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By Looking Closely At The Central Relationship, Consider To What Extent Jane Eyre and Rebecca Conform To The Conventions Of The Romance Genre?

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Introduction

By Looking Closely At The Central Relationship, Consider To What Extent Jane Eyre and Rebecca Conform To The Conventions Of The Romance Genre? The central focus of many books is the romantic hero the romance is based on. To what extent are the male characters in the two stories romantic heroes? In some ways both Rochester and Max De Winter fit into these roles but it could also be argued that the characters are in fact the exact opposite of what a romantic hero should be. However, before answering this, it is important we look at what is the conventional romantic hero so that we can establish to what extent the male characters conform to this stereotype. Many romance novels describe the romantic hero as tall, dark and handsome, often rich and respected for his high status. The hero is most often the charming character, proud, confident and almost always in control. Intelligence is also often associated with a romantic hero as well as the more obvious characteristic of rescuing the girl. In Jane Eyre, there are many heroic characteristics about Mr Rochester that suggest that Jane Eyre has conformed to the conventions of the romance genre of having a romantic hero. Rochester's 'dark, strong and stern' features give him the mysterious characteristics of a romantic hero. This is also emphasized in the first meeting of Jane and Rochester when he does not reveal his identity, which also suggests he is secretive. Also the fact that he is rich and holds a very respectable high status suggests he is the conventional hero. Often the high status comes with pride as is true with Mr Rochester. This is shown when he does not want Jane's help on their first meeting. Furthermore, Rochester's confidence and intelligence also emphasize his heroic character. In addition to this, Rochester holds a great deal of control in the story, which is first apparent when he commands Jane to 'just stand on one side' as she offers her assistance. ...read more.

Middle

Although in Rebecca, there is a great deal of natural things being related to the evil character, Rebecca. This is not as conventional for a romantic story but suits a more gothic genre. In a number of ways, both proposals in Jane Eyre and Rebecca are very different but do they portray the traditional romance genre of other novels? Often, as previous romance novels have shown, romantics use the beauty of natural scenery to enhance the romance of the proposal. However this is not the case with Rebecca where there is no visual imagery of the natural world but rather they are on the terrace while de Winter has his breakfast. This non-traditional proposal is emphasized by the narrator's thought of how 'in books men knelt to women and it would be moonlight. Not at breakfast,' and even where de Winter himself admits this is not the traditional romantic proposal as they 'ought to be in a conservatory,' the narrator in a 'white frock with a rose' and a 'violin playing a waltz in the distance. Hence this shows a lack of romance in the proposal scene and suggests Rebecca does not conform to the conventions of romantic proposals. In Jane Eyre, however, the proposal takes place in the 'Eden-like' garden where the 'sunset is thus at meeting with moonrise'. The flowers and the beautiful scents set the romantic scene and the 'nightingale's song' is the sweet music in the background. This image sounds almost perfect and 'heaven' like and is often the scenery used in many other novels to enhance the romance of the proposal. This suggests unlike Rebecca, Jane Eyre does conform to the conventions of a romantic proposal. In addition to this, it is also common in romantic novels that the male character confesses his love for the female character when proposing and there is a lot of passion and intimacy in the proposal. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite both heroes having to suffer as a consequence of their happiness, it is conventional that the romantic hero goes through some suffering since romantics often like to represent the heroes as suffering victims. I also found the scenery descriptions in Jane Eyre and Rebecca also conform to the conventions of romance genre since most are used to enhance and emphasize the romance, passion, and intimacy of the relationships between the narrator and de Winter in Rebecca and between Rochester and Jane in Jane Eyre. In addition to this the obstacles that stop the narrator and de Winter in Rebecca and Jane and Rochester in Jane Eyre from being together also suggest both books conform to the conventions of romance genre where obstacles are common in enhancing the romance. Finally there is also the fact that both novels have a happy ending where the couples are together and have overcome their obstacles; again this is one of the conventions of romance genre. The male characters, the scene descriptions, the obstacles and the endings of both novels all play a role in emphasizing that Jane Eyre and Rebecca are the typical romance novels and suggest that both Jane Eyre and Rebecca do conform to the conventions of the romance genre. However, the proposals in the novels suggest that Jane Eyre is more conventional than Rebecca since the proposal in Jane Eyre is at the centre of the romance in the story suggesting its significance, a typical feature of romance novels, whereas the proposal in Rebecca does not conform to this convention. The fact that the proposal in Jane Eyre is more conventional might be due to the fact that it was written at an earlier time than Rebecca, where this sort of proposal is more traditional. But this is contradicted by the fact that the narrator's relationship with de Winter is all about passion and romance, a conventional thing in romance novels, whereas the relationship between Rochester and Jane Eyre crosses with the Christian faith, her 'conscience' and morals, emphasized by the fact that the novel ends with the death of a priest. ...read more.

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