire, or passion, has burnt the tree and split it into two, just as Rochester and Jane must be split apart as they have yet to recognize the risk of being overly passionate. However, like the chestnut tree which is still joined at the roots, the basis of the love between Rochester and Jane remains, which leaves the path open for getting back together later in the book. Adele tells Jane that on the night she agreed to marry Mr Rochester that "the great horse-chestnut at the bottom of the orchard had been struck by lightning in the night, and half of it split away." This shows how nature reflects the beliefs. It shows that they are going against nature by marrying, and that it will end with a parting, which is what does happen. ...read more.

Conclusion

This tells us that Victorians were quite racist to people with different racial background. Another interpretation of Bertha is that she is a double for Jane herself, the embodiment of Jane's repressed fear and anger, both in regard to her specific situation and in regard to oppression. For although Jane declares her love for Rochester, her dreams and apprehensions suggest that she also secretly fears being married to him, perhaps even that she secretly wants to rage against the imprisonment that marriage could become for her. Although Jane does not manifest this fear or rage, Bertha does. Thus, Bertha tears the bridal veil, and it is Bertha's existence that stops the wedding from going forth. Bertha Mason also represents the constraint of Victorian marriage. Rochester claims to have imprisoned her because she is mad, but it is easy to imagine an opposite relation of cause and effect, in which years of enforced imprisonment and isolation have made her violently insane or, at least, increased her insanity. Thus, the madwoman in the attic could represent the confining and repressive aspects of Victorian wifehood, suggesting that the lack of autonomy and freedom in marriage suffocates women, threatening their mental and emotional health. Bertha's tearing of Jane's wedding veil could be seen as symbolizing her revolt against the institution of marriage. Overall, everything is revealed in chapter 26 including the discovery of Bertha in the attic. Jane Eyre 10/03/06 ...read more.

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