Jane Eyre Essay, Research Paper
Sylvia Plath s poetry and Charlotte Bront s Jane Eyre both incorporate an element of feminism and reveal the attitudes women from their respective time periods encountered. Both Plath and Bront express extremely feminine points of view in their work.
Jane Eyre spans the course of the Jane s life. Therefore the novel is a bildungsroman, literally meaning a novel (roman) of development (bildungs). The novel describes the growth of Jane s character from childhood to adulthood concentrating on her experiences, education and identity. The narrator s tone of voice changes throughout the book as she matures. Plath s poetry however, was written mostly between 1956 and 1963 and although the tone of voice ranges from detached to hysterical, the general mood of her poems is one of despair.
One issue in Jane Eyre is certainly an example of the arduous life led by women alone in the Victorian era. Jane had to face life lacking financial and emotional support. She frequently defied social conventions by her independence. Presumably this was because she was disillusioned by society from an early age, being morally oppressed first by her relatives and then by Mr Brocklehurst whilst at school. At Lowood she experienced the acrimonious aspects of life: the death of her friend, unyielding discipline and the hypocrisy of religion. Jane felt animosity and indignation at the treatment she and the pupils at Lowood suffered.
The feminist element of Jane Eyre is the character s life. Jane worked as a governess and led an independent life. This was an unusual situation for a girl in the Victorian era. A governess was a social anomaly, higher in status than the usual servants were, but not on par with her employers. Essentially governesses were considered to be in a class of their own.
Jane shows independence from an early age. In the very first chapter she attacks John Reed, her cousin in order to defend herself. She then tells a doctor how she would like to go to school and then before leaving tells her aunt how she feels. I will never visit you. In these modern times a young person or even a child expressing his or her feelings to an adult is commonplace and in fact it is normal for a child or adolescent to be insolent and generally rude. However in that period of history respecting 0131 446 elders was fundamental to the moral attitudes of that society. Jane was thought to be wicked and insolent. The submissiveness expected by children is shown by the shock expressed at her behaviour Did you ever see such passion . Mrs Reed was even fearful when Jane told her that “you treated me with miserable cruelty”. The aunts shock is shown by her actions: she lifted up her hands, rocking herself to and fro and twisting her face as though she would cry and the aunt s uncharacteristically kind Is there anything else you want child? I assure you I wish to be your friend. These comments are in stark contrast to her usual reprimands. These words were spoken only because she was frightened of what damage Jane may cause her reputation and shows also, how unexpected Jane’s retaliation was. It is indeed surprising as she was continually treated as a second class citizen. Jane…
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