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Feminism in the Novel Jane Erye

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The belief that women should have equal economic, political and social rights which were offered to men was known as feminism. Feminism has been a prominent and controversial topic in writing for over two centuries, with the view articulating in the “19th century meaning that women were inherently equal to men and deserved equal rights and opportunities.” (Gustafson, 1) Many women throughout time have stood forward towards women’s rights. Jane Eyre was written and published during the Victorian Era. The novel was written by Charlotte Brontë, but published under the

pseudonym Currer Bell. Pseudonyms were used frequently by women at

this point in time, as they were believed to be inferior to men. The works of female authors were not as well respected as those of male writers; therefore many women would assume a fictitious name in order for their works to get noticed. A well-known example of another female author writing under a pseudonym at the same time was Mary Ann Evans, who wrote under the name George Eliot. The reason for this oppression

of women writers lies in the belief that a woman’s place was in the home. (VanTassel-Baska, 4) Domesticity and motherhood were portrayed as a sufficient fulfillment. A conventional woman in the Victorian era was married with children. (Proquest, 1) However, Bronte’s novel contains a strong feminist stance, with the main character Jane Eyre making and questioning assumptions about gender and social class, as a young independent woman. She ignored the expectations of society in the Victorian times and followed her own desires, which allowed her to develop into the dominant and assertive woman that became the essence of feminism. At the beginning of the 19th century, little opportunity exi...

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...ere only studied by the upper classes. (Proquest, 2) Jane as “a free human being with an independent will”

(Bronte, 252) influenced freedom on the women of society in both Victorian era and today, which recognized Jane Eyre as a feminist piece of writing.

Conclusion

Throughout the novel, the author Charlotte Bronte made and questioned assumptions about the expectations women of society were obliged to uphold. Focusing in on marriage, women’s roles and education in the Victorian era Jane the protagonist took a feminist attitude, which showed her independence and self-determination to lead the way. These were all views held by women in Victorian society. With the notions of feminism often followed the subjects of class distinctions and boundaries; it permitted the book Jane Eyre to be considered a feminist novel.
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