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

Explore to what extent Charlotte Bronte's treatment of women in Jane Eyre is in fact a social commentary on life in the 19th century.

Extracts from this document...


Explore to what extent Charlotte Bronte's treatment of women in Jane Eyre is in fact a social commentary on life in the 19th century. Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte, was published in London in 1847. Similar to many novels of the time, it highlighted the many social and moral problems of the period. These included topics such as poverty, health, lack of education, treatment of children and, the aspect that is pointed out for the most part in Jane Eyre- the limited role and the attitude towards women. Charlotte Bronte took great risk when she published Jane Eyre. In the period that Bronte lived, women were not expected to work, in fact, there was a strong feeling against women who worked. Writing was also included in this, and many women writers used a male name when they published books merely so that the book would actually sell. When Bronte wrote Jane Eyre however, she used her own name, risking the popularity of the book. The contents of Jane Eyre also put under great risk. As it was a male dominated society at the time, women had no say. They could not stand out against men. In Jane Eyre, men are represented as the bad, Mr. Brocklehurst, for example, treats the girls at Lowood School very badly, and he is a very typical male of the time. ...read more.


However, marriages of upper class citizens were very rarely for love in that period. Women tried to marry someone of the same or higher social status than themselves, to increase their money and power. For a woman's power was limited to her husbands control, influence, and wealth. When Jane meets Bessie before she goes to Thornfield, Bessie explains that miss Georgina met a young lord who she fell in love with but 'his relations were against his match' This means that he was not of high enough status to marry miss Georgina, and she was disallowed to wed him by Mrs. Reed. Miss Ingram on the other hand, was of perfect social status to marry Mr. Rochester. She was of the same class as him, they were both rich and their families contained much power and wealth. Although Miss Ingram is merely marrying Mr. Rochester for his wealth, not his love, as Adele tells Jane. Higher-class women were usually those that could afford schooling with ease, but were those who did not need it. The women of these classes would be looked after their whole lives. They spend the first part of their lives under the protection of their own family wealth, living off this; they then are married and live off the wealth of their partner. ...read more.


The Hierarchy of servants was very common in large richer houses of the century. The top of the chain would consist of the wife of the house, as, she if she wished, she could take on this responsibility, as it was one of the few that they could. The next would be the head servant (similar to Mrs. Fairfax), she would take instructions from the wife if the wife was not carrying them out herself. Then would be servants that headed a particular area of expertise, Head Cook, Stable master etc. Under them would be the lowest servants, those of the lowest class who were lucky enough to get a place in a house where they may have been able to stay or be paid a fair wage. The lowest class women would have jobs such as washing, changing beds and pillows, dusting etc, under the orders of the head servant. Similar to Grace in Thornfield. The role and position of women has greatly changed since the period that charlotte Bronte lived. Jane Eyre is actually a fiction al autobiography of Charlotte Bronte's life. From being treated badly at school, to being a teacher, Charlotte's life is echoed in the book. Due to women's rights acts and that men saw the unfairness in the way women were treated women now have equal rights in society. Jane Eyre is a very good social commentary of what life was like in the period of which Charlotte lived. Samuel Verlander English Coursework 2003 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Charlotte Bronte essays

  1. Charlotte Brontë presents several different images of women in Jane Eyre- discuss these with ...

    Before the fire Rochester is bitter and has sinned terribly but in attempting to save his wife from death Rochester shows that he is not wholly bad. It would be very easy for Rochester to have let Bertha die in the fire so that he would be free and could have got out of the house unhurt.

  2. Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte and ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier

    her, but does not disclose as much information about their roles in the household and character so that they remain a mystery. Jane Eyre In Jane Eyre, the novel is set in many different places, but mainly in Thornfield Hall which is where she resides in chapter 20.

  1. Attitudes assignment- a class divided. Social Experiment in a primary school class to ...

    Donna: We had those collars on. Jane Elliott: You think the collars kept you...Oh, and you couldn't think as well with the collars on. Four minutes and eighteen seconds. Raymond: I knew we weren't going to make it. Child: Neither did I." The roles were switched over, and now the blue-eyed children understood what the brown-eyed children had gone through the previous day.

  2. By Looking Closely At The Central Relationship, Consider To What Extent Jane Eyre and ...

    Hence Rochester proposes and admits he has loved Jane all along, the romance and passion flares up as a result of the possibility of Lady Ingram standing between them. Jane and Rochester come out strong having overcome this obstacle with them being engaged.

  1. Jane Eyre - Was she a woman of her times?

    Through the actions of her mother Jane was already stigmatised, but this was augmented by her parents' death, and subsequent treatment by the Reeds. Jane didn't have the physicality or the wealth to signify her a lady.

  2. The Real Charlotte - review

    The reader is also told that she denied Francie her true right to Mrs Mullan's inheritance; and that she is trying to provoke a marriage between Francie and Christopher Dysart. In Charlotte's conversation with Roddy Lambert she says, 'I think I've left a horn in her pillow when I told her Peter Joyce was bankrupt'.

  1. The 19th Century Novel

    A recurring and ongoing theme throughout his novels seemed to be a great desire to give a moral and social message to society, exposing the middle and upper classes to the apparent horrors endured by the lower classes. Strong and interesting characters, as are characteristic of 19th Century Novels were

  2. Consider the Influence of Gothic Fiction upon pre 20th century and 20th century texts

    I'm the King of the Castle, written in 1970, is probably Hill's best known book, it won praise for its piercing fable of the brutality latent in childhood innocence.

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