Jane Eyre Novel Analysis Essay
The Jane Eyre novel objectively reflects the sociocultural content of the Victorian era. Behind the apparent simplicity of the plot, which for centuries has not left indifferent the readership (a simple girl marries an aristocrat), there is acute social problematics. The archetype of Cinderella is embodied in the image of the main character (Dell’Abate-Celebi 253-255; Foster 82-83). Bronte offers the reader an image of a poor, seemingly unattractive girl who is able to withstand the situation that degrades her. The first-person narrative technique in conjunction with heightened emotionality makes the ordinary story fascinating and interesting, forcing the reader to live with the heroine in her epoch and to empathize with her.
The situation depicted in the novel – household items, clothing, relationships between people – was familiar to the reader; in it, the reader recognized himself, his life, on the one hand. On the other hand, in the novel, the storyline itself violated one of the main components of Victorian society: the border between social layers was erased, and this is something new that could not but arouse interest (Gao 926-929).
The novel presents mesalliance, but not classic, where the main obstacle to marriage is a significant difference in social status. The plot of the novel is such that we observe a serious difference in the moral requirements of the characters to life and to themselves, which leads to difficulties in understanding between Jane and Rochester. In this, in our opinion, the novelty of the novel lies, what attracted the reader.
Jane Eyre novel is a shining example of the critical perception of the clichéd image of a ‘woman angel.’ In this novel of Bronte, the question of the “angelic” nature of a woman is considered in the game plane. The writer deliberately destroys the ideal image, sometimes exposing not angelic but demonic character of the heroine (Foster 71-108).
A demon in the angelic guise is the alleged bride of Mr. Rochester Blanche Ingram, whose ideal image the main character draws again in her imagination long before the meeting. However, acquaintance with Blanche disappoints Jane: except for beauty (very relative one, since the Eastern or Southern European type of beauty of black-haired and swarthy Blanche in the eyes of the Victorian reader did not look like the dignity of the woman’s appearance, since both the East and the European South in the 19th century were associated with barbarism) and noble birth, the girl has no positive trait (Kucich 42). Jane cannot even be jealous of her patron for Blanche: “She was very showy, but she was not genuine; she had s fine person, many brilliant attainments; but her mind was poor, her heart barren by nature … She was not good: she was not original; she used to repeat sounding phrases from books; she never offered, nor had, an opinion of her own. She advocated a high tone of sentiment; but she did not know the sensations of sympathy and pity” (Bronte 215). In this regard, it seems appropriate to mention the point of view of S. Maier, who pointed out that the Victorian attitude to a woman as a “objet d’art” did not imply that she had either her own opinion or an independent position (Maier 322). Thus, Jane’s remark could hardly be considered a reproach to Blanche’s intellectual abilities from the standpoint of the ideology of time.
Unlike other heroines of the novel, Jane Eyre herself does not try to be an angel. Narrating about her childhood, she openly writes about her incontinence, hot temper, vengefulness. Before death, Mrs. Reed recalls the behavior of a niece in childhood and says: “I declare she talked to me once like something mad, or like a fiend–no child ever spoke or looked as she did” (Bronte 269).
Jane herself, laughing, rejects the asking of Mr. Rochester to become his comforter angel: “I am not an angel,’ I asserted; ‘and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.” (Bronte 301).
Consciously speaking against the prevailing gender stereotypes that limit the possibility of personal and professional self-realization, the heroine of Bronte under any circumstances makes the choice herself and takes responsibility for it: she is a new type of woman in a Victorian novel, unusual for her time, self-sufficient and independent. At the same time, her sensuality is represented tragically. The heroine is acutely problematic, she tries to comprehend the existing gender stereotypes, the developed models of femininity, their social conditionalities and causalities (Dell’Abate-Celebi 254-256).
The preservation of gender asymmetry in the social, spiritual, political sphere turned out to be very indicative of Victorian England – in its patriarchal society, woman was traditionally thought of as a ‘derivative’ of a man: in accordance with the concept of a natural hierarchy of the sexes, stereotypical pattern in a society was the statement about a man’s mind and social activity, while the woman was perceived as a creature of an irrational character, passive and capable primarily of housekeeping. The concept of “female sex” was constructed on the basis of improving the natural maternal instinct, moral and physical chastity; the presence of male character traits in the personality of a woman (aggressiveness, assertiveness, independence) was not approved and was even condemned. Victorian writer Charlotte Bronte, in the novel Jane Eyre, “pushing” the boundaries of self-expression, quite clearly stated her attitude to the issue of social stratification, hierarchy ‘ladder’ (man/woman), about the status of women in culture; her works laid a kind of basis for gender problematics, in the formation of which the sociocultural processes of Victorian England gained great importance.All free essay examples and term paper samples you can find online are completely plagiarized. Don't use them as your own academic papers! If you need unique essays, term papers or research projects of superior quality, don't hesitate to hire experts at EssayLib who will write any custom paper for you. A professional team of essay writers is available 24/7 for immediate assistance:
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Penguin Classics, 2006.
Dell’Abate-Celebi, Barbara. “The struggle for woman’s place and voice in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and George Sand’s Indiana.” International Journal of Literature and Arts, vol.2, no.6, 2014, pp. 252-257.
Foster, Shirley. Victorian Women’s Fiction: Marriage, Freedom and the Individual. Routledge, 2012.
Gao, Haiyan. “Reflection on Feminism in Jane Eyre.” Theory and Practice in Language Studies, vol. 3, no. 6, 2013, pp. 926-931.
Kucich, John. Repression in Victorian Fiction: Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Charles Dickens. University of California Press, 1987.
Maier, Sarah E. “Portraits of the Girl-Child: Female Bildungsroman in Victorian Fiction.” Literature Compass, vol.4, no.1, 2007, pp. 317-335.