Jane Eyre Female Characters
“Though restrained by social convention, the passions of the female characters emerge with great force. ” In the light of this comment, discuss Bronte’s presentation of female characters. Bronte presents the female characters in many different ways. One early example we see of this in chapter one is Jane’s passion as you speaks out a John. “You are like a murderer – you are like a slave-driver – you are like the Roman emperors! ” This is the first time we see Jane’s true passion as she is speaking out to John. By doing so, she is breaking the social norms of that time.
At the beginning of chapter two we see how Bronte presents Jane as being a lower class and status than her cousin John, which would have been very common at the time, where females were seen as being less important than men. “Miss Eyre, to strike a young gentleman, your benefactress’s son! Your master. Master! How is he my master? Am I a servant? No; you are less than a servant, you do nothing for your keep” We see here that Jane is seen as being less than a servant, whereas John is known as The Master. We also see in this quote that Jane speaks out to the title given to John “Master” How is he my master?
Jane Eyre Female Characters Essay Example
Am I a servant” Most children would just accept this and day nothing but through Jane saying this we see that Bronte is presenting her to being different, not just form the Reed family but to most children at this time. When Jane is locked in the Red Room we see more of her passion when she says “Unjust! – Unjust” rather than accepting her punishment. We see this side of Jane a lot in the early stages of the novel. We see how Jane is angry, rebellious and hungry for adventure. Charlotte Bronte saw the novel as lifting the lid on an English that was built on violence on the young and vulnerable.
It also relates to the position of women at the time in which the book came out. Even though there was a Queen on the throne at this time, it made no difference to the legal and economic position of other women. They had little more power than children. Women couldn’t vote and there were no laws in favour of them. Legally a woman belonged to her nearest male relative. When married any property she owned is given to her husband as well does any money she had. Even middle class women had little rights. They allowed no economically productive careers and they were not permitted to go to university.
A middle class woman was expected to stay at home until she married, then once married they were expected to stay at home and look after her new family. For woman of this time to have so little rights, it truly would have shocked some people to see Jane’s passion, to say such things to her male counterparts was seen as bad coming from a girl but from a child made it even more shocking. We see how this is backed up by the early critical reviews and how the novel was received. Despite it being a bestseller, Victorian critics did not like it Jane Eyre’s strong minded independence and many thought the novel was coarse.
The novel was also blamed for the corruption of contemporary tastes and morality. Most critics felt that there was something dangerous in the novel’s underlying message, while Jane Eyre was godless and unrestrained. The Reed family are very much detestable. They treat Jane as a nobody and as we only see them from Jane’s point of view it’s hard to see any good in them! Mrs Reed hates Jane because she has been foisted upon them by a lying wish made by Mr Reed, in which he made Mrs Reed promise to treat Jane as her own, a promise in which Mrs Reed breaks.
The Reeds show us how Jane is a social outcast and her response to them demonstrates how she blankly refuses to accept her. The fact that Jane has no money makes the Reeds look down on her, it makes her less important than them as they are a wealthy family. We see a good example of this on page 13 when John speaks: “You have no business to take our books; you are a dependent, mamma says; you have no money; you family left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentleman’s children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mamma’s expense.
” In this cruel speech by John directed a Jane we see how social class in this time and more particular in Jane’s case causes her to be completely separated from being anything like the Reed family. John’s speech is something like a man would say, not a fourteen year old talking to his ten year old cousin. The above quote is the perfect summary of the plight of Jane under the reign of the Reed family at Gateshead.