Criticisms of Jane Eyre

Powerful Essays
Criticisms of Jane Eyre

The major criticisms of the novel in question to be the melodrama used by the author and the wickedness of character shown in Jane and Mr. Rochester. While most critics admired the style of writing and truth of character portrayal, they did not admire the improbability of circumstances or the characters portrayed.

Elizabeth Rigby (later Lady Eastlake) was probably the harshest critic, calling Jane Eyre “the personification of an unregenerate and undisciplined spirit.” Rigby strongly believed that, while Jane was portrayed with a great degree of accuracy, she was herself a flawed person. By making a flawed person interesting, Rigby alleged, the author was committing the greatest of wrongs. As to Jane’s character, Rigby’s main criticism was that Jane was unchristian.

“Altogether the auto-biography of Jane Eyre is pre-eminently an anti-Christian composition. There is throughout it a murmuring against the comforts of the rich and against the privations of the poor, which, as far as each individual is concerned, is a murmuring against God's appointment—there is a proud and perpetual assertion of the rights of man, for which we find no authority either in God's word or in God's providence—there is that pervading tone of ungodly discontent which is at once the most prominent and most subtle evil which the law and the pulpit, which all civilized society in fact has at the present day to contend with. We do not hesitate to say that the tone of mind and thought which has overthrown authority and violated every code human and divine abroad, and fostered Chartism and rebellion at home, is the same which has also written Jane Eyre.”

She expressed the popular sentiment of the time that Jane’s di...

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... of Jane Eyre supporters.

Bibliography of Works Used

1. Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre: A Norton Critical Edition 3rd ed. Richard J. Dunn Ed. WW Norton & Co. : New York, 2001

2. "Review of Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte." Critic (Oct. 1847): 277-8.

3. "Review of Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte." Graham’s Magazine (May 1848): 299.

4. "Rev. of Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte." Living Age (from the Christian Remembrancer) (1848): 481-7.

5. "Review of Jane Eyre." Spectator. (Nov. 1847): 1074-5.

6. "U. Review of Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte." Harbinger (April 1848): 189.

7. "Unsigned Review of Jane Eyre." Douglas Jerrold’s Shilling Magazine (Nov. 1847): 470-474.

8. Lewes, George Henry, "Recent Novels: French and English." Fraser’s Magazine (Dec. 1947): 689-95.

9. Rigby, Elizabeth, "Vanity Fair—and Jane Eyre." Quarterly Review (Dec. 1848): 153-185.