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Feminism in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

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Feminism in Jane Eyre

Feminism has been a prominent and controversial topic in writings

for some time. In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre the main

character, Jane Eyre, explores the depth at which women may act in society

and finds her own boundaries in Victorian England. As well, along with the

notions of feminism often follow the subjects of class distinctions and

boundaries.

There is an ample amount of evidence to suggest that the tone of

Jane Eyre is in fact a very feminist one and may well be thought as

relevant to the women of today who feel they have been discriminated

against because of there gender. At the beginning of the 19th century,

little opportunity existed for women, and thus many of them felt

uncomfortable when attempting to enter many parts of society. The absence

of advanced educational opportunities for women and their alienation from

almost all fields of work gave them little option in life: either become a

house wife or a governess. Although today a tutor may be considered a

fairly high class and intellectual job, in the Victorian era a governess

was little more than a servant who was paid to share her scarce amount of

knowledge in limited fields to a child. With little respect, security, or

class one may certainly feel that an intelligent, passionate and

opinionated young woman such as Jane Eyre should deserve and be capable of

so much more. The insecurity of this position, being tossed around with

complete disregard for her feelings or preferences, is only one of many

grueling characteristics of this occupation. However for Jane to even

emerge into society, becoming a governess seemed the only reasonable path

for her.

The women of the Victorian Era can be regarded as the first group

to do battle for the equality of the sexes. They lead all women to follow

after them, and though their progression may not have been as vivid as the

women of the 70's, they did have an effect. Feminism was not outright

spoken of in this time, rather passed through literature, such as this very

novel. Stories and novels were the primary means in which to communicate

information and ideas in that time. Without mass communication systems
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