Sexism Exposed In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

1490 words - 6 pages

Sexism Exposed in Brontë's Jane Eyre

 
  The Victorian era in England marked a period of unprecedented technological, scientific, political, and economic advancement.  By the 1840s, the English had witnessed remarkable industrial achievements including the advent of the railways and the photographic negative.  They had witnessed the expansion of the Empire, and, as a result, were living in a time of great economic stability.  Yet they had also seen thousands of people starving-and dying-due to the Irish potato famine and poor conditions and benefits in British factories and witnessed the entire order of society questioned as the working classes began to demand representation in Parliament.    The English also experienced biological and scientific breakthroughs that challenged the once universally accepted beliefs in the authority of the Bible, the divine ordering of nature, and the gross exploitation of women and people of other races.  It was a time of great achievement, yes, but it was also a time of great contradiction and uncertainty.

 

 

The Victorian era was also the age of the novel, as many English citizens now possessed the time and money to afford such a luxury.  Novels at the beginning of the Victorian era reflect the growing unease of the day; writers of the 1840s in particular responded indirectly to the social upheaval, writing personal, subjective novels.

 

Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre, published in 1847, is an archetype of the 1840s novel.  It tells the story of Jane Eyre, an orphan who eventually finds herself and happiness as a governess and, later, a wife.  Although this is a "personal" story that provides escape and entertainment for its readers, Jane Eyre most certainly, if sometimes subtly, deals with a number of Victorian social issues, especially issues pertaining to women and their expected behavior in society.  Women in the Victorian era were supposed to be passive, pure, and idle; were not to be well educated; and were expected to marry.  Throughout Brontë's novel, Jane Eyre learns the realities of these social expectations and directly and indirectly speaks against them.

 

Readers learn early in the story that Jane Eyre does not fit contemporary society's idea of a proper woman.  As a child, Jane stands up to her aunt, Mrs. Reed, on more than one recorded occasion when Jane feels she has been treated unjustly (Brontë 28, 37).  At one point, Jane bluntly tells her aunt, "I declare, I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed [Jane's cousin]" (37).  This was at best improper behavior for a child in Victorian society, and it was most definitely seen as improper by Mrs. Reed who grows to hate Jane, calling her "tiresome, ill-conditioned" and "scheming" (26).  But her aunt's reprimands and hatred do not deter Jane from speaking up in the face of injustice.

 

 

During the scenes at Lowood Academy, Brontë compares Jane's strong...

Find Another Essay On Sexism Exposed in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

Cold Imagery in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

3165 words - 13 pages Cold Imagery in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Cold imagery is everywhere in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. There are various forms of cold imagery found in each character's personality and life experiences. Cold images take on various forms, such as Jane's descriptions of pictures in a book displaying the Arctic, and figurative language including ice, water, rain, and sleet. The descriptive imagery of coldness symbolizes both the repression of

Radical Ideas in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

2091 words - 8 pages Radical Ideas in Jane Eyre          Charlotte Bronte knew what she was doing when she assumed the pseudonym of Currer Bell. In Jane Eyre she wanted to pose radical ideas regarding the role of women in the 19th century, but being a sensible woman, she knew that society would never accept having a woman pose these new views. It would be altogether too logical and self-praising. Though the author was never credited for the published

Women Oppressed in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

1695 words - 7 pages education, the workforce, politics and other wide-scale arenas than do women.  In the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Jane is an example of a woman oppressed, yet she finds ways to break free of that which confines her.  The family structure and our school systems are two of the first places children learn about themselves.  If they do not grant equal opportunity for men and women, it will be impossible to create a just and gender-equal society

Suffering in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

879 words - 4 pages of the suicide of Rochester's crazy wife, Bertha Mason, he can now marry Jane. They then wed and have a child. The child is a reward to Jane for her enduring life of sorrow and stoicism. Jane finally finds true happiness. Through these events at Thornfield, Jane gains independence, wealth, and is rewarded a child.      Jane is seen, in Charolette Bronte's Jane Erye, as a stoic character who endures through the worst of

The Self-confidence of Jane in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

642 words - 3 pages the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Jane shows self-confidence throughout the novel, by possessing a sense of self-worth, dignity, and a trust in God.     At the beginning of the novel while Jane is living under her aunt, Mrs. Reed, she is treated disrespectfully and cruelly.  She accuses Jane of being deceitful and a troublesome girl in front of Mr. Brocklehurst, the master of Lowood School.  Jane is so

