Jane Eyre The Feminist Tract - Jane Eyre The Feminist Tract In 1837 critic Robert Southey wrote to Charlotte Bronte\"Literature cannot be the business of

Jane Eyre The Feminist Tract - Jane Eyre The Feminist Tract...

This preview shows page 1 - 2 out of 5 pages.

Jane Eyre, The Feminist Tract" In 1837 critic Robert Southey wrote to Charlotte Bronte,"Literature cannot be the business of a woman's life, and itought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties,the less leisure will she have for it, even as an accomplishmentand a recreation," (Gaskell 102). This opinion was not held byonly one person, but by many. Indeed, it is this attitude, onethat debases women and their abilities, to which Charlotte Bronteresponds with Jane Eyre. The purpose of Jane Eyre, not only thenovel, but also the character herself as a cultural heroine, isto transform a primeval society, one which devalues women andtheir contributions, into a nobler order of civilization (Craig57). The effectiveness of Bronte's argument is due to both hermotivation and approach. Bronte found her motivation from theexperiences she had undergone while living in the Victorian era. Her approach in advocating social reform is to establish Jane asa model for readers. Readers are meant to examine Jane's life,especially the manner in which she handles problems orconfrontations in her relationships, and to follow her example intheir own lives. Just as we see Jane as a model of a womansuccessful in asserting her self-worth, we are also given awarning about the possible outcome of failure to realize self-worth in Bertha Rochester. This facet will also be discussedbriefly. Bronte uses the motivation of personal experiences tocreate the life of Jane Eyre in which we see the quest for socialbetterment through her relationships.Bronte herself experienced the social limitations of thenineteenth century. At this time "respectable women had fewoptions in life beyond marriage, education of children, anddomestic service," (Magill 747). She ventured to explore her ownliterary abilities and wrote Jane Eyre, a novel which "served toarticulate the new sense of self that in Bronte's time was stillemerging and developing against the background of a changingsocial order," (Schact 423). This novel not only proved thecapability of Charlotte Bronte, but also, through Jane, givesreaders hope as they view a young heroine who has a strongdesire and struggles for independence, and who thinks for herselfin a society which did not encourage this. Because of theprejudices against women, she felt that any opportunity forliterary success would be stifled by her gender. For this reasonthe first editions of Jane Eyre were published under the pen name"Currer Bell." As we realize the barriers Bronte faced and hadto overcome, we see her motivation for the development of thecharacter, Jane Eyre, and for the publication of the novel."Throughout the novel," Craig asserts, "Jane ascends new'gradations of glory,' for in every relationship orconfrontation, Jane emerges as the superior individual," (Craig61). These "gradations of glory" assert Jane's value as a womanand virtually depict the worth of all women. Although thesetriumphs are not always immediate, Jane is always the ultimatevictor.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture