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Jane Eyre: An Independent Woman?

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Emma Martin Jane Eyre: An Independent Woman? Jane Eyre was probably the most shocking and controversial novel of it's time. Not only was it almost unheard of for a readable novel to be written by a woman, but the views and opinions expressed by the character of Jane Eyre were unthinkable and before their time. In the eighteenth century, when Queen Victoria was at the height of her reigning day, People were far more reserved that the people of today. People were much more prudish and kept themselves to themselves. Life, in general, was very class orientated with the aristocrats of the day dominating the social status whilst the poor were ostracized. Therefore, moving to a higher class was near impossible. Society was very much male dominated. Women were expected to obey a man's commands and were treated inferior to their male superior. Therefore, a novel written by a woman was never read, since it was deemed unworthy to be read by the literature critics all of which were male. Consequently, Charlotte Bronte published under the name Currer bell- a man's name. We first see Jane's Independence at Gateshead; she was "excluded from privileges intended for happy content little children" she was isolated from family activities and this may explain why she was so autonomous, standing up to her elders and the superiority of the young Master John Reed. During a "moment's mutiny" she attack's him in a "picture of Passion". ...read more.


After another eight years and Lowood school Jane "desired liberty; for liberty she grasped" how she longed for "a new place, in a new house, amongst new faces" now she has decided that she "must advertise in the shire herald" this was very independent for a women to do at this time, most teachers came into a governess position through acquaintances. It was very rare for any women/governess to advertise in a newspaper since women weren't supposed to provide for themselves. Once Jane acquired the position of governess at the "old-fashioned" Thornfield Hall, as usual Jane is self-governing in her action here and show this with her first encounter with the "stern features and heavy brow" of Mr. Rochester, when he and his horse "slipped on the sheet of ice which glazed the causeway." Jane was very quick to offer her assistance "if you are hurt and you need help, sir. I can fetch someone from either Thornfield hall or from Hay." It was very independent of a woman of this time to offer her help to a man, since women were thought the weaker sex and could not possibly be any use to a man would need help. Furthermore Jane showed her independence when talking to the "dark, strong and stern" body that was Mr. Rochester. She refuses bluntly to flatter him. "Your claim to superiority depends upon the use you have made with your time and experience. ...read more.


John and his sisters. "Although it's deemed too nobler sacrifice" Jane's see is fair that the money is split between them. "We each have an equal right...to have five thousand would please me to have twenty thousand would torment and oppress me." Even though she could have all the society she wanted she states that "her society is here." This was a very independent thinking for a woman of this time, to have two proposals is more than any woman of this time could ask for and to turn them both down was to tempt fate. Society was everything, as it ruled the classes, so to turn that down as well was maybe a "too nobler thing" Realising that she truly could not live without Mr. Rochester she goes in search of him and finds Thornfield "burnt to a cinder" and the residence residing at Fern dean manor For the period of time this book was written, Jane's thoughts and actions defied the norm for women of the day. Her independence outruns all expectations for women at this period of time, and is probably on par with ladies of today, and rebels against stereotypical images of women that have been present since the bible, such as men being the stronger sex and women needing a man to succeed in life. Although these trivial things are widely accepted as being untrue nowadays in the nineteenth century it was though to be true and many people then saw this novel as shocking and controversial. Therefore I can conclude that Jane was an independent woman of her time and probably ours as well. ...read more.

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