Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Powerful Essays
It is human nature to search for a sense of belonging and identity in a world in which seems vast and incomprehensible. The process of self-discovery is a long and arduous journey, undertaken by only those of the strongest character. Charlotte Brontë’s, Jane Eyre, is a classic exemplar of a “heroine who refuses to be placed in the traditional female position of subservience and who disagrees with her superiors, stands up for her rights, and ventures creative thoughts”(McFadden-Gerber). In the nineteenth century, the period in which the novel was written, “women were dominated by their sexuality, and were expected to fall silently into the social mold crafted by men, since they were regarded as irrational, sensitive, and dutiful” (“Historical”). The novel’s protagonist, Jane Eyre, struggles to understand and adhere to these strict expectations, “in some situations, Jane deploys middle-class and genteel identities and in others critiques them; in still other circumstances, she mobilizes a radical identity" (Vanden). These contradicting personalities initially prevent Jane from establishing a sense of gender identity; however, as she matures, uninhibited by society’s influence, Jane formulates her own gender identity based upon her experiences. Throughout the course of the novel, Jane begins to disregard traditional gender roles imposed on women within the Victorian society, and accept her emerging independence and sexuality.
Charlotte Brontë is well known for “cutting her heroines off radically from family and community”, which allowed “the opportunity to make her women independent and to explore the Romantic ideal of individualism” (McFadden-Gerber). As a child, Jane’s lack of family and independence caused her to be treated as ...

... middle of paper ...

...1900 Autumn 2005: 853-71. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Kathy D. Darrow. Vol. 217. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 Nov. 2013.
Historical Analysis: Women as the "the Sex" During The Victorian Era. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.
Kelchner, Heidi. "Jane Eyre." Masterplots II: Women’S Literature Series (1995): 1-3. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
McFadden-Gerber, Margaret. "Jane Eyre." Masterplots, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-4. Literary Reference Center. Web. 29 Dec. 2013.
Peters, John G. "Inside And Outside: Jane Eyre And Marginalization Through Labeling." Studies In The Novel 28.1 (1996): 57. Literary Reference Center. Web. 5 Nov. 2013.
Vanden Bossche, Chris R. "What Did Jane Eyre Do? Ideology, Agency, Class, And The Novel." Narrative 13.1 (2005): 46-66. Literary Reference Center. Web. 29 Dec. 2013.
Get Access