Jane Eyre: A Hero In The Male Dominated Society

“I’ve told missis often my opinion about the child, and missis agreed with me. She’s an underhand little thing: I never saw a girl of her age with so much cover. ” In the novel Jane Eyre, Jane is an orphan who is constantly being thrown around and she yearns to experience life to the fullest after all she’s been through. She finds love that’s not good for her, but she’s happy. Feminist criticism assumes that women are “damsels in distress” and can only be rescued by a man. In other words, women need a man to save them from all their problems since they are incapable of doing anything. In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte proves that marriage isn’t her goal as much as preserving her identity and her freedom in a male dominated society. In the 19th century where women were to rely on men for Monterey purposes, their social class, and property purposes, Jane Eyre defies those standards of a woman and should be seen as a hero by being independent and going against society's norms to chase after her own perspective of a female life.

Bronte’s style of writing addresses the reader to make them more involved in Jane’s life. The novel is first person point of view and uses Authorial intrusion to enhance the understanding of what Jane is thinking and feeling. A week later after Mr. Rochester leaves Thornfield for traveling, Jane finds herself feeling dismayed that Mr. Rochester could leave Europe without returning home. However, when Jane sees Rochester after his absence she acknowledges, “I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me. ” Jane realizes that after looking at Rochester her feelings towards him have gotten stronger than what she expected. The word “Extirpate” means to destroy completely or root out. In her time women were expected to marry a man to keep them maintained, so you’d expect that Jane would have loved the idea of marriage, but Jane never intended to fall in love since it was the last thing on her mind. She is a woman of worth who values her education and teaching the less fortunate than being in love. With this style of writing the reader, as Jane states, knows that she tries hard to push away any feelings towards Rochester. The attitude that Jane portrays allows the reader to really feel what Jane is trying to say through her eyes and we really get to sympathize with her life and feelings. If it wasn’t for this style the reader wouldn’t feel as included in Jane’s live nor would we get a sense of what she’s thinking.

Some people may say that Rochester came into Jane’s life to make it better. However, Jane Eyre was the one that saved Rochester’s life making her the hero. In the book, Jane Eyre by Bronte she writes about the challenging journey a young orphan had when she was growing up and how she was experiencing harshness treatment by numerous characters in the story, but overcame them with bravery and courageousness. “I heaved them up, deluged the bed and its occupants, flew back to my own room, brought my own water-jug, baptised the couch afresh, and, by God’s aid, succeeded in extinguishing the flames which were devouring it. ” Jane is woken up by a very loud noise and hears a door open, so she gets up to see what it was. When she gets up she sees smoke and goes running to Rochester’s room to find it on fire. The word “heaved” means to lift with great effort. This takes us back to how Jane could’ve asked for help like a lady should, but decided to ignore the fact that he is a man which would be much more heavy. After all, Jane went ahead and still saved his life showing her strength no matter all the times they underestimated her when she was a child at Gateshead. Battling with all the times that Ms. Reed and her cousins abused her which could take a toll on someone and still managing to save a man's life really shows her pride and bravery to follow her feminist values. This matters because Bronte wrote a book where women are viewed as the hero in order to show that women can be treated equally like guys when people's lives are being saved. It is significant because Jane Eyre is a great model to show that it is possible to be brave and be considered a hero in an era where many women didn't have much rights like nowadays.

Jane Eyre defies the barriers of gender, she gives the word woman a new definition by going against the injustice of gender within society to go after a free equality life. In the novel, Bronte uses contrast to reveal how women are independent and aren’t as weak and dumb as they make them seem. “Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings. ” Contrast is demonstrated in the quote when it explains how women are supposed to generally be calm but that point of view is contradicted when Jane explains how women can actually feel the same emotions as men and have pride in their hard work. The word “stagnation” is the state of not flowing or moving. This leads back to the quote to how she feels imprisoned as if she can’t be an independent individual because in her time society viewed men as the ones who do the physical work and the ones with the brains while women were viewed as weak and only being able to handle house work, but in Jane’s perspective women are also capable of learning and taking initiative in the same situations as men. Therefore, Jane is longing for equality and freedom. She wants for men to no longer be superior to women and be shadowed by them because women are worth much more than society presumes.

In conclusion, Charlotte Bronte proves that women are in fact not damsels in distress. Jane Eyre was the hero in the male dominated society, she did not need a man to be a hero. Living in the 19th century, Jane was a feminist of her time. As women of the modern century, we have way more opportunities than Jane had back in her day but she fought to be an equal. Like Jane, we cannot limit ourselves because of typical feminist stereotypes, our potential is limitless as long as we stay true and believe in ourselves.

10 October 2020
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