com/literature/Feminist-Ideals-and-the-Women-of-Jane-Eyrehttp://www.victorianweb.org/authors/bronte/cbronte/bronte1.htmlWorks cited: Jane Eyre’s story tellsus that in a man dominated society, a woman should strive for decency anddignity. In face of such hardships in life, a courageous woman should be braveenough to battle against it and self esteem is the primary element to protect.And the feminism taught how to defend ourselves. Whenever we are helpless inthe bad conditions, we should try to survive the life.
As to a happy marriage acertain amount of fortune is necessary. While as to the lover, independence andequality as a human is the first task. A marriage without love is lifelesstherefore a perfect match is based on love, equality in status and a goodfortune.Jane goes against theexpected type by refusing subservience, disagreeing with her superiors,standing up for her rights and venturing thoughts. She is not only successfulin terms of wealth and position but more importantly in terms of family andlove. Charlotte Brontedepicts Jane Eyre’s image through three steps. The first step is her feminismthought starts to sprout from her fighting to her poor child life and thesecond step is her feminism thought shapes from the miserable experiences inthe boarding school.
The impressive part is the third step of her pursuit fortrue love, independence and equality, where the feminist thought grows tomature.Jane’s major aim is notto get married, but to preserve her identity and freedom in a male governedsociety. That’s the reason which makes Jane, courageous to stand up, to defythe rules of her society and to speak out each time when she feels that she isbeing treated unfairly, it does not matter to her whether if it is her aunt,her bullying cousin, the cruel headmaster of the school, or even the man she isin love with.Jane faces greatunconformity with the social environment at that time.
Though she dares tofight against the conventional marriage ideas, which well reflects allfeminists voice and wish for a true love.During this period Janecovered her name, she wanted to make a new living. While being a teacher in asmall village she made friends with John and his sisters.
Though John appearsto be a handsome guy and he proposed to Jane, she cannot accept him this is thereflection of her iron determination in pursuing love. She does not want anaffectionless love. A decent and handsome man as John is, Jane Eyre cannot accepthim because his love would be “one ofduty, not of passion.” She knows very well that humiliated marriageis not a true love. He makes an offer of marriage to Jane because he thinksthat Jane is a good choice for a missionary’s wife. He finds her docile, firmand tenacious.
Because John just needs this kind of assistant. Jane says thatif she joins St. John she is abandoning half herself and if she goes to India,she is going to premature death. She insists that true love should be based onequality, mutual understanding and respect.
So she refuses John’s proposal.In Jane’s life, thepursuit of true love is an important representation of her struggle for selfrealization. For her love is pure as well as divine, it cannot be measured bystatus, power, or property. Having experienced a helpless childhood and amiserable adolescence, she expects more than a consolable true love. She suffersa lot in her pursuit of true love.
Though, she obtains it through her long andhard pursuit.As a feminist woman sherepresents the insurgent women eager for esteem and without esteem women likeJane cannot get the real emancipation.In most of people’s eyes, nobody would like to marrya man who loses his sight and most all his wealth. But as to Jane, she isdifferent. In her mind pure love is the meant to be meeting of hearts and mindsof two people. Jane does not think that she is making a sacrifice.She says: “I love the people if love isthat to make a sacrifice? If so, then certainly I delight in sacrifice.
” By the end of novel,Jane returns to Ferndean Manor and marries Rochester. By that time Mr.Rochester loses sight of both eyes and disabled. In this circumstance Janecomes back to Mr. Rochester caring for nothing but this man. She says: “I find you lonely, I will be yourcompanion, to read to you, to walk with you, to sit with you, to wait on you,to be eyes and hands to you. Cease to look so melancholy, my dear master; youshall not be left desolate, so long as I live.”(Bronte 618)Shewants recognition that both sexes are equal in terms of heart and spirit.
JaneEyre defines herself as a spiritual human being, the proof of her free spiritand feminist ideals is her relation with Rochester. Though she is a governessshe does not consider herself inferior to him.Do you think, because I am poor,obscure, plain and little, I am soulless or heartless? You think wrong! I haveas much soul as you and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with somebeauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, asit is for me to leave you.
I am not talking to you now through the medium ofcustom, conventionalities, nor even of moral flesh: it is my spirit thataddresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and westood at God’s feet, equal-as we are! (Bronte 356)Jane’s relationshipwith Mr. Rochester is a constant struggle for her to maintain her ownindividual identity; she plays the role of servant yet makes it perfectly clearto him that she does not consider herself below him in terms of spiritualqualities. She insists she is more than her social status, saying:Jane’s leaving of Mr.Rochester, exhibits her courage. By this deed, she both defies the Victorianexpectation of submitting man’s will, and shows that she can break from theemotional power that Mr. Rochester wields over her. Jane’s refusal to become a mistressshows that she has maintained a certain dignity.
Though she had a deep affection for Rochester, shecould not stand any compromise in her marriage. She is the whole one and cannotbe laughed or argued by others in this aspect, she wouldn’t give up herindependence and self respect. So she decided to leave her beloved one Rochesterand wanted to make a new life.I care for myself. The moresolitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I willrespect myself. I will keep the law given by God, sanctioned by man. I willhold to the principles received by men when I was sane, and not mad as I amnow, laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation,they are for such moments as this when body and soul rise in mutiny againsttheir rigor, stringent are they, inviolate they shall be.
