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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

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Introduction

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Introduction The character of Charlotte Bronte's second novel, JANE EYRE, was advertised from the outset by its subtitle, "An Autobiography," and was received as such by its first critics. Blackwood's reviewer (October 1848) said that it was "a pathetic tale, so like the truth that it si difficult to avoid believing that many of the characters and incidents are take from life." G.H. Lewes found the same thing: "Reality--deep significant reality, is the characteristic of this book . . . . " In JANE EYRE the author gathered together not merely the recent experiences of her adult years, but the unobliterated recollections of childhood at the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge. Confined as that experience had in reality been to a period of ten months in the author's ninth year, it is given a duration and a prominence in the novel that cast its shadow over all the subsequent action. ...read more.

Middle

For two-thirds of Jane Eyre it is Zamorna/Rochester who sustains the plot; without the strong element of Zamorna in the character, which accounts for his French liaisons and his illegitimate daughter (just as in "Caroline Vernon," where the selfsame situation exists), there could have been no attempted seduction of the innocent Jane Eyre and the tale would have lost both its drama and its moral significance, which rests on her rejection of dishonor. The seduction theme had figured twice before in Charlotte's novelettes, written in her early twenties, and had been treated there in two conflicting ways. Caroline Vernon, barely sixteen, was shown as succumbing with rapture to seduction by Zamorna and being ruined in consequence. The far more mature Elizabeth Hastins is shown as rejecting the dishonorable proposals of Sir William Percy. The fact that she loved him and had no alternative prospect in life but hard work and loneliness turned her rejection into a moral victory. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is the second time in the book that the author claims equality for her heroine with her hero. The first incident occurs when Jane anticipates Rochester's declaration of love by avowing her own feelings for him. It was so novel a departure form the conventional canons of fiction that it shocked and startled the literary establishment and the books first readers. it was considered a grossly coarse thing for a woman to declare her love for a man--and for an author to describe it--even a reputedly male author like Currer Bell. Jane Eyre commits tow faults against Victorian female delicacy when she declares her love--as yet unsolicited--for one man and rejects another, later in the book, on the score of not (i) loving him. Such statements were tantamount to admitting a knowledge of the passion of love not permissible in a decent woman. Hence the savage comment by Elizabeth Rigby who, reviewing Jane Eyre in the Quarterly Review (December 1848), expressed the opinion that if the unknown author of Jane Eyre were a woman, as some suspected, the "she was one who must have forfeited the society of her own sex." ...read more.

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