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Trace the Development of Jane's character from passionate Child to Independent Woman. To what extent does her Changed Position Reflect that of Other Women in Victorian England?

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Introduction

Trace the Development of Jane's character from passionate Child to Independent Woman. To what extent does her Changed Position Reflect that of Other Women in Victorian England? Jane's character changes immensely throughout the course of the novel. In Victorian England, there were distinctive boundaries of social classes and I intend to study Jane's social elevation, from a destitute orphan to that of a beloved wife. When Jane was a child her parents died and she was sent to Mr Reed, her late mother's brother. "...my own uncle - my mother's brother...in his last moments he had required a promise of Mrs Reed that she would rear and maintain me as one of her own..." Her uncle died and she was left with Mrs Reed and her three cousins who all despised her. They only looked after her because of the promise to Mr Reed. It was typical in Victorian England for an orphan to stay with relatives because if they didn't they would be sent to the workhouse. They would either be loved or despised - like in Jane's case. Jane was a spirited child who was not afraid to stand up to Mrs Reed or John Reed. ...read more.

Middle

From the initial attraction, their relationship grew and developed. It was not common for a woman of Jane's class and position to fall for a man of Rochester's class. It was typical for a man like Rochester to fall for a lady. He pretends to be in love with Blanche Ingram and this would be more typical because Blanche is, as Jane describes "...an accomplished lady of rank." Jane discovers that Mr Rochester does not intend to marry Miss Ingram; instead he wishes to marry Jane. She feels delighted as she has found love with Mr Rochester, but she also feels uneasy about the forthcoming marriage. She feels uneasy because of the class differences; she is worried about the opinions of other people. She doesn't want his money and she thinks that other people will assume that this is all she is after. Mr Rochester offers Jane jewels, but she refuses them due to her previous concerns "...I will clasp the bracelets on these fine wrists, and load these fairy-like fingers with rings." Jane doesn't want a fuss to made and turns down his offer by saying "No, no sir! ...Don't address me as I if were a beauty: I am your plain Quakerish governess." ...read more.

Conclusion

Jane Eyre has been called a feminist novel and this is because of the character Jane and her uncommon attitude in the Victorian era. I would tend to agree with this, because many of the events within the novel are not typical and they could be the writer's way of putting across her ideas. Women had few rights or prospects at this time, and by representing ideas and feelings through a character it helps to focus and underline the thoughts and feelings of the writer without feeling embarrassed, instead it allows the writer to get their opinions into society through another means other than themselves. However, I do not believe that the whole novel is feminist because a Victorian woman's aspiration was to marry and in the end this is what Jane ends up doing. The period when Jane is at school is when she learns to control herself and become more "Victorian", but again in contrast to this, it has been suggested that Miss Temple and Jane were more than just friends up until the point when Miss Temple got married. It seems to me that sections of the novel do point to being 'feminist', trying to get men and women on equal terms, whereas some sections are more typical in the way that they represent Jane and a more usual 'Victorian' manner. Joanne Bowdery ...read more.

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