In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Jane is an orphan who is often mistreated by the family and other people who surround her. Faced with constant abuse from her aunt and her cousins, Jane at a young age questions the treatment she receives: "All John Reed’s violent tyrannies, all his sister’s proud indifference, all his mother’s aversion, all the servants’ partiality, turned up in my disturbed mind like a dark deposit in a turbid well. Why was I always suffering, always brow-beaten, always accused, forever condemned?" (27; ch. 2). Despite her early suffering, as the novel progresses Jane is cared for and surrounded by various women who act as a sort of "substitute mother" in the way they guide, comfort, and inspire her. By looking into Charlotte Bronte’s own childhood and family background, as well as discovering aspects of Victorian motherhood in the mid-nineteenth century, one may be enlightened as to why so many substitute mothers are present to Jane throughout the novel. The substitute mothers, although a starting point for Jane’s emotional redemption, do not prove to fulfill what a mother in the Mid-Victorian era would be.
Charlotte Bronte’s own mother died when she was only five years old, so she and her sisters were raised by her father, Patrick. According to John Cannon, author of The Road to Haworth, "The image of their mother was strong in their minds, and it is often seen in the fictional characters which the girls created, but they were all far too young to be influenced by her in any other way" (Cannon 19). Charlotte’s father tried to remarry yet was unsuccessful, and he therefore raised his children alone with some aid from his wife’s sister. Charlotte’s older sister, Maria, ...
... middle of paper ...
...istreated" (Thaden 27).
Given the background of Victorian motherhood, the nourishment, teachings, and support from the mother are never really present in Jane’s life. Placing other women in her life are able to fill the void where her mother would have been, but never fill the void as a mother really would.
Berg, Maggie. Jane Eyre: Portrait of a Life. Boston: Twayne, 1987.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Ed. Beth Newman. Bedford/St. Martins, 1996.
Cannon, John. The Road to Haworth. New York: Viking, 1981.
McKnight, Natalie. Suffering Mothers in Mid-Victorian Novels. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997.
Moglen, Helene. Charlotte Bronte The Self Conceived. New York: Norton, 1976.
Nestor, Pauline. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. New York: St. Martin’s, 1992.
Thaden, Barbara. The Maternal Voice in Victorian Fiction. New York: Garland, 1997.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Importance of Miss Temple In the novel Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte, one reoccurring motif is the idea of Jane, the protagonist, needing a motherly figure to guide her. From the very beginning it is obvious that Jane is an orphan without any real motherly figure, so she finds a few people to fill this void in every environment she is placed in. The major substitute mother is a woman named Miss Temple in which Jane meets at the Lowood Institution. Miss Temple dramatically helps Jane along her journey and comforts her in a way that only a mother could.... [tags: mother, kindness, emotion]
784 words (2.2 pages)
- Would a person describe the personality and acts of their mothers as loving or nurturing or quite possibly witty with her words. When one thinks of a Mother, be it their own or another, one would usually describe them as caring, affectionate, protective; however, with her mother having died when she was a young age of five, Charlotte Brontë never had the chance to understand how essential those traits were to a child and grew up under the care and teachings of her father; which was what helped lead to her strong and virtuous independence: the lack of a mother's love and guide.... [tags: Jane Eyre]
894 words (2.6 pages)
- How does Brontë create sympathy for the character of Jane in her novel, ‘Jane Eyre’. In the novel, ‘Jane Eyre’ Charlotte Brontë focuses on the life of Jane, an unwanted orphan who can’t do anything right in the eyes of her aunt. When she is about nine she is sent to Lowood Institute where she is also treated as inferior by Mr Brocklehurst. Although Jane is treated so cruelly and unfairly all her life she proves everyone wrong in the end by making something of herself. There are many parts of the book where we feel sympathy for Jane.... [tags: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë]
809 words (2.3 pages)
