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Jane Eyre is a typical novel of its time. Discuss with reference to the social and moral climate of the time.

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Jane Eyre is a typical novel of its time. Discuss with reference to the social and moral climate of the time. Charlotte Bront� wrote "Jane Eyre" in 1846. At this time there were certain social and moral expectations. Some people feel that Charlotte Bront� did not adhere to these expectations when writing the novel. In order to validate this claim I will be finding evidence to show that "Jane Eyre" is not typical of its time, but I will also be investigating the other side of the argument. In the beginning of the novel we are introduced to Jane, when she hits John Reed whilst defending herself from his attack. John Reed is the son of Mrs Reed, Jane's Aunt. Jane clearly does not fit in with the typical image of how a young lady should behave. "What shocking conduct, Miss Eyre, to strike a young gentleman, your benefactress's son!" Young women are supposed to respect their masters, where as Jane does not respect John. She does not fit into the custom of children being seen and not heard. We are also told that Jane should respect the Reeds and be grateful to them because "You are a dependant, mamma says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentlemen's children like us." This tells us that Jane Eyre is not a typical novel of its time, because Jane does not act as she is expected to. ...read more.


She is insistent on being treated fairly, another example being when Mrs Reed punished her for a crime she did not commit. Jane is a strong character and is determined to stand up for herself, which is very unconventional to the time. She does not have a strict Christian attitude, which was also shown when she told Mr Brocklehurst that she did not like the psalms. "That proves you have a wicked heart; and you must pray to God to change it" shows that he is God-fearing and this was conventional to the time, This also emphasises Jane's different attitude, as does not always believe that there is a reason why things are happening. Jane is also rebellious to the social expectations of the time." Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel;" This shows a feminist attitude as she thinks men and women should be treated equally, which is very unusual for the time. The accepted social order was that men were more important than women were, and women were supposed to remain at home and do housework. They were supposed to remain calm and be polite to their superiors, which Jane quite clearly does not do. However the main unconventional event while Jane is at Thornfield is when Mr Rochester asks her to marry him. "Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marry their governesses." In the 1800s it would have been very unusual to marry someone in a lower social class than yourself. ...read more.


Now that Bertha is dead it is acceptable for them to marry, so God was giving them a sign. This would have been conventional to the period of the novel. Overall, after analysing the text I have come to the conclusion that the novel, "Jane Eyre", cannot be categorised into typical or untypical. I feel that the character Jane Eyre is very unconventional to the time as she is always going against the social and moral expectations. She has a feminist attitude and is not materialistic. She stands up for herself when she is treated unjustly, but she is loyal to her friends and her family. This is shown by the fact that she returns to Mr Rochester and searches for him, whatever the cost. However the other characters and the way they react to the social and moral climate would be considered conventional, and the style in which the novel was written is also conventional, for example the large amount of gothic imagery. Although her main character and her attitude to society are unconventional, I do not feel that Charlotte Bront� was ignoring social and moral expectations when writing this novel. I feel that she kept conventional conditions, but wanted to make the public aware of the possibilities that are available, and that not everyone has to stick to these expectations to lead a successful life. She adhered to the social and moral climate of the time, whilst putting in a contrasting point of view, so I do not feel that Jane is either a typical or untypical novel of its time. Kelly Ide ...read more.

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