Sympathy for Jane Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

1615 words - 6 pages Sympathy for Jane Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre In the first two chapters of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte creates sympathy for Jane from the settings she uses like the red room, which comes up later in chapter two. Also with all the metaphors of Janes true feelings under the surface and the ways that the chapters are structured. Charlotte Bronte starts off the book straight to the point as if we just enter Janes mind at this moment in

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre: Jane Eyre's Artwork

1844 words - 7 pages Interpretations: Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Ed.. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987 Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. London, Penguin Books Ltd.: 1996. (Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Michael Mason). "Jane Eyre." Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 3. Ed. Laurie Lanzen Harris. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982: 42-3. McFadden-Gerber, Margaret. "Critical Evaluation." Masterplots. Rev. 2nd edition. Vol. 6. Ed

Sexism in Jane Eyre

1956 words - 8 pages society, and sexism that is inherent in this sort of social structure, is that there is a negative result on both men and women. Patriarchal societies that discriminate against women simply because of their perceived weakness, is no more empowering of men as it is disenfranchising of women.   Works Cited Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre, An Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. Ed. Richard J. Dunn. W. W. Norton & Co Inc., 2001. Print

The Oppressed Female in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

978 words - 4 pages The Oppressed Female in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre      In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë clearly demonstrates the relationship between sexuality and morality in Victorian society through the character of Bertha Mason, the daughter of a West Indian planter and Rochester's first wife. Rochester recklessly married Bertha in his youth, and when it was discovered shortly after the marriage that Bertha was sexually promiscuous, Rochester

Deceit and Dishonesty in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

1137 words - 5 pages deceitfulness. It can ruin their lives unless they make the commitment to be honest with themselves and those around them. Bibliography Fraser, Rebecca. The Brontes. 1st ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1988. Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 3rd ed. New York: The Modern Library. Bronte, Charlotte. "Charlotte Bronte's Letters". New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1971. Diedrick, James.  Newman on the Gentleman. http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/hypertext/landow/victorian/vn/victor10.html. Diedrick, James.  Jane Eyre and A Vindication  of the Rights of Woman. http://spider.albion.edu/fac/engl/diedrick/jeyre1.htm.

The Maturity of Jane Eyre in Charlotte Bronte's Novel

2584 words - 10 pages JANE EYRE Bloom’s Notes. Broomall: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996. Print. Cody, David. “Charlotte Bronte: A Brief Biography.” Charlotte Bronte: A Brief Biography. Hartwick College, 1987. Web. http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/bronte/cbronte/brontbio.html Dooley, Deborah A. "Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre.." Literary Contexts In Novels: Charlotte Bronte’s 'Jane Eyre' (2006): 1-11. Literary Reference Center. Web. 03 Feb. 2014. http

Similar Essays

Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" Essay

3679 words - 15 pages mistress'" (Showalter 75).As a conclusion, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is unambiguously one of the most well written novels with profound themes. It has influenced generations of readers, appealing to both children and adults, women and men.Work CitedBronfen, Elisabeth. "Femininity - Missing in Action." New Casebooks: Jane Eyre. Ed. Heather Glen. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997. 196-204.Bronte, Charlotte. "Jane Eyre." New York: St. Martin's Press

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

1547 words - 6 pages Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Jane Eyre was written in 1847 by Charlotte Brontë. Clearly the context in which an author writes will have a profound effect on the portrayal of society. Jane Eyre was written to reflect a contemporary view of the way young women's lives could be affected, if they were unfortunate enough to be born without money. Middle-class women without income had very few options open to them

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

1114 words - 4 pages The Dangers of Secrets In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the characters come to learn that secrets do more harm than good through Edward Rochester’s secrecy after the fire in his room, Mrs. Reed not telling her about the letter from her uncle, and Edward Rochester’s secret marriage with Bertha. First, Rochester, who really knows what happened during the fire in his room, refuses to tell Jane the full truth so as to not hurt her. Secondly, Mrs

Sexism In Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte

1126 words - 5 pages great success from all the sisters. Charlotte's "Jane Eyre" was arguably the most popular work of hers. The book was revised for the theater in 2011, and the film grossed over 30 million dollars. (http://m.imdb.com/title/tt1229822/) Ann's "Agnes Grey" and Emily's "Wuthering Heights" were also published with great satisfaction. In 1848, Charlotte finally revealed her true identity to the publishers in London, as well as her sisters