"I resisted all the way," (chapter 2) Jane says as she is borne away to be locked in the red-room of Gateshead, where she will experience a fit of rage that inevitably arises from her physical and emotional entrapment. Jane evinces her refusal to accept passively restrictive male standards as well as the female predilection towards anger early in the novel. That night in the red-room, Jane experiences a vehement anger that she describes as "oppressed" and "suffocated." From this impassioned rage Jane falls unconscious, and upon waking in the nursery, Jane finds herself prepared to challenge both the oppressive patriarchal society in which she is trapped and the anger this despotism incites. It is not until Jane reaches Thornfield some time later, that she is able to confront her own rage through her encounter with Bertha, Rochester's "savage" wife who has been locked away in the attic of Thornfield Hall for fifteen years. The two are aligned through the restrictions placed upon them by domineering patriarchs; their responses to these circumstances, however, make them antithetical counterparts. While Bertha kindles a fiery wrath toward her oppressor, Jane must learn to contend with her anger so that she will ultimately be free to live a life of true equality and love with Rochester. In the novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë draws distinct similarities between the red-room and the attic of Thornfield, suggesting the complex relationship between Jane and Bertha. While Brontë presents Jane as a woman who is determined to subsist in a patriarchal world without allowing her anger to consume her, she also offers Bertha as Jane's alter ego who is imprisoned by her own r...
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...n terms by which she can exist equally with Rochester. By subsisting in a patriarchal world without allowing her anger to destroy her, Jane proves that great women can rise out of the most hopeless situations, paving the way for themselves and their posterity to live lives of absolute equality.
Works Cited and Consulted
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1991
Gates, Barbara Timm, ed. Critical Essays on Charlotte Bronte. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1990.
Kadish, Doris. The Women of Jane Eyre. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1986.
Lodge, Scott. "Fire and Eyre: Charlotte Bronte's War of Earthly Elements." The Brontes: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Ian Gregor. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1970. 110-36.
McLaughlin, M.B. "Past or Future Mindscapes: Pictures in Jane Eyre." Victorian Newsletter 41 (1972): 22-24.
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