- The Victories of Jane Eyre All people live by their own codes of conduct. Everyone, be they male or female, young or old, has their own sets of values, which they adhere to and which are unchanging even in the face of personal or societal pressures and conflicts to give them up. In Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Jane is tempted many times to acquiesce to others' wishes and, thereby, give up her own moral standards and beliefs. Yet Jane remains steadfast in adhering to her personal code of conduct, namely to maintain feelings of high self-esteem, not to let herself be used and abused by others, and never to give up her religious convictions.... [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]
927 words (2.6 pages)
- Poverty and Charity in Jane Eyre When Jane Eyre resided at Gateshead Hall, under the care of her aunt, Mrs. Reed, she yearned for a change. The treatment that she received at Gateshead Hall was cruel, unjust, and most importantly, lacked nurture. Jane wanted to escape Gateshead Hall and enter into a school. The school that was imposed upon Jane was Lowood Institution. Through her eight year stay at Lowood, Jane learned how to control her frustrations and how to submit to authority. After leaving Lowood Institution and taking the occupation as governess at Thornfield Hall, Jane realized that her experiences at Gateshead Hall and Lowood Institution had deeply rooted themselves into her perso... [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]
1140 words (3.3 pages)
- Jane Eyre - Woman as Demon Missing Works Cited Women in Victorian literature often came to be seen as "the other" or in more direct terms, as somehow demonized. This is certainly true in Jane Eyre. Bertha Mason, Rochester's mad wife, is the epitome of the demon in the attic. By virtue of being the first wife she is in continually compared to Jane. Although there are parallels in plot and language between the two women, they are completely different people. In addition, Bronte also depicts other women throughout the novel as something to be feared.... [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]
1959 words (5.6 pages)
- Portrayals of Prostitution in Jane Eyre Bronte paints many parallels between the characters in the novel and the trade of prostitution. One of the main characters that Bronte attributes poverty to is the character of Jane. Jane’s poverty is intrinsically important to the plot of the novel because Bronte uses Jane’s poverty to allow the reader to picture Jane as a virtuous woman, such as when Jane flees from Thornfield to escape the entrapment of Rochester. The reader is urged to feel sympathy for Jane as she adheres to her strict, virtuous moral codes and does not allow herself to succumb to temptation.... [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]
2147 words (6.1 pages)
- Orphans in Jane Eyre Jane, one of the orphans in the novel Jane Eyre, is portrayed as the victim of charity. She is also seen in others' eyes as something less or lower than themselves. Orphans are seen by wealthy people as children who are in need of their charity, and also who lack in morals, ambition, and culture. Jane tells about how she has no family; her mother and her father had the typhus fever, and "both died within a month of each other" (58; ch. 3). As if this is not bad enough, she is also excluded from being a part of the Reed family: Me, [Mrs.... [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]
1519 words (4.3 pages)
- “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.” (Bronte, Jane Eyre). This quote expresses Charlotte’s beliefs on women’s equalities. Charlotte Bronte was born in 1816. She was one of six children and lived in Yorkshire County England. She first worked as a governess in the Sidewick family then in the White family for only nine months. Charlotte wanted more for herself, and none of her jobs satisfied her ambitions. When she moved back home, she discovered her sister, Emily’s, poetry and decided to publish a selection of the poems all three sisters wrote.... [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]
1313 words (3.8 pages)
- Jane Eyre and the Lovemad Woman I was experiencing an ordeal: a hand of fiery iron grasped my vitals. Terrible moment: full of struggle blackness, burning. No human being that ever lived could wish to be loved better then I was loved; and him who thus loved me I absolutely worshipped: and I must renounce love and idol. (311; ch. 27) Jane Eyre’s inner struggle over leaving an already married Rochester is the epitome of the new "lovemad" woman in nineteenth-century literature. Jane Eyre is the story of a lovemad woman who has two parts to her personality (herself and Bertha Mason) to accommodate this madness.... [tags: Jane Eyre Literature]
3143 words (9 pages)