The Significance in Symbols in Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre Enduring relevance. It has been suggested that a key element. In Jane Eyre’s enduring relevance to readers is the novel’s examination of society and its expectations. To what extent does your personal understanding concur with this view? In your response, you should critically analyze and evaluate the techniques, themes and structure of the novel.
The enduring power of Charlotte Bronte’s Victorian novel Jane Eyre lies. In its ability to elicit various emotions amongst responders through. The controversial social exploration of 19″ century England. The modern audience can interpret the novel as a dark satire of religious hypocrisy. And as a powerful commentary into the oppressive nature of rigid social and gender inequality in the Victorian era.
Through the compelling story of fascinating Jane. And her subversion of traditional Victorian social. Gender and religious expectations. Bronte relays a significant message about the importance of an individual mind. When attempting to break free of oppressive forces. Such a powerful message gives the novel an enduring power to move and influence readers in different ways.
The patriarchal system of Victorian England oppressed the identity of women in society. However, through Jane, Bronte subverts the traditional Victorian expectations of women. Resulting in my understanding of Jane as an enduring feminist hero. The overarching patriarchal values evident in 19th century. England is first manifested through the character of cousin, John Reed. The hyperbolic language. And extended syntax in description “every nerve in Jane feared him.
For the terror he inspired”, emphasizes the great influence John has. As the sole Reed male, thus personifying the oppression of feminine identity due to gender inequality. However, Jane’s emphatic diction towards John “you are like a murderer!” reflects her feminist tendency and refusal to submit to a patriarchal power. Jane’s resilience highlights her individual mind and potential to escape the entrapment of gender inequality.
Jane’s subversion of the passive identity of conventional Victorian women is further illuminated. Through her ultimate superiority over Rochester, her love interest and employer. Rochester’s final “blind and crippled state” is a plot twist. Which allows Jane more control, thus symbolizing her triumph over gender inequality. Allen’s (1954) belief that “Rochester’s mutilation is a symbol of Jane’s triumph in the battle of the sexes” confirms my interpretation.
Despite my feminist appreciation for Jane Eyre, Victorian audiences were critical of Jane’s subversion of traditional Victorian values. Eastlake’s critique “Jane is destitute of all conventional feature of female attractions” demonstrates the 19th century expectations of women to compliant and inferior. Therefore, it is my belief that Jane’s unique identity as a feminist Victorian figure is a significant factor in the novel’s enduring power to powerfully move the modern audience.
The inequality embedded in the Victorian class structure oppressed the individual identities of the lower class. It is my understanding that Jane’s awareness of the limitations. Of social prejudice result in her compelling character. And thus adds to the novel’s enduring power to captivate readers of different contexts. Bessie’s aphorism “you are less than a servant; you do nothing for your keep” juxtaposes with John’s haughty claim “you ought to beg”, emphasizing the lack of mobility within the Victorian social hierarchy and consequently the lack of opportunity within the lower class for individuals to forge their identity.
Jane’s chance encounter with Rochester is a typical plot device of the Victorian Romanticism genre; however she disregards the meeting with pragmatic diction, “an incident of no incident, no moment, and no romance”, highlighting her shrewd understanding of her personal limitations as a lower class individual in a strict social hierarchy. However, the novel’s bildungsroman format emphasizes Jane’s ultimate subversion of the rigid 19th century English social hierarchy.
The confident tone in Jane’s assertion “I am an independent woman” reflects Jane’s triumph over the strict Victorian social immobility. Direct address and first person narration in “Reader, I married him”, epitomizes Jane’s newfound freedom of choice. It is my understanding that through Jane’s struggle to gain “independence”, Bronte criticizes the hierarchical oppression in Victorian England. My interpretation is mirrored by Chase’s (1948) analysis of Jane Eyre as “an argument for social betterment”. Bronte’s unromantic commentary of social stratification in 19th century England offers the modern audience a compelling insight into the oppressive nature of social prejudice. However, Jane’s ultimate triumph evokes a sense of accomplishment within the reader, giving the text a significant enduring relevance to society.
Overruling faith in religion can result in sanctimonious and hypocritical acts by people in positions of high religious power, oppressing individual thoughts in society. The oppressive regime of authoritarian figure Brocklehurst is a caricature of the religious platitudes of the Victorian era, giving the novel an enduring relevance by offering a gripping narration of the superficial piety existent in 19″ century England. There is irony “Christian” belief that individuals must be “clothed in shame faced sobriety” as his daughters are described with rich visual imagery and itemization “splendidly attired in fufasfkjjrs, silks and velvets’.
The vast contrast in lifestyles highlights Brocklehurst’s disingenuous preaching of religious morals and unjust subjugation of the Lowood students’ freedom of expression and identity. My understanding of the effect of character Brocklehurst is supported by Charlie Smith’s belief that “Jane Eyre is an expose of tyranny in [Victorian England]” (2001). Student, Helen Burns, embodies the consequence of allowing hypocritical religious authorities oppress the lower class.
The paradoxical nature of her mantra “love your enemies; bless them that curse you” is a biblical allusion and reflects oppression of individual passion. Helen’s acceptance acts as a foil for Jane’s own rebellious passion. Jane’s rhetorical question, “does it [heaven] exist?” emphasizes her shrewd doubtfulness of the hypocritical religious teachings of the institute. Bronte’s representation of religion as an oppressive force highlights the importance of independent thought in order to maintain personal identity. This significant message gives
Jane Eyre an enduring power to move readers in different ways by emphasizing the dangers of blind submission. Charlotte Bronte subverts the traditional representations and expectations of social class, gender and religion in her novel Jane Eyre, offering a controversial insight into oppressive Victorian England.
Her emphasis on the oppressive influence that rigid social hierarchy, gender inequality and hypocritical religion has on individual identity gives the text significance by providing the novel with the enduring power to impact readers of different contexts. Therefore, through the critical study of Jane Eyre, it has become my understanding that it is a text’s ability to elicit powerful emotion within a responder that gives a text enduring significance and power within society.