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JANE EYRERevision Lecture on Thematic Concerns
PRESENTATION OF WOMENConventional Notions of Victorian Femininity Idealized Notions of Women as Angels in the HouseDeviant Notions of Women as Madwomen in the AtticPassion vs RestraintPersonal Desire vs Social DutyUpper Class Notions of Victorian Femininity
CONVENTIONAL NOTIONS OF VICTORIAN FEMININITY Physical appearance as an indicator of self-worth-pg 98: “It was not my habit to be disregardful of appearance, or careless of the impression I made; on the contrary, I ever wished to look as well as I could, and to please as much as my want of beauty would permit.” Accomplishments as an indicator of self-worth-pg 87: “A young lady accustomed to tuition (had I not been a teacher two years?) is desirous of meeting with a situation in a private family where the children are under fourteen (I thought that as I was barely eighteen, it would not do to undertake the guidance of pupils near my own age). She is qualified to teach the usual branches of a good English education, together with French, Drawing, and Music (in those days, reader, this now narrow catalogue of accomplishments would have been held tolerably comprehensive)”Jane’s progressive views challenging conventional notions of Victorian femininity-pg 109: “Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”
IDEALIZED NOTIONS OF WOMEN AS ANGELS IN THE HOUSERosamond Oliver: characterized by perfection and purity-pg362-363: “Perfect beauty is a strong expression; but I don’t not retract or qualify it: as sweet features as ever the temperate climate of Albion moulded, as pure hues of rose and lily as ever her humid gals and vapoury skies generated and screened, justified, in this instance, the term. No charm was wanting, no defect was perceptible; the young girl had regular and delicate lineaments; eyes shaped and coloured as we see them in lovely pictures, large, and dark, and full; the long and shadow eyelash which encircles ta fine eye with so soft a fascination; the penciled brow which gives such clearness; the white, smooth forehead, which adds such repose to the livelier beauties of tint and ray; the small dimpled chin; the ornament of rich, plenteous tresses—all advantages, in short, which, combined, realized the ideal of beauty, were fully hers.”
IDEALIZED NOTIONS OF WOMEN AS ANGELS IN THE HOUSEMiss Maria Temple: characterized by purity and chastity-pg 47: “Seen now, in broad daylight, she looked tall, fair, and shapely; brown