Oppressed Females in Lit & Poetry

  • Created by: agredknap
  • Created on: 02-05-19 12:00

Compare the position of the oppressed female that you have studied in two texts.

Oppression amongst females was a common occurence during and before the 19th century due to the extensively used and highly supported patriarchal society that was present. The novel ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte highlights this view of the oppressed female through certain characters, notably Bertha Mason and Jane Eyre herself, whose lives are dictated by the people around with minimal freedom. Jane Eyre’s, could be comparable to ‘Melia in Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Ruined Maid’. Expected to live up to social expectations, ‘Melia struggles to fit in amongst society due to her difference in job and personality, an encounter Jane could empathise with.

Jane’s oppression begins at the opening of the novel while she is under the ‘care’ of her aunt, Mrs Reed, at Gateshead. Constant competition and belittling from her cousins leads Jane to find her peace in solitude, spending much time reading by the window. Even still, her peace is disturbed by her cousin John Reed only four years her elder. He begins Jane’s journey of oppression through the Bildungsroman stating to her that she has “no business to take [their] books” as she is “a dependant”. Jane tells the reader that she has many things to say about John Reed which “[she] never thought thus to have declared aloud”, indicating how oppression keeps people with passion who have important things to say in fearful silence. Her further comparisons to a “rebel slave” and being “less than a servant” indicate how being a female child of a lower class based in an upper class 19th century home proves to be utterly degarding and oppressive, despite  the


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