Jane Eyre Essay, Research Paper
Bront? challenges the view that men are emotionally, socially and intellectually superior to women.
“Just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal – as we are!”
The 19th century was a period of oppression for women. The patriarchal system that dominated the Victorian period in England’s history, was one during which Charlotte Bront? wrote and set the novel, Jane Eyre. Bront? denounces the persecution that women suffered at the hands of a society that placed faith in a belief that men were emotionally, socially and intellectually superior to Victorian women.
The belief that men were intellectually superior to women soiled the Victorian era. This period of time led to women being denied education, on account of their sex. Jane Eyre seems to be much more intellectually advanced than her male counterparts, even though she was schooled at such a substandard school, Lowood. A school where not only the food was “disgusting” but the facilities were too. She is able to converse confidently and at a level that is equal to, if not higher than, males. It is evident that Bront? strongly believes that women are equivalent to men in this respect. The fact that Jane was capable of creating “as fine a picture as any of Miss Reed’s drawing-master could,” also showed that Bront? endorsed the view that women are as intellectually capable as men. The skill that was involved in Jane’s paintings led to some criticism from the males who saw her work; “I perceive these pictures were done by one hand: was that hand yours?” Jane’s move against the constants of society display Bront?’s disdain for society’s limitations.
The Victorian era was a time when women’s emotions were repressed. This gave expression to the belief that men were emotionally superior to women. Bront? challenged this view by instilling “a picture of passion” in Jane Eyre. This emotion and passion would have not been tolerated by others in Victorian society. Jane was often “roused to something like passion” when she was younger. This was evident in her confrontation with John Reed; “You are like a murderer – you are like a slave-driver”. Women, let-alone young girls, in Victorian society, did not usually exhibit such anger. Bront? believed that the expression of women’s emotions was crucial.
Bront?’s belief that women have as much right as men to explore their emotions and not repress them, was evident in the binary opposition between the characters, Blanche and Jane. Jane refused to suppress her emotions and had an innate desire to show those who oppressed her how she felt. Bront? instilled a belief in Jane that defied society which stated that “it is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself,” as expressed by Helen Burns. Bront? adhered to the notion that women, like men, should not “suffer from too rigid a restraint,” in regard to their emotions. Blanche was passionless, “truth and tenderness were not in her” – she was the
opposite of Jane. She acted like Adel?; superficial, and much…
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Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1994, Penguin books