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Literature: Jane Eyre

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Charlotte Bronte's Example for Women Charlotte Bronte, in her novel, Jane Eyre,
establishes us with a first-hand account of a women's triumph over hardships.
Jain was born orphaned, poor, and grew up in an un-loving home. To add insult to
injury, she was a woman in Victorian society; a subordinate position to begin
with. Throughout the novel, Jane faces many hardships that truly tested her
spirit and integrity. She refused to have her life determined for her, and
stayed strong through adversity. By giving us the character of Jane Eyre,
Charlotte Bronte gives us a medium in which to feel the suffering and
powerlessness of Jane's situations. The first-person narration helps the reader
relate more closely to the situation, and the triumph of Jane's character
through her adversities is an example for women to live their lives by. When
Jane is only ten years old, we are shown a glimpse of her strength of character.
Facing much resentment and evil in the Reed house, Jane cannot be degraded much
longer, at least without saying something about it, and confronts Mrs. Reed:
"I am not deceitful: if I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare I
do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John
Reed: and this book about the liar, you may give to your girl Georgiana, for it
is she who tells lies, and not I(p.45)." Further portraying Jane's passion
and toughness is what she thought right before standing up for herself. Speak I
must: I had been trodden on severely, and must turn: but how? What strength had
I to dart retaliation at my antagonist? I gathered my energies and launched them
in this blunt sentence:- …(p.45) This is a huge turning point in Jane's life;
one that greatly affects her for the rest of her life. After continuing her
retaliation at Mrs. Reed, Jane feels over-powered. "Ere I had finished this
reply, my soul began to expand, to exult, with the strangest sense of freedom,
of triumph, I ever felt."(p.46) This gives Jane a sense of confidence in
herself to go out in the world and be what she wants to be. She directly
addressed a fear, stood up for herself, and, in the process, gained the strength
and fortitude she would need to face her upcoming hardships. Jane grows up with
a natural questioning of authority and an independent, un-coercive mind. She was
not going to lay down for just anyone, and was always aware of the oppression
she was suffering, and where it was coming from. When Helen tells Jane to be
less impulsive and just to obey the rules of her school and god more obediently,
without questioning, Jane thinks to herself, "I could not comprehend this
doctrine of endurance; and still less could I understand or sympathize with the
forbearance she expressed for her chastiser(p.66)." When Helen continues to
preach about loving your enemies and letting people get away with victimizing
you, Jane replies, "But I feel this, Helen: I must dislike those who,
whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who
punish me unjustly. It is natural as that I should love those who show me
affection, or submit to punishment when I feel it is deserved(p.68)." This
shows a great deal of insight and moral strength on the part of Jane at such a
young age. Jane is sympathetic, affectionate, and spiritual, but that doesn't
mean that she can be walked over. Jane again faces hardship in her relationship
with Mr. Rochester. While taking her shopping and showering her with lavish
gifts, Jane feels uneasy. "Glad was I to get him out of the silk warehouse,
and then out of a jeweler's shop: the more he bought me, the more my cheek
burned with a sense of annoyance and degradation."(p.301) Degradation
usually is not a word associated with receiving nice gifts. However, Jane felt
dependant and inferior, as the way a child would receive gifts from a father
because they cannot support themselves, however, without the blind acceptance
and lack of guilt that comes with children. Jane again discusses her
relationship with Rochester: "It would indeed be a relief, I thought, if I
had ever so small an independency; I never can bear being dressed like a doll by
Mr. Rochester…"(p.301) This shows Jane's frustration at not being
independent; she has two strikes against her, being a woman, and being poor. She
refuses to live in this subordinate situation and tells Mr. Rochester: "I
shall continue to act as Adele's governess: by that I shall earn my board and
lodging, and thirty pounds a year besides. I'll furnish my own wardrobe out of
that money, and you shall give me nothing but-" "Well, but what?"
"Your regard: and if I give you mine in return, that debt will be
quit(p.302)." Jain, throughout her life, faced many situations in which she
had to fend for herself and be independent. This is something unexpected of a
young woman during the time-period, her financial independence being
particularly unique. Charlotte Bronte gives us Jain Eyre to serve as an example
for women to live their lives after. Born poor and orphaned, Jain maintained
strength and integrity through life's hardships. Life gave her many mountains to
climb, but as a result of her perseverance, she gained strength, peace of mind,
and a price-less sense of self-worth.
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