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Through her presentation of Jane, how does Charlotte Bronte challenge conventional ideas of her time?

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Through her presentation of Jane, how does Charlotte Bronte challenge conventional ideas of her time? Charlotte Bronte, through the character of Jane Eyre, challenges the conventional ideas of the Victorian era, specifically in the areas of family life, education and relationships. Victorians adhered to the vision of a very rigorous family structure, which had no room for any individuality or distinctiveness. The traditional family view was that children were supposed to obey their parents and act prudently. They should be 'seen but not heard.' Jane, however, is a rebellious child with a passionate disposition who cannot tolerate this notion and often refuses to accept her punishments. Mrs Reed does not bring up Jane the way she brings up her own spoilt children. She makes it very clear that she is doing her niece a favour as she is forced by the circumstances to keep her in her household. She treats her like a maid, and Jane is often punished; most of the times because she expresses her own opinion. ...read more.


In the Victorian era, children were treated using punishment and strict orders at school. They believed this to be normal, and child abuse, such as caning was thought acceptable and was used to teach a child of their wrongs even if it inflicted unnecessary suffering. Jane meets Helen Burns at the school, who accepts the punishments that she is given without showing any temper unlike Jane, who feels that she needs to confront her teachers when they are unfair. After meeting Helen Burns, Jane's attitude changes slightly and she becomes a bit more mature and temperate. Helen Burns is Bronte's way of presenting the typical Victorian model student; clever and inquisitive but conscious of the limitations inflicted on her in relation to her position. However, through the character of Miss Temple, Charlotte Bronte delivers her own unconventional views. Miss Temple is very modern compared to the rigid Victorian view of a teacher, and encourages her pupils to thrive. ...read more.


Mrs Fairfax reinforces this view in the following quote: "Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marry their governesses" - Page 373 But Jane enjoys her 'talks' with Mr Rochester forgetting that he is her employer and that she is nothing more than a household servant. Finally she marries him regardless of his age, his recently acquired disability, social position and wealth and also accomplishes to find love. Mr Rochester and Jane find happiness by complimenting each others flaws and imperfections. Jane Eyre is a very powerful novel of its time and one must see it beyond a romance between two people of different social status. One must see it as an avant-garde piece of work written by a woman at the beginning of the Victorian era, when women were considered inferior to men. Jane Eyre is a masterpiece in its own right; it can even be considered a feministic manuscript. Charlotte Bronte's heroine succeeds to challenge conventionality to its peak. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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