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Jane Eyre - In what ways is Jane different from the other women in the novel? Why did one reviewer feel that Charlotte Bronte had "forfeited the society of her sex"?

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Introduction

JANE EYRE In what ways is Jane different from the other women in the novel? Why did one reviewer feel that Charlotte Bronte had "forfeited the society of her sex"? "Jane Eyre" is a nineteenth century novel, which tells us a lot about the roles women played in a strong patriarchal society of which Jane refuses to confirm to entirely. This was the time when women were treated as men's possessions. They were restricted legally, morally and spiritually, with no rights to their property, belongings or children. They were denied many of the things that we take for granted today, such as a wide education on all subjects, the vote and a profession. Jane Eyre is a very passionate woman, who believes that women are equal to men in every way; these views were quite unconventional for her day. At the very begging of the book, we can see that Jane is very different from other children. The Victorians believed that children were to be 'seen and not heard' however Jane is not scared to speak her mind. One example of this is when Mr. Brocklehurst comes to Gateshead Hall, about Jane going to Lowood School. Mr. Brocklehurst is a tall man with a grim face and Jane is a small, weak child, but when Mr. Brocklehurst asks, "What must you do to avoid hell?" she replies, "I must keep in good health and not die." To threaten a small child with the prospect of falling into an eternal pit full of fire was a horrible thing to do, but it did not shake Jane. This immediately tells us that Jane is not the conventional child. This is not the only time that Jane takes courage to stand up to an elder, though, because she also stands up to her Aunt Reed, who tells Mr. ...read more.

Middle

This was because these educated women also thought that it was wrong that women should have to stay at home to look after the house and I think the thought of women having equal rights scared men. Jane also says," It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex." This is why one reviewer said that Charlotte Bronte had "forfeited the society of her sex." Women were not suppose to have these feelings, but they did and Charlotte Bronte is speaking out against this patriarchal society. Jane's restlessness soon goes away when Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield, arrives. Jane is a poor orphan, who dress plainly in black, Quaker-like dresses with only a small, discrete, pearl broach for decoration. However Mr. Rochester knows that there is more to Jane than meets the eye, especially after seeing her paintings. Mr. Rochester patronises Jane, but whenever she can, she reminds him that she is inferior to him. For example he asks her, "Do you think me handsome?" and Jane replies, "NO!" This was an odd thing to ask of your governess, but she does not feel the need to be polite. One night Jane wakes upon hearing a strange demoniac laugh, "It seemed at the very key-hole of my chamber door." Jane quickly got dressed and left her chamber to find the air filled with smoke, which was coming from Mr. Rochester's bedroom. Jane quickly puts the fire out, saving Mr. Rochester's life. Jane had been told before once before that this laugh belonged to Grace Poole and when she asks, "Was it Grace Poole?" ...read more.

Conclusion

It would also go against Jane's morals and Principles to stay. However, Jane is still not quite independent enough though to make the decision herself, as she has a dream in which her mother appears, telling her to leave Thornfield, "My daughter, Flee Temptation!" Jane is taken in by the Rivers family, Diana, Mary and St. John. It is discovered that the Rivers family is Jane's cousins. She has inherited a fortune from her uncle, Mr. Eyre, in Madeira, which she insists on sharing with her new-found cousins. This alters her position and she is no longer inferior to Mr. Rochester in class. St. John wants to become a missionary and asks Jane to go to with him to India, as his wife. Jane feels that this would be an "error of judgement" and rejects his proposal. To make the decision to leave Thornfield she needed a dream to tell her that she was doing the right thing. However, now Jane is independent enough to reject St. John and return to Mr. Rochester. She does not know that Bertha has died in the fire at Thornfield, She does not know that Mr. Rochester has lost his sight or his hand either, but she feels that she must see him. This tells us that Jane is a lot more independent than she use to be and that she still loves Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester and Jane get married and Jane says, "I know what it is to live entirely for one, because I am my husband's life s fully as he is mine. I am the bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, consequently we are forever together." Mr. Rochester has lost his sight and one hand, but this doesn't matter to Jane, because at last she has equality, which is all that she had ever wanted. ...read more.

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