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_JE Essay.docx - Professor Coluccio English 151W Autonomy...

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Professor ColuccioEnglish 151WAutonomy and Identity inJane EyreIn England during the Victorian Era that ranged approximately from the 1830’s to thefirst decade of the 20thcentury, women were seen as secondary to men in a patriarchal society,limiting their life opportunities and freedom. Women were confined and their lives were requiredto remain around their family and home. Women had no rights of their own and were expected tomarry and become housewives’. Therefore, middle class women’s workforce was limited tobeing a teacher or governess and even then, they were not respected in these positions and wereviewed as being damaged. Female’s involved in the work place were somehow less worthy of agood life than women who did not have jobs (Barret 6). Charlotte Brontë’s novelJane Eyrepublished in 1847 approached to advocate for social reform during the Victorian Era throughJane who is a passionate female and fights against injustice. In fact, since Brontë published hernovel in a time in which women were not allowed to be writers, she published it under the nameof Currer Bell, a name not distinctly masculine or feminine. Charlotte Brontë enhances thethemes of gender relations and autonomy during the Victorian Era in her novelJane Eyrethrough Jane who revokes the male dominated society in her pursuit for identity andindependence.Brontë establishes Jane as a model for readers so they can follow her example of anindependent, passionate, woman who asserts her self worth and stands for justice. Brontë foundthe inspiration to do so because she herself experienced the social limitations of the VictorianEra. The novel commences with 10-year-old Jane Eyre, an orphan living with her aunt Mrs. Reed
2Castelanand her cousins John, Eliza, and Georgiana in Gateshead Hall.In this home she is treated poorlydue to her contrast with them; Jane is an eager little girl who craves education and has a strongsense of justice which was not ideal at the time for a Victorian little girl who on the contrary wassupposed to be submissive. Jane’s strong personality discomforts Mrs. Reed and in effect, sheexcludes her from her family and asserts Jane will be excluded until she acquired a “…moresociable and childlike disposition…something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were she reallymust exclude me from privilege’s intended only for contented, happy, little children” (Brontë 7).Jane portrays her maturity early in the book, by thinking that her aunt was excluding her fromprivilege’s that pertained to “happy little children” this makes it clear that she is was not okaywith being docile like a content naïve child. Jane being excluded makes her feel angry and she

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