||Bronte’s Jane Eyre leaves a legacy for readers; however, its legacy is often misunderstood. Many a time the novel is seen as a feminist manifesto, and some critics praise its feminist ideas in contrast to Victorian conventions; however, others criticize the same novel because it frames people’s ways of living and thinking. For instance, some readers think Jane Eyre’s willingness to become Mrs. Rochester is problematic and should not be celebrated, for it shows the restraint on women’s liberty. |
Since the 1960s, with the rise of the post-colonial studies and the feminist-studies, critics have defined the novel’s literary position with focuses on
gender and racial issues; however, if one sees Jane Eyre as simply a feminist manifesto or an endorsement of the patriarchal Victorian society and the British Empire, one neglects its historical significance in showing the rich daily-life experience as well as the political and cultural complexity of that age. Thus even though many critics tend to read Jane Eyre with focus merely on the woman question and the racial ideology, this thesis will focus on the conventionality and unconventionality in the novel by examining the historical background in early Victorian England. In other words, this thesis will investigate the social traditions as well as the emerging new prospects of the Victorian society, expecting to propose a new way to re-examine Jane Eyre’s position in English literature.
To begin with, in chapter I I will give a brief introduction to my thesis. In chapter II, I will explore the heroine Jane by examining her social positions in different periods. As a poor orphan, Jane fights to pursue her happiness as well as security; under this condition, her failure and later success make readers understand the dynamic social rules in that time. Chapter III will focus on the male protagonist Mr. Rochester. Even though he holds financial and social advantages, he is not totally free from the restraint of legal and social norms. I will argue that Rochester’s predicaments in his inheritance and marriage show the negative aspect of Victorian patriarchy. In chapter IV, another two characters Bertha Mason and St. John Rivers will be studied to see individuals’ different kinds of relations with the community. The concluding chapter will integrate what has been discussed and present a more complete view of the coexisting conventionality and unconventionality in Jane Eyre.
||Adams, James Eli. “Victorian Sexualities.” A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture. Ed. Herbert F, Tucker. Malden, Mass: Blackwell, 1999:125-138. Print.|
Allott, Miriam. Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre and Villette. London: MacMillan, 1973. Print.
Altick, Richard D. Victorian People and Ideas. New York: Norton, 1973. Print.
Azim, Firdous. The Colonial Rise of the Novel. London: Routledge, 1993. Print.
Bennett, Kelsey L. “Exile and the Reconciling Power of the Natural Affections in Jane Eyre.” Bronte Studies 37.1 (2012): 19-29. Web. 20 Oct 2013.
Bernstein, Susan David. Confessional Subject: Revelations of Gender and Power in
Victorian Literature and Culture. Chapel Hill: North Carolina UP, 1997. Print.
Bossche, Chris R. Vanden. “Moving Out: Adolescence.” A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture. Ed. Herbert F, Tucker. Malden, Mass: Blackwell, 1999: 82-96. Print.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Oxford UP, 2008. Print.
Davidoff, Leonore., & Hall, Catherine. Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the
English Middle Class, 1780-1850. London: Hutchinson, 1987. Print.
Douglas, Mary., & Isherwood, Baron. The World of Goods. London: Routledge, 1979.
Drew, Lamonica. We Are Three Sisters: Self and Family in the Writing of the Brontes.
Columbia: Missouri UP, 2003. Print.
Eagleton, Terry. “Jane Eyre: A Marxist Study.” Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. New
York: Chelsea House, 1987. Print.
Garofalo, Daniela. Manly Leaders in Nineteenth-Century British Literature. Albany:
State of New York UP, 2008. Print.
Goffman, Erving. Interaction Ritual. New York: Pantheon, 1967. Print.
Hamlett, Jane. Material Relations: Domestic Interiors and Middle-Class Families in
England, 1850-1910. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2010. Print.
Heller, Tamar. “Jane Eyre, Bertha, and the Female Gothic.” Approaches to Teaching Bronte's Jane Eyre. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1993. Print.
Krueger, Christine L. “Clerical.” A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture. Ed. Herbert F, Tucker. Malden, Mass: Blackwell, 1999:141-154. Print.
Moglen, Helene. Charlotte Bronte: The Self Conceived. New York: Norton, 1978.
Pool, Daniel. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: from Fox Hunting
to Whist: the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England. New York:
Simon & Schuster, 1993. Print.
Phillips, James. “Marriage in Jane Eyre: From Contract to Conversation.” Bronte Studies 33.3 (November, 2008): 203-17. Web. 20 Oct 2013.
Rappoport, Jill. Giving Women: Alliance and Exchange in Victorian Culture. New
York: Oxford UP, 2012. Print.
Rich, Adrienne. “Jane Eyre: The Temptations of a Motherless Woman.” On Lies,
Secrets, and Silences: Selected Prose, 1966-1978. New York: Norton, 1995: 89-106. Print.
Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. NY: Norton, 1999. Print.
Robbins, Bruce. Upward Mobility and the Common Good: Toward a Literary History
of the Welfare State. Princeton, N.J: Princeton UP, 2007. Print.
Spivak, Gayatri. “Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism.” Critical
Inquiry 12.1 (Autumn 1985): 243-61. Print.
Stoneman, Pasty. “Rochester and Heathcliff as Romantic Heroes.” Bronte Studies 36.1 January, 2011): 111-18. Web. 2 Sep 2013.
Teachman, Debra. Understanding Jane Eyre. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press,
Ward, Ian. Law and the Brontes. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.