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Feminist Criticism focuses on the inequality and oppression of women within society.

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Introduction

FENINIST CRITICISM Feminist Criticism focuses on the inequality and oppression of women within society. Literary feminine criticism today is the result of the 'women's movement' of the 1960 which realized the significance of images of women put forward by literature and saw that it was vital to combat and question their authority and coherence. This movement has been crucially involved in books and literature. Representation of women in literature was seen as one of the most important forms of 'socialisation' since it provided the role models which indicated to women and men what was acceptable 'feminine' and legitimate feminine aspirations and goals. In the 19th century, very few women went out to work unless there was a dire need to do so. Focus on put on the choice of marriage partner, which decided their social status, happiness and fulfillment or lack of it. Men were seen as strong and women as nurturing, capable of writing only about nature etc. Charlotte Bronte wrote under the pseudonym Currer, Ellis & Acton Bell to get around this prejudice. Elaine Showalter described the shift of attention from adrotexts to gynotexts and coined the phrase gynocritic. ...read more.

Middle

This behavior was not expected of a Victorian child and was felt to be outrageouos. Jane is sent to Lowood. Here everything that is natural is erased. The cutting off of hair is interpreted as a stamping out of identity. The atmosphere is cold an frigid and the girls live in near starvation. Inspite of this Jane learns to control an cope with her anger and becomes a governess. She admires Miss Temple and is inspiread by ladylike virtues. Although Miss Temple is seen to be calm and in control, there is evidence that there is a 'sewer' of anger beneath this 'temple' as suggested by Gilbert and Gubar as she represses her feelings towards Mr Brocklehurst's stinginess. Jane's other influence at Lowood is Helen Burns who feels that 'she has a duty to submit to the injuries of life'. She is described as a 'slattern' and also seethes with hidden anger as she burns with spiritual passion and dreams of freedom in eternity. After Helen dies and Miss Temple leaves Lowood, Jane's rebelliousness comes to the fore and she looks for another form of 'servitude' if 'liberty is not possible. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the aborted marriage Jane refuses to stay on at Thornfield as Rochester's mistress and leaves. Her wanderings across the moors is seen as 'essential homlessness, namless, placeless status of women in a patriarchal society' by Gilbert and & Gubar. At Moor house Jane encounters St John Rivers another patriarchal figure and his two sisters Diana and Mary who it turns out are her 'good' relatives. St John Rivers helps gain status by offering her a teaching job. Jane finds strength in the sisters learned and independent qualities. St John offers Jane marriage. She realizes that marriage to him would be one of labor not love and refuses. Her strength of character and adherence of her principles show just how far she come towards maturity. When she inherits a large sum from her uncle in Maderia she shares it equally among her relatives and is now truly an independent woman. She is able to act just as she pleases and return to Thornfield ,on discovering Bertha's death she goes to Ferndean and marries Rochester who she finds has lost his sight as well the use of an arm and now sees as an equal. Ferndean is set in deep forest and suggests an isolation of a spiritual nature for the lovers as if trying to avoid the strictures of society. ...read more.

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