preview

Jane Eyre as a Feminist Novel

Powerful Essays
Jane Eyre as a Feminist Novel

A feminist is a person whose beliefs and behavior are based on feminism (belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes). Jane Eyre is clearly a critique of assumptions about both gender and social class. It contains a strong feminist stance; it speaks to deep, timeless human urges and fears, using the principles of literature to chart the mind?s recesses. Thus, Jane Eyre is an epitome of femininity - a young independent individual steadfast in her morals and has strong Christian virtues, dominant, assertive and principled. That itself is no small feat.

Firstly, Jane Eyre is a young woman who faces hardships with great determination. Raised by Mrs. Reed, a cruel aunt, she is sent to Lowood, a bleak charity school run by the tyrannical Mr. Brocklehurst, where she endures a lonely and sad life. ?Human beings must love something, and, in the dearth of worthier objects of affection, I contrived to find a pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded graven image, shabby as a miniature scarecrow.? Jane faces the prospects of a young woman lacking the social advantages of family, money, and beauty, and therefore especially vulnerable to the fascination of admiration and security. Jane endures so much suffering through out the novel - Jane suffers through the cruel treatment of Lowood because her aunt wants to punish her for her rebelliousness, she suffers heartbreak for her attempt to marry her beloved Rochester, and suffers an estrangement from St. John when she chooses to uphold her belief that marriages should be for love and not for convenience. Despite the pain her choices bring her, she manages to maintain her independence in the face of these overwhelming powers over her. And despite the "happy" ending when she is reunited with Mr. Rochester, it is not love but courage that defines her character.

Secondly, Jane Eyre is an independent individual. She completes her schooling, and spends two years teaching, as well. After Miss Temple marries, Jane realizes that she has a great desire to leave Lowood, to see more of the world, and to better her living position. She becomes a governess ? plain and hard-working governess. She believes that "Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their br...

... middle of paper ...

...mediate feelings. Rochester is the first person that has ever truly loved her yet she knows that staying with him would mean compromising herself because she would be Rochester?s mistress rather than his wife. Not only would she lose her self-respect, she would probably lose Rochester?s, too, in the end. Hence, Jane asserts her worth and her ability to love herself regardless of how others treat her. The quote also highlights Jane?s understanding of religion. She sees God as the giver of the laws by which she must live. When she can no longer trust herself to exercise good judgment, she looks to these principles as an objective point of reference.

Throughout the novel, the author raises a question on how a woman in her society can have passion and principle, love and independence. Though Jane Eyre does not so much suggest definitive answers, she is truly an epitome of femininity - a young independent individual steadfast in her morals and has strong Christian virtues, dominant, assertive and principled and the novel, as create the questions with urgency and a depth of imagination that challenge readers not only through comprehending but also its outcome on its audiences? life.
Get Access