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Jane Eyre is one of the earliest English novels with a strong, female central character. Do you think she 'sells out' by marrying Rochester, thus enabling a conventional, romantic ending to the novel?

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Introduction

Jane Eyre is one of the earliest English novels with a strong, female central character. Do you think she 'sells out' by marrying Rochester, thus enabling a conventional, romantic ending to the novel? "He stretched his hand out to be led." (Jane) Form start to finish, this novel has had one strong, female central character - Jane Eyre. We see her fight for independence as a female from her childhood right up until her marriage. These ardent, passionate beliefs do not leave her once married, if anything; they get stronger. Jane does not 'sell out' by marrying Rochester for now she is the more powerful half of the relationship. Jane is her husband's eyes and "He (Rochester) saw nature...books through me." She has everything she wished for and is dependent upon no one just as she had dreamed. "I resisted all the way- a new thing for me" Here Jane declares her independence for the first time in the novel after an argument with her cousin, John Reed. It was to be a turning point in her early life as now she did not take anything lying down, "(She) ...read more.

Middle

suppose to be very calm generally but women feel just as men feel...and it is narrow minded...to say that they ought to confine themselves to making pudding and knitting stockings...it is thoughtless to condemn them...if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex." It is through this quote that we can establish Jane to be largely 'pre-feminist'. She does not wish to have equal rights acted out in life; she simply does not want to be condemned for seeking to do more as a female. When Jane meets Rochester for the first time, he is dependent on her as he is injured. This proves to set a trend for things to come... Throughout the early part of their platonic relationship, we witness a humorous power struggle between the two. It is here we see Jane really meet her match and she enjoys developing her passionate, argumentative side with Rochester. Needless to say, Jane won over Rochester many times! . When Jane finds out about Rochester's attempted bigamy, she is faced with a huge decision, however her inner strength pulls her through in the end when, "The answer (her) ...read more.

Conclusion

In Victorian Britain, these so called ' conventional, romantic endings' were not uncommon and in fact were almost expected of books such as Jane Eyre. No doubt that 'Currer Bell's' first and foremost objective was to please her readers. An example of a similar romantic outcome can be viewed in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Height; also published in 1847, shortly after Jane Eyre. This book was, and still is, a best seller because of its traditional, habitual ending. We have established that Jane is unquestionably a strong, female, central character. As you have read she displays her emotive and controversial views on more than one occasion and finds courage when she needs it the most. These are all factors which contribute to my argument that Jane does not 'sell out'. However, in my opinion, the most important argument is; how could she have 'sold out' if she is happier than she has ever been in her life? I can understand where critic, Sally Mitchell was coming from in 1983 when she said that, "their subsequent marriage not only ends the many conflicts involved, but also fulfils every woman's wish of achieving both independence and love." The overwhelming bliss combined with the strong feeling of self-reliance can assure us that Jane has sold out on nothing apart from the misery with which her life began. ...read more.

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