(Bronte 447)The time Jane spends,in the Thornfield hall is the most splendid part of the whole book. MeetingRochester and falling in love with him, reflected the feminism in Jane and hernew thoughts. She loves Rochester with all her heart but Rochester’s wealth andstatus make him so high above for Jane to approach, though she never feelsherself inferior to Rochester. She is a humble family teacher. She believesthat they are fair and should respect each other, it is her uprightness,loftiness and sincerity that touch Rochester. He feels from the bottom of hisheart that Jane is the spiritual partner that he longs for.
When the heroine ismoved by his whole-heartedness, they fall in love deeply. But at the time ofwedding she finds out the fact that Rochester has had a legal wife. Jane feelsheartbreaking on this news and it makes her trapped in a dilemma whether sheshould stay or leave. She says to Rochester:Jane Eyre’s rebellionagainst Mrs. Reed and John represents her feminist consciousness in gettingesteem from other people as a decent and respectable person.
Little Jane was send to Lowood boardingschool where she learned a lot and became much stronger and independent. DuringJane Eyre’s stay at the orphanage of Lowood, she is aware of a fact that evenin the face of powerful and authoritative people like the chief inspector ofthe charity school, Brocklehurst, as long as her esteem and dignity hurt ruthlesslyshe will never submit but rebel against it decidedly.How dare I, Mrs. Reed? How dare I?Because it is the truth. You think I had no feelings, and that I can do withoutone bit of love or kindness, but I can’t live so, and you have no pity. I shallremember how you push me back roughly and violently pushed me back into the redroom, and locked me up there-to my dying day.
Though I was in pain, though Icried out, have mercy! Have mercy, Aunt Reed! (Bronte44)Jane must be thankfulto her aunt Reed rather than being rude. When Jane was about to leave Gatesheadto the charity school. Mrs. Reed thinks she can make Jane frightened by herstatus and decides to give a hypocritical and sanctimonious talk to guide Janeto express gratitude in front of Mr. Lloyd. But Jane Eyre refuses to be thisrich lady’s doll being treated as unemotional and shameless. She retorts backstraightly and powerfully:Jane was very youngwhen she lost her parents, unfortunately her uncle Mr.
Reed also dies after fewyears, Jane could live a good life if his uncle would be alive. Her aunt Mrs.Reed regarded Jane as a jinx and let her children John, Eliza and Georginaneglect and abuse Jane. They dislike Jane’s plain look. These only relatives ofJane do not show sympathy or care to this pitiful girl, they always criticizeand bully her.
Aunt Reed always treats Jane as an encumbrance inferior to amaid. Eventually one day little Jane had an argument with her cousin and wasbeaten. Being locked in a room for a night, Jane was ill at that time her earlyfeminism came out.
In the face of Mrs. Reed Jane refuses to be treated asinferior being and speaks out against discriminations to her with cold andsharp exposure. When Mrs. Reed reproaches Jane for telling a lie out of all reason,Jane defends herself: “I’m not deceitful.If I were, I should say I loved you,but I declare, I don’t love you. I dislike you the worst of anybody in theworld except John Reed, and this book about the liar, you may give to yourgirl, Georgina, for it is she who tells lies, and not I.
” (Bronte43)Jane Eyre, did not taketo the streets with her feminist ideals, but she expressed her view of women’sequality in a subconscious way, through word and deed. Jane however is anorphan with no fortune, and repeatedly is described by her author asunattractive, but she is still able to break the conventions of her age. Shefaces hardships with great determination. Firstly raised by Mrs.
Reed, a cruel aunt,then afterwards she is sent to Lowood a bleak charity school run by thetyrannical Mr. Brocklehurst, where she endures a lonely and sad life. Janefaces the prospects of a young woman lacking the social advantages of family,money and beauty. She endures so much suffering throughout the novel. Shesuffers through the cruel treatment of Lowood because her aunt Mrs. Reed wantsto punish her for her rebelliousness, she suffers heartbreak for her attempt tomarry beloved Rochester, and suffers an estrangement from St.
John when shechooses to uphold her belief that marriages should be for love and not for theconvenience. Despite the pain that her choices bring her, she manages tomaintain her independence in the face of the overwhelming powers over her. Anddespite the happy ending when she is reunited with Mr. Rochester, it is notlove but courage that defines her character. Her kindness, intelligence andindependence attract the hero. She loved Mr.
Rochester but she proves to haveeven stronger command over her dignity than her emotions.The purpose of writing this paper is to analyze the novel Jane Eyre from a feminist perspective,given its significant statements about issues central to women and their livesin the Victorian society. During the mid nineteenth century, the women weresupposed to carry the burden of “staying in her place”. In other words a womanwas a subject to generally accept the standards and roles that the society hadplaced upon her which did not necessarily provide her with liberty, dignity or independence.
In Victorian period the society is man controlled and man dominated, and womenare subject to the voice of men. It is impossible for a low status woman tohave a decent life or a good marriage. Women are discriminated in the patriarchsociety, in this period the female writers take the pens to speak for theoppressed women and Jane Eyre comesto be the most influential novel. Jane Eyre is clearly a critique ofassumptions about both gender and social class.
It contains a strong feministstance. Jane Eyre is an epitome of femininity, a young independent individualsteadfast in her morals and has strong Christian virtues, dominant, assertiveand principled.AFeminist Approach to Jane Eyre: Struggling for self realization 15 January 2018Research Methodology Dr. Naveed RehanMeher Mehdi