Issues In Victorian Society In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

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Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, is not a book that can easily be viewed through one critical theory. However, by knowing the historical background of when Bronte developed her novel, readers are able to understand Jane Eyre on a deeper level. The Victorian era was a time of change, and what authors like Charlotte Bronte did was help increase the change by shedding light into problems in Victorian society. Jane Eyre touches on many of the issues in Victorian society like feminist issues, class struggles, and the relationship between Britain and its colonies. Not only can readers see how much society has changed, but also the similarities. By understanding the novel at a historical level, readers can understand the novel through the lense…show more content…
The novel mostly focuses on Jane’s thoughts, emotions , and growth (Mayer). It is almost impossible not to be dragged into her thoughts. One of the first moments where Jane’s attitude can be seen was when she confronts Mrs. Reed. Women were not seen to have such complex thoughts and emotions, better yet say them out loud. Bronte again challenges women 's role when Jane decides who she is going to marry. Women in the victorian era did not usually have a choice in who they should marry. Many believed that women should consider themselves “lucky and privileged” when a man asked to marry them (Mayer). However, Jane acts completely different. She does not fall into a trap of simply being “lucky” that one should propose to her. This act can be seen in her refusal to marry St. John: “I have a woman 's heart, but not where you are concerned ; for you I have only comrade’s constancy ; a fellow-soldier’s frankness, fidelity, fraternity, if you like; a neophyte’s respect and submission to his hierophant, nothing more-don 't fear” (Bronte 472). Jane simply knows what she feels and does not want to make decisions because she should feel lucky. When she finally decides to marry Rochester it is not because someone decided for her. “Reader, I married him” shows how she, herself made the choice to finally marry him (Bronte 520). No one forces her or decides for her, she makes the choice…show more content…
The struggle with hunger can be seen during Jane’s time at Lowood. The children at Lowood struggle with hunger and eventually leads to an outbreak of typhus. Hunger causes some of the girls to steal from each other. Mr. Brocklehurst while obviously keeping his family well nourished, keeps the children undernourished. Mr. Brocklehurst claims that keeping their bodies nourished will “starve their immortal souls”(Bronte 76). Rather than seeing food as a way to survive, he believes that it serves as a way of self-denial. This comes from the idea that denying food can lead to purifying one 's spiritual soul (Lii). Hunger also serves as a way to drive the plot forward in Jane Eyre, as regularly seen in Victorian literature. After leaving Rochester Jane nearly dies from hunger: “But it will be dreadful; with this feeling of hunger, faintness, chill, and this sense of desolation- total prostration of hope. In all likelihood, though, I should die before morning… Oh, Providence! sustain me a little longer!” (Bronte 385). This suffering eventually leads Jane to her cousins. What makes hunger such a regular occurrence in Victorian literature is the fact that all around, this issue of hunger was regularly

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