Themes in Jane Eyre 2

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  • Created by: Pascale
  • Created on: 11-05-13 09:58
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  • Themes in Jane Eyre
    • Gender
      • Role of men
        • 'Habitually obedient to John'
          • John Reed is the 'man of the house' at Gateshead - Jane submits to this mostly
        • "Say, 'What do you want, Master Reed?'"
        • "we must be married" - St. John
          • St. John 'decides' to take Jane as a wife
          • "Refuse to be my wife, and you limit yourself for ever to a track of selfish ease and barren obscurity." - St. John
            • The belief that without men, women were nothing
        • "I summon you as my wife" - Rochester
          • 'summon' - command, order, duty
          • Women's place to please men
      • Role of women
        • Feminist criticism
          • 'The heroine of the novel Jane Eyre has successfully demonstrated the image of a woman who is intelligent, independent, kind-hearted and most importantly, brave enough to say “no” to the social conventions and live up to her principle in life.'
        • A thinking woman was considered such a breach of nature that a Harvard doctor reported during his autopsy on a Radcliffe graduate he discovered that her uterus had shriveled to the size of a pea" (Gilbert 2032)
        • "It does good to no woman to be flattered by her superior"
          • Woman treated like children - in such a way that men can get the best out of them
        • 'As if loveliness were not the special prerogative of woman'
          • Expectations of women
            • '"No sight so sad as that of a naughty child," he began, "especially a naughty little girl."' - Brocklehurst
              • Men were given more allowances
        • '"No sight so sad as that of a naughty child," he began, "especially a naughty little girl."' - Brocklehurst
          • Men were given more allowances
        • "I should wish her to be brought up in a manner suiting her prospects...to be made useful, to be kept humble" - Mrs. Reed
          • It was expected of Jane to be subservient to men
          • 'humble' is contradictory to the word 'prospects'
        • Women depended upon men physically, financially and spiritually.
          • "A poor blind man, whom you will have to lead about by the hand?"  - Rochester "Yes, sir." - Jane
          • "I am independent, sir, as well as rich: I am my own mistress." - Jane "And will you stay with me?" - Rochester "Certainly" - Jane
          • Jane defies social convention and marries a man who is physically and financially dependent on her. Possibly even spiritually after her 'pilgrimage'
    • Love
      • St. John
        • "I scorn your idea of love" - Jane
          • Love for utility not feelings or romance
        • "undoubtedly enough of love would follow" - St. John
          • Puts his own aims ahead of Jane's feelings
        • 'He seemed to say..."I love you [Rosamond] ...but that heart i already laid on a sacred altar"'
          • St. John puts religion ahead of his feelings and true, even reciprocated love for Rosamond
          • Is his love for God greater than his romantic love for Rosamond? - Jesus is his wife in a sense
      • Rochester
        • '[Jane's] blanks of existence were filled up'
          • Rochester completes Jane
          • Essential in her life - without him she'd be incomplete
        • 'If I had loved him less I should have thought his accent and look of exultation savage'
          • Jane sees flaws in Rochester but loves him despite these things
          • Neither Rochester nor Jane are attractive
        • 'I saw nothing: but I heard a voice somewhere cry--- “Jane! Jane! Jane!.....And it was a voice of a human being--- a known, loved, well-known voice– that of Edward Fairfax Rochester; and it spoke in pain and woe wildly, eerily, urgently.'
          • After St. John's proposal
          • Spiritual connection to Rochester?
          • St. John
            • "I scorn your idea of love" - Jane
              • Love for utility not feelings or romance
            • "undoubtedly enough of love would follow" - St. John
              • Puts his own aims ahead of Jane's feelings
            • 'He seemed to say..."I love you [Rosamond] ...but that heart i already laid on a sacred altar"'
              • St. John puts religion ahead of his feelings and true, even reciprocated love for Rosamond
              • Is his love for God greater than his romantic love for Rosamond? - Jesus is his wife in a sense
          • 'True love'?
    • Elements
      • Fire
        • "You are cold, because no contact strikes the fire from you that is in you." - Gypsy aka Rochester
