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Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core, but is nonetheless a novel many consider ahead of its time given the individualistic character of Jane and the novel's exploration of classism, sexuality, religion, and proto-feminism.

 

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Allison Chen

Allison Chen

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Women's status and rights were very miserable in the nineteenth century... In the novel, Rochester's secretly concealed wife, Bertha Mason represented the typically miserable status of Victorian married women. With the representation of Bertha, Charlotte Bronte pointedly exposed this typical Victorian social problem. In addition, Victorian women could almost never divorce their husbands as the divorce cost was extremely high and almost impossible to obtain.

Article:   Jane Eyre: "Improper" Sph…
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Feminist critics seized on "Jane Eyre" as one of the most fully developed working-class heroines in literature. Because of her intellect and cool self-possession level social and economic differences between the governess and her employer, the novel offers stirring proof that such ephemeral obstacles such as social rank and money are not unsurmountable.

Article:   Encyclopedia of Feminist …
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When Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, readers were captivated by its passages of beauty and strength. There were some who vehemently disagreed with its content, but even they found it impossible to ignore this unique novel. As the Quarterly Review wrote in 1849, “Jane Eyre gives the most stupid something to think, and the most reserved something to say” (497).

Article: Reference
Source: Reference

In the essay that follows, Dianne F. Sadoff sees the bond between Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre in terms of the sadomasochistic relationship between fathers and daughters in nineteenth-century patriarchal society. Sadoff argues that, far from being natural or "essential", the special subservience expected of daughters and associated with "femininity" was "culturally produced", the result "of child-rearing practices" (519). She goes on to point out that Freud was extremely interested in the father-daughter relationship and had several patients who, under analysis, recalled childhood fantasies of being beaten by their fathers.

Article:   Psychoanalytic Criticism …
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Allison Chen

Allison Chen

61 Knowledge Cards 

One can question the extent of this argument, but I also agree that Jane's love for Rochester is at least partially due to her lack of a father figure. The resemblance of their initial relationship to a father-daughter relationship is quite strong.

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Published three years before Greg's article appeared, Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre offers a similar and more sustained critique of the exchange of male financial support for female sexual availability that often characterized Victorian marriages and has always characterized prostitution. Brontë's novel does not simply criticize marriage as a system of sexual/economic exchange, but also suggests an alternative model of marriage based solely on love. Brontë explores this complex intersection of money, sexuality, economics, and power by comparing marriage to a form of prostitution: kept mistresshood. While Jane's initial self-reliance and independence stand in contrast to the degradation and dependence of Clara, Giacinta, and Céline, Rochester's continental ex-mistresses, Jane nearly slides into a dependent position herself.

Article: Rochester's Mistresses: M...
Source: Rochester's Mistresses: M...

It was her unshakable will that so infuriated her Aunt Reed, and later disheartened Rochester. Women with fortunes or great beauty had a measure of autonomy even in her day. Lacking these assets, Jane still refused to dispose of herself lightly, either with Rivers, for security, or with Rochester, for a compromised love. In desperate straits, when she felt most friendless, she was least likely to give another undue power over her. Although in the end Bronte grants her a reunion with Rochester that does not undermine her selfhood, it is not love but courage that defines her.

Article:   The Fictional 100: Rankin…
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Bronte, unlike most contemporary children's writers, imagined at least some children as having intense and complicated inner feelings which could not be expressed within the genteel environment. Such a child, like Jane, having to exist without love and without understanding or acceptance in a place like Gateshead, might naturally have hostile feelings. Too timid and powerless to try to express them, except under immense pressure, this child might well appear nasty and withdrawn, unloving instead of unloved.

Article: Project MUSE - Jane Eyre'...
Source: Project MUSE

Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide.

Article: The Eyre Affair: Summary ...
Source: The Eyre Affair: Summary ...
Allison Chen

Allison Chen

61 Knowledge Cards 

This is an imaginative novel by Jasper Fforde, first published in 2002. It is set in an alternative universe where time travel and cloning are part of everyday life, but the most interesting part of this book is that literature is taken extremely seriously and a way of traveling into books is invented. The major crime is the kidnapping of Jane Eyre from her own story. This work is a great example of the enduring influence of "Jane Eyre".

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Bronte undertook the writing of "Jane Eyre" in August, 1846, immediately after she completed "The Professor". Her approach to the new work suggests how great a distance she traveled rapidly. This was, of course, a critical period in her life. Her last letter to Heger had been sent. Branwell had left Thorpe Green in disgrace and was living at home in a state of shock and dissipation. Charlotte was with her father in a boarding house in Manchester, nursing him back to health after his cataract surgery.

Article:   Charlotte Bronte: The Sel…
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Allison Chen

Allison Chen

61 Knowledge Cards 

To clarify: Heger was the head of the boarding school that Charlotte attended, a married man whom she fell in love with. Branwell, her brother, experienced alcoholism and debt, developing delirium tremens later in his life. 

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Orphaned in childhood and despised by the cruel aunt who is her only known relative, Jane Eyre has no one but herself. Unaided by money, family, or beauty, Jane relies on her intelligence and integrity to help her survive. After Jane secures a position as governess in mysterious, beautiful Thornfield mansion, she becomes deeply enmeshed with her moody employer, Mr. Rochester. But Rochester guards a dark and terrible secret--a secret that will force Jane to choose between the principles that define her and the only love she has ever known.

Article:   Jane Eyre
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