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In what ways is Jane different from other women in the novel? Why did one reviewer feel that Charlotte Brontë had “forfeited the society of her sex”?

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Introduction

In what ways is Jane different from other women in the novel? Why did one reviewer feel that Charlotte Bront� had "forfeited the society of her sex"? When I first started reading Jane Eyre I did not realise what a shock this book was to the society. Here is a young girl who believes in equality in a patriarchal society. This book very much shocked the Victorians and I am going to try and explain why. At the beginning of the novel Jane Eyre is sent by her aunt, Mrs Reed to a charitable institution called Lowood School. Before Jane starts the school her aunt misinforms Mr. Brocklehurst about Jane by saying she is a liar and that the superintendent and teachers should keep a strict eye on her. This was obviously not a good beginning for Jane. On the first day of school Jane makes a friend called Helen Burns. She first comes across her in the playground at break when Helen is reading 'Rasselass' by Johnson. This is a very difficult and complicated book for a young girl. Her intelligence is shown again when Miss Temple invited both her and Jane to tea. Jane admires Helen's knowledge and intellect. Helen is also a Christian. Helen is older than Jane is and seems to try to teach Jane about life. Perhaps it was a comment like this that gave Jane strength to stand up to people who believe they are better than her: "if all the world hated you....while your own conscience approved you.....you would not be without friends." ...read more.

Middle

Jane knows life is about more than just parties. Jane is of no birth, no beauty, her only gift is her own intelligence. On the other hand, Blanche is born of wealthy parents, She is able to play the piano and sing perfectly. She is beautiful, always splendidly dressed, elegant, lady like and graceful. Or so it seems. When we read into what Blanche says, and what she does we can see her true character. She is vain, arrogant, cold, teases and mocks people; she is self centred, spiteful and malicious. Evidence of this is when she speaks of governesses as if they are not even humans by saying they are incompetent, insolent and immoral. She thinks very low of Jane by saying she doesn't deserve notice, she even has the nerve to say this in the presence of Jane herself. It could be possible that Blanche feels intimidated by Jane, perhaps she knows Mr. Rochester feels highly of Jane and realises she has competition. Whilst reading through chapter 17, I wondered if Charlotte Bront� had perhaps exaggerated Blanche's manner to an extent that it was almost unbelievable. Charlotte Bront� may dislike people of this class and she feels this is a way to let out her anger, by describing Blanche and her sisters so harshly. One main and important difference to me is that Jane gives her opinions, but Blanche is just an echo of what other people say. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bertha had a huge impact on him but he hated her evil, devil possessed side. He believed Jane was not evil, that she was good and pure. He may have thought that if he were to marry Jane, it would make up for him doing wrong by marrying Bertha. Victorian women had a much harder life than we do now. They were treated by men as objects, as possessions to them. It would have been difficult living in a society where no females would have any rights and were not equals to men. Our freedom would be restricted. If our husband was treating us badly, we would have to go through a great deal to divorce him. Women would have no professional status, even if we had more intelligence than our husbands, our brothers or our fathers. We would be pressurised into keeping quiet, being passive and being unequal. The only alternative would be to become an old maid and die alone. By writing Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bront� has created a heroine, a woman who can stand up for her rights, yet still manages to marry into money with the man she loves! Throughout the novel Jane stands up for herself, as she wants freedom. This is something which both men and women in the 19th Century could not understand. She may not have been everyone's heroine but the chances are Jane Eyre is everything that Charlotte Bront� ever wanted to be, and the only way she could fight for her rights was through this book. ...read more.

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