Jane Eyre: Women in Victorian Society Essay
I think Charlotte’s novel “Jane Eyre” deals not only with the life of a woman froma feministic point of view, but also with the all-embracing depiction and thoughtful critique of Victorian society. If the novel presents the socio-economic crunches of the time, this presentation has been performed from the vantage point of a woman Jane Eyre who is supposed to represent, to some extent, the women of a particular of class the Victorian society, but to a greater extent, all women as a class of any society. Indeed it seems that in a rapturous eloquence Charlotte depicts life of both men and women from different social strata with their hopes and aspirations, sorrows and sufferings, but certainly as far as they relate to Jane’s life. The novel tells its reader the story of self-realization of a woman who wants to be reason and sense dominated realizing her position as a woman in the society. Charlotte’s heroine is completely aware of her position in the society and is in a continuous endeavor to keep her self respect intact. Respect for individual is one of several aspects of love. The novel critically shows that it is respect for one’s self and for others from which true love, whether it is romantic or not, starts. But if scrutinized closely Jane’s romantic relationships is bound to raise the question whether these relationships are a part of her struggles for power and control. The fact that Jane is aware of how emotion and imagination result into superstition and that she endeavors to retrieve self-respect by avoiding them carefully enhances her acceptability to the readers.
Indeed the novel plays the voice of a particular class of the Victorian society, as it tells the story of self-revelation and self-empowerment, of a Victorian woman, that are gained through her continuous effort to teach herself. Jane learns to adapt her longings for knowledge and experience to her dependent situation. Jane Eyre radically is both revolutionary and visionary, as she says, “Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, ………It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.” (Bronte 129-30)
In my opinion the novel has a quite modernizing tone and is far ahead of its time as it prepares such a plot for its protagonist that allows her to reach a self-assured stage through the struggles of life that is in contrast with fate, society, etc. Necessarily the novel also can be viewed as the criticism of the Victorian society. The confusion of both of the two themes: feministic self revelation of a woman and the anomalies of a societies, attempts to make the novel living literary masterpiece that is able to overcome the boundary of time.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Penguin Publishing. 1998