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Jane Eyre

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Introduction

Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre in 1847, when no women had succeeded in writing a play; essay, history or philosophical treatises of generally acknowledge merit. But when it came to novels, Charlotte Bronte is a prime example of a woman who had already triumphantly demonstrated her ability. Jane Eyre is a fictional-autobiography, as many of Charlotte Bronte's own experiences are mirrored in those of her heroine, the pagtontominist of the book, Jane Eyre throughout the book. When Charlotte Bronte's father was left a widower with six children, he arranged for his dead wife's sister to act as housekeeper. Although she seems to have been a respectable and dutiful person, she never ceased to regret being obliged to spend her life in windswept Yorkshire, (where Charlotte Bronte was born), instead of sunny Cornwall. Thus she never became a warm or loving substitute for the mother the six children had lost. This mirrors Jane Eyre's childhood, because as a 10-year-old orphan, she was unwanted and neglected in the home of her uncle's widow Mrs Reed, of Gateshead Hall. Her cousins, Eliza, John and Georgiana are fondly treated, while Jane is made to feel unwanted. Jane was "consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John and Georgiana Reed" (pg 1). Mrs Reed tells her quite unfairly, that until she can be more frank and sociable, she cannot be accepted on her cousin's terms. The unquestionably autobiographical quality in the writing of the first part of Jane Eyre is also portrayed, when Jane is sent away to be educated at Lowood, a charity school for girls of good family. During her first few months, Jane suffers greatly, as do all the girls, from hunger, cold, and severe discipline, and following an outbreak of typhus, the school was reformed and improved. It is at this school that Jane loses her best friend Helen Burns' through tuberculosis. ...read more.

Middle

At Lowood, with the ills and pains of a severe winter adding to the almost prison-like existence with its poor food and routine labour, Mr Brocklehurst, visits the school and lectures pupils and staff, including Miss Temple, on the moral virtues of grim poverty unrelieved by any natural pleasure. He is quite ready to bully Miss Temple, as well as the girls, because she is a paid employee. "Naturally! Yes, but we are not to conform to nature; I wish these girls to be the children of Grace; and why the abundance? ..." (Pg 62) The hypocrisy of his attitude is underlined by the luxury and extravagance displayed in the dress and style of his wife and daughters who accompany him. I personally believe that the violence of Charlotte Bronte's hatred of evangelism and hypocrisy are combined together and represented as one character, in this case, Mr Brocklehurst. Only when she is a governess at Thornfield and is at Mrs Reed's deathbed, does Jane learn that she has an Uncle in Madeira who wished to adopt her, "... I wished to adopt her during my life." Agonised by the thought that in obeying her conscience, she is betraying the object of her love - Mr Rochester - advised by her dead mother in a dream to 'flee temptation', Jane decides to run away. By chance, Jane discovers cousins whom she never knew off: "You three, then are my cousins, half our blood on each side flows from the same source." Jane cherishes these cousins and loves them as if they were her own brother and sister's: "It seemed I had found a brother... one I could love, and two sister's." In the village she is staying with them, she is unable to find work despise her well-spoken manner and neatly dressed appearance and is forced to beg. "... give it to her if she's a beggar. ...read more.

Conclusion

(Pg 279) Jane took this especially to heart, because for her she was a governess with absolutely nothing to offer: "A women who could bring her husband neither fortune, beauty nor connections." (Pg 295) Jane is an example of a woman who thinks for herself. When faced with a decision, she chooses to follow the course that will maintain her self-respect, however difficult it may be. In practical terms it very difficult for a woman of her time to achieve true independence. A woman of 'middle-class' who did not have money of her own would have to choose between being financially dependant on a husband, living as a dependant in a house where she is employed as a governess of the drudgery of teaching in a school. Fortunately, Jane is 'rescued' from this by the money left by her uncle, which is enough to make her financially independent. Now for Jane, marriage sounds appropriate to her, as she would still retain her independence, as she would be independent on no one. She does abandon some of her dreams of travel and experience to marry the now disabled Mr Rochester, but by this time, she can do so as an equal independent person, or also as the stronger partner in the relationship because of his unfortunate position. At this point in her life, marriage is what she wants. It is as much her own free choice as her earlier decisions. Jane once thought that she was 'plain', despise Mr Rochester's view of her as, "theoretical reverence and homage for beauty, elegance, gallantry and fascination" (Pg 116), 'poor', (Jane inherited twenty thousand pounds), and 'disconnected', (she gets married). In contrast to this, it is clearly evident that Jane is the antithesis of what she originally though of her self. Jane's great strength of mind, vitality, strong religion, independence, generosity and intelligence, transform her into a beautiful, elegant young lady, who is an inspiration to us all. English Literature Coursework 2001 1 Zahra Lamsiah ...read more.

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