repeated entries into Gothic castles reflect Bront\u00ebs awareness of the power of

Repeated entries into gothic castles reflect brontës

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repeated entries into Gothic "castles" reflect Brontë's awareness of the power of inherited gender and class structures in nineteenth-century society, but also that such structures may be subject to resistance and change. Gateshead Gateshead is the site of Jane's first domestic incarceration, and sets the pattern for the series of imprisoning dwellings which threaten her selfhood again and again, and from which she must repeatedly escape. While Gateshead features no dead brides, it is filled with a harem of female figures, each weak, helpless, and enthralled either by a specific male figure or by patriarchal ideology and its clear hegemonic control. The dead
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56 uncle Reed and his monstrously living son, John Reed, each exert power over the women of Gateshead, and despite the seeming difference between the kind, fatherly uncle and the brutal son, they occupy structurally congruent positions in their patriarchal family; together, they create a constellation of women who serve them, or who enshrine their memory and influence as part of the patriarchal ISAs. The women can only act and react within their framework. Further, the women of Gateshead as Bluebeards-by-proxy figures, have internalized the patriarchal ideology that requires them to follow constricting patterns of behavior and modes of being, and, indeed, to perpetuate those patterns by helping to inflict them on other women. Mrs. Reed, the wicked stepmother figure to Jane's Cinderella, is subject both to her late husband and to his son. Her husband had forced her and continues to do so from beyond the grave to adopt his sister's orphaned daughter despite Mrs. Reed's dislike of Jane's mother. John Maynard suggests a kind of sexual rivalry between Mrs. Reed and Jane (101), as does Beth Newman, for whom Mrs. Reed sees Jane as a rival to her own position in the array of women in the family ( Subjects 35). We may see the implied rivalry between Jane and her aunt in Bluebeardian terms: Jane as the newest member of the household is threatened by, but not yet assimilated to, its patriarchal structure; Mrs. Reed is a "dead" (interpellated) bride being replaced by the new child-bride. A Bluebeard-by-proxy figure (recalling Mme Cheroni/Montoni from The Mysteries of Udolpho) who has already been fully interpellated by that structure, her subconscious strategy for survival is to adhere to that system and indeed to perpetuate it. Jane's instinctual strategy will be one of perceiving the threat she faces as we shall see in the red room episode and to resist and escape it, if she can. In the eyes of Aunt Reed, Jane
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57 has failed to reflect conventional notions of appropriate appearance and manner. Jane must "'acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner something lighter, franker, more natural'" in short, more feminine, in the patriarchal version of "feminine" (5). Mrs. Reed and her servants wish to turn Jane into a replica of themselves, or at least of a proper female. Bessie and Miss Abbot agree that
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