          • Rochester's desire for a passionate relationship with Jane
          • Sees that Jane is passionate in other respects
        • "Don't keep me long; the fire scorches me" - Jane
        • '"Come, Miss Jane, don't cry,"...She might as well have said to the fire "don't burn!"'
          • Jane feels it is impossible for her to suppress her emotions
      • Ice
        • 'bitter cold' (Lowood)
          • Bronte's critique of these institutions
          • The fiery and passionate Jane is suppressed at Lowood
        • 'This room was chill, because it seldom had a fire' (The red-room)
          • Jane's passion confined
          • Contrast to red
          • Where her uncle died - cold, still air, haunting, lifeless
        • 'ice of reserve' (describing St. John's nature)
          • St. John is dispassionate
          • 'ice' solid state - Jane doesn't see that with marrying him, love will follow. She believes that he will always be this way
          • 'reserve' perhaps St. John isn't really like this - ignores his feelings for Rosamond, keeps reserved
        • "I am cold" - St. John
          • "Whereas I am hot, and fire dissolves ice."
            • Nature wouldn't allow them to be together
        • 'He [Rochester] would sometimes pass me haughtily and coldly'
          • Rochester in denial for his passionate feelings for Jane
        • “death-white realms” - Bewick's History of British Birds
          • Represent Jane's physical and spiritual isolation at Gateshead
    • Rochester as Jane's master and pupil
      • 'I was then his vision'
        • Sight, vision, wisdom, perception
      • 'my master'
        • Serves Rochester and knows her place
        • Jane has this level of respect for Rochester despite their romantic relationship - still considers herself a governess
      • 'wild beast... dangerous'
        • Jane 'tames' Rochester
      • "I meant, however, to be a bigamist" - Rochester
        • Jane is Rochester's moral superior - will not marry him on the grounds that it is not morally sound
    • Bildungsroman
      • Jane Eyre is a typical Bildungsroman in the sense that it begins with her as a child and she works her way up in life
      • 'Bewick's History of British Birds'
        • Jane is fascinated with the idea of flight beyond an oppressive situation
      • "A man could rise through his own exertions he had control over his destiny" - Patricia Alden
        • Specifically named 'man' - Bronte defied this and allowed Jane social mobility
      • Novel is like a pilgrimage - The Pilgrims' Progress
        • Gateshead - Lowood - Helen Burns, Miss Temple, Mr Brocklehurst. Thornfield, Moor House - St. John, Diana and Mary, Thornfield
      • 'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day'
        • Obstructive movement and confinement from external conditions - possibility of future release 'that day'
      • Social mobility, self improvement, social improvement
      • Victorian ideas that one must be married - Bronte is reluctant to fulfill this
      • "Mobility was not really a choice when "standing still" amounted to slipping down into working class" - Patricia Alden
      • Bronte finally submits to the Victorian belief that a woman's place is in the house - anti bildungsroman? Aspirations - housewife
      • German - formation novel
    • Jane as a narrator
      • "Jane, I don't like cavillers or questioners"
        • Jane doesn't introduce herself to the reader - we find out her name by default
      • 'With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy'
        • Jane reads her book in silence - reader empathises with her as this is what the reader is doing
      • 'I suppose I had a species of fit: unconsciousness'
        • Jane unsure and unconscious-trustworthy narrator?
        • However, she did end the chapter here
      • "I found you full of strange contrasts. Your garb and manner were restricted by rule; your air was often diffident, and altogether that of one refined by nature..." - Rochester
        • Whilst Jane is mostly trustworthy, she is not her own psychoanalyst
        • Sometimes we need an outside perspective to understand what Jane isn't telling the reader but is influencing the novel
      • 'I stood in the position of one without a resource, without a friend, without a coin'
        • Jane describes herself as helpless and desolate
        • This humility and honesty makes Jane trustworthy to the reader

Comments

Dla2lag

A very detailed mind map that identifies the main themes; the ideas highlighted are relevant and useful and used alongside direct references to the text could be a very helpful revision tool. Use in conjunction with Themes in Jane Eyre 1.

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