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Cristina CristeaProfessor LoganAIID 201-071 November 2011Gender Inequality in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane EyreFrom the beginning of time, males have always been identified as the dominant gender.Male domination is evident in many aspects of society even to this day; men are the primaryauthority figures in a patriarchal family- fathers are superior in the household and holdjurisdiction over women, children, and property; ancestral decent is also traced through the maleline in patrilineal descent patterns, where men acquire property and lend their title to their family.Stereotypes identify men as strong, valiant heroes while women assume the role of fragile,desperate damsels in distress. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that after centuries of physicaland mental oppression, women subconsciously consider themselves inferior to men. Asexemplified in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, even a strong-minded protagonist such as Jane Eyrefeels an inherent subservience to the male counterparts in her life. Jane, independent andpassionate as she is, feels a constant desire to please the obstinate men around her by subtlytransforming and molding herself to conform to their ideals. A level of equality is reachedbetween Jane and Rochester only when he becomes physically disabled- literally reduced inworth- and dependent on her aid and guidance. While monetary value may prove to be a factor ina woman’s assumed inferiority to a man, gender inequality is a controversial social issue thatallows women to believe they aren’t worthy of a strong, successful man. Of all the women portrayed in Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre has the most self-respect yeteven she does not consider herself worthy of marrying Rochester. From childhood, Jane isberated by constant reminders of her lowliness and unworthiness. At Lowood, Brocklehurt setsup the curriculum and rules of his institution to remind the girls that they ought to be humble and
Cristea 2simple creatures. It is intimated that young girls are easily influenced by the lusts of society: “…