Jane Eyre Context

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  • Jane Eyre Context
    • Bildugsroman
      • Follows emotional, spiritual and moral development of Jane from aged 10+
      • Five stages of Jane's life - Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Moor House & Ferndean
    • Byronic Hero
      • "Byronic Hero" concept is based on Lord Byron who was infamous for his sexual intensity, passionate nature, anti-social behaviour and dark but enticing personality
        • Rochester shares a number of these traits - he is unafraid to front social conventions, as displayed by his relationship with Jane. he is also dark and mysterious, but not sexually motivated
    • Rebellious Child
      • Jane is the opposite of conventional Victorian children
      • Victorians produced moralistic "instruction books" aimed at children, where rebellious children were punished
      • Children expected to be submissive and obedient e.g. Helen Burns
      • Children were also sentimentalized in art and literature - Rosy cheeked cherubs etc.
    • Sophisticated Gothic
      • 18th - 19th Century saw Gothic Literature become immensely popular in England
      • Talk of ghosts, ambiguous upper story at Thornfield
        • However, There is always a rational explanation so these traits are only borrowed instead of being thoroughly implemented
          • 18th - 19th Century saw Gothic Literature become immensely popular in England
    • Religion
      • Mr Brocklehurst  is used to attack evangelical religion
      • Jane herself is unsure of God but still appears to believe somewhat
      • Helen encapsulates devout faith - Bronte uses Jane to question this
        • Helen is a devout Christian who exercises her faith relentlessly - contrasts with Brocklehurst
          • Helen is based on Bronte's lifelong friend, Ellen Nussey
            • Helen makes Jane question her own characteristics and attitudes, allowing  her to see herself more clearly - her views on religion, rebelliousness etc.
    • Victorian Schooling
      • Lowood is partially based on Bronte's time at Cowan Bridge
      • Lowood suggests schooling is regimented and austre - Garden as a metaphor
      • Patriarchal society means the best of education is only accessible to the wealthy males such as John Reed
      • Jane's Schooling is imperfect but equips her regardless of the fact that Brocklehurst limits the funding for Lowood
      • Lowood before being taken over by other governers does not aim to produce well-educated individuals - the orphans there have little leeway to socially mobilise as they are only worthy of being governesses
        • Governess
          • Soliatary position in which they are not servants yet not treated as family
            • Bronte herself worked as one and disliked it, leaving the Sidgewick family in 1839 after three months of working there, and later joined the white family in 1841 but left after 9 months
              • Lowood before being taken over by other governers does not aim to produce well-educated individuals - the orphans there have little leeway to socially mobilise as they are only worthy of being governesses
                • Governess
                  • Soliatary position in which they are not servants yet not treated as family
                    • Bronte herself worked as one and disliked it, leaving the Sidgewick family in 1839 after three months of working there, and later joined the white family in 1841 but left after 9 months
      • Romanticism
        • Bronte's passionate engagement with nature + the physical world
        • Humans are innately good but are corrupted and distorted by society - Bronte believed this, much alike other English romantic poets.
        • Rochester himself believes this has happened to him - his experiences have impaired his personality and behaviour
      • Patriarchal Society
        • Patriarchal society in which women's opportunities are limited
          • Jane protests against this, explaining that "women feel just as men do"
          • Education was patriarchal also - John Reed has the best opportunity to succeed yet squanders it

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