Is Jane a typical 19th Century Heroine
Women were expected to be seen not heard just the same as children. Women were also expected to be very calm, composed and very collected. Jane Eyre did not like this idea because she felt that women should be treated just the same as men but this was unheard of in the 19th century! At Gateshead Jane Eyre was very strong when at the age of only ten years old Jane tells her aunt Reed that she hates her. Jane says lots of hurtful things to Mrs Reed, but Jane says the hurtful acquisition because she knows what she is saying is the truth. The nasty comments needed to be said by Jane to Mrs Reed to prove that Jane could stand up for her self.
Jane Eyre’s reaction to Mr Brocklehurst is very different to the reaction with Mrs Reed. Jane stands on the stool in front of the whole school when being accused by Mr Brocklehurst of being a liar and doesn’t say a word in her defence. Jane’s new friend Helen Burns influences this reaction of not answering back the person in authority. It was Helen that told Jane not to answer back and to take the insults as they come. Helen Burns is also a very strong character, Jane noticing this looks up to Helen with a lot of respect. Helens character is show when she acts with humility even when Miss Scartchard treats her unjustly.
Jane taking the insults from Mr Brocklehurst is then instructed to stand on the stool for a further half an hour as a punishment. Jane takes the insults and the punishment very well even though she is innocent this also shows Jane’s strong character. I think she does this firstly because of the influence of Helen Burns but the main reason being that if she answered Mr Brocklehurst back it would reinforce is disapproval of Jane as a wild creature. The other reason being that if she answered back she would then be issued with a worse punishment. It could even result in being sent back to Gateshead.
Going back to Gateshead now would be like giving Jane a life sentence. If she was sent back Mrs Reed wouldn’t want her any way so she would have to moved some where else again and that’s the last thing Jane needs or wants. One of the last things Jane said to Mrs Reed was that she never wanted to see her again and Jane meant every single word when she said this. And frankly if it meant standing on a stool not taking for half an hour then Jane was prepared to do it in order never to see her enemy Mrs Reed again. Mr Rochester recognise Jane’s strength and relies on her in many ways. One of the ways is when they first meet it is symbolic.
Mr Rochester also sees Jane’s strengths through her paintings. Mr Rochester also relies on her again when his bed curtains go up in flames if it wasn’t for Jane his bedclothes would of caught fire and he would be dead. Mr Rochester does not just rely on Jane he trusts her more than anyone in the whole world. An example of this is when his lunatic wife stabs Mr Masion. Instead of waking a servant up he wakes Jane up because he knows he can trust her. Mr Rochester relies on Jane because she reacts very quickly and very sensibly. If Jane wasn’t reliable she would not of been picked for the job.
Jane is not like most 19th century women for she has determination unlike conventional women who are just pretty, passive and quite ordinary example of this is Miss Blanche Ingram. Another example of Jane not being a typical 19th heroine is when she refuses to let Mr Rochester buy her lots of pretty silk dresses and jewels before her wedding. The reason for Jane not wanting the jewel is because she believes it will change her character. Jane has the ability to denine the luxteries that Mr Rochester is tempting her with and this again proves her great strength of character. Jane says: …. the more he bought me the more my cheek burned with a sense of annoyance and degradation. ”
Jane says this whilst Mr Rochester and she are choosing dresses. This shows that Jane does not want to change for she knows Mr Rochester fell in love with her the ways she is now so why the need for change? When Jane finds out that Mr Rochester is married you would expect her to fall to pieces but she does not instead she uses this to make her character stronger. Mr Rochester then wants Jane to become his mistress. Jane knowing that this is morally wrong departs from Throne field quietly.
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