Notes on the articles

Some key and interesting points I gathered from the articles given to me..

The Great Romantics
The heroine of Jane Eyre does what few fictional characters had to do before, she talks seriously about love from a woman’s point of view. It was her comparative frankness which caused some Victorian critics to describe the book as ‘coarse’.
At the time in which Jane Eyre was written it was unusual to tell a story through the eyes of a young woman, this was Bronte’s personal stamp.
Charlotte Bronte’s main aim was to paint a convincing portrait of an intelligent, moral yet passionate woman in love. In order for love to be portrayed from the woman’s standpoint, Bronte also needed to create a realistic and desirable male for Jane to fall for.
Jane Eyre has no social advantages but, determined to make her own way, it is her strength and goodness that make her triumph.
The first meeting of Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester establishes the story’s major elements. Jane observes that he is not a ‘handsome, heroic looking young gentleman’. So, although we suspect they will fall in love, we know that from this first encounter their romance will be an unusual one.
Suspense is created when Jane returns to Rochester as she poses as a servant rather than revealing her identity straight away.

Born Storyteller
Charlotte Bronte’s mother died soon after the family moved to Haworth when Charlotte was four, from this point onwards the Bronte’s were dogged by tragedy.
In 1825 Charlottes sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, whilst they all attended Cowan Bridge School, caught tuberculosis and died.
Charlotte later immortalised Cowan Bridge as Lowood in Jane Eyre.

The Maid and the Master
Jane Eyre
Jane is the classic underdog and outsider with whom everyone can sympathise.
She triumphs against a world that has done her few favours in thanks largely to her three main characteristics – a courageous independence, a capacity for love and an ability to forgive.
Jane displays no fear in standing up to her master, Mr Rochester, despite his often overbearing manner and greater age.
Jane has experienced how society treats disadvantaged people and this has given her a passion for equality.
Edward Rochester
Charlotte Bronte makes him an irresistible mixture – he is partly the Byronic hero found in popular romantic novels of the time and partly a more complex, realistic figure.
Once Jane has broken down his imperiousness, Rochester reveals a compassionate, vulnerable nature.
There is something noble about him, and unusual for this era, in the fact that he isn’t afraid to show his gentler side.


Femenism in Jane Eyre

Interesting write up about the femenism in Jane Eyre from黄晓莹/Feminism_in_Jane_Eyre.doc

Feminism in Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë’ masterpiece Jane Eyre symbolized a new era in the history of literature. It awakened women’s awareness to be independent. It brought about a completely new concept of marriage and of the value of life to a woman. That is marriage should base on true love, equality and respect rather than social ranks, materials or appearance. Marriage should be the combination of souls as well as bodies. 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. The author Charlotte Brontë is acclaimed to be a pioneer in the campaign of feminism. This essay is to explore and appreciate the spirits of feminism reflected in this novel and also reveal the limitations in demonstrating the concept of feminism.
In the 19th century, women were considered to be appendages to men. Marriage and family life were the whole world to women. Women depended upon men physically, financially and spiritually. This essay is to explore and appreciate the spirits of feminism reflected in this novel Jane Eyre, whose author took the lead in the campaign of feminism. There are three parts in the process of demonstration. The first part is about the oppression laid by the four main men characters on Jane. The second part is about three main women characters and their images in this novel. The last part is to point out some limitations of the author when illustrating feminism.
1. Men’s oppression upon women
The novel was written in the early 19th century when men played a dominant role in society. Women were considered to be inferior to men. All that women were supposed to do was follow the instructions of men and be the subsidiary addition to men’s life. Four men in Jane’s life had laid oppression on her in different degrees. Jane survives the oppression and led herself constantly to her own desirable life.
The oppression from John Reed
The first male character to oppress Jane was her cousin John Reed, who in part made little Jane live in shadow and fears when she was only a young girl. The boy hit Jane whenever he felt like only because Jane was an orphan. Poor little Jane could do nothing but bear the hurts both physically and spiritually. At last, Jane’s feelings of hatred and indignity went out of control. For the first time, Jane stood up and fought back when John hit her again. Her cry of “ Wicked boy” at John declares her determination to fight against this unfair world. This quarrel and fight led to her life in Lowood in which she felt much happier.
The oppression from Mr. Brocklehurst
Mr. Brocklehurst represents those who had firm belief in women-inferiority theory. He demanded the girls in Lowood to wear ugly or even broken clothes, eat far-from-enough harsh food and led a hard life. In his opinion, girls should lead a simple life in order to cultivate the virtue of subordination and dependence. He once insulted Jane in front of Jane’s teachers and classmates. He claimed Jane to be a wicked girl only because Mrs. Reed, Jane’s Aunt, told him so. Though depressed and heart-broken, Jane finally showed with her own deeds to her teachers and classmates that she was not a wicked girl as Mr. Brocklehurst claimed.
The oppression from Edward Rochester
Even Edward Rochester, Jane’s lover, wanted to lay some oppression or control upon Jane. Before their marriage, he wanted to use the necklace to circle up the thoughts and feelings of Jane. He wanted the ring to restrict Jane’s actions. Further, he wanted the beautiful wedding dress to change Jane’s appearance a little bit. Though at first, out of the love for Mr. Rochester, Jane intended to give in, but in the end she refused all of them. She just wanted to act what Jane was like and preserve her own unique characteristics.
The oppression from St. John
St. John hold absolute faith in the social convention that a woman’s value was realized only when she devoted her life to a man. He took it for granted that it was the privilege and honor of Jane to go to India with him and help his work as his wife. He thought Jane would agree with him at last because it was what a good woman should be like. Jane firmly declined this idea because she wanted a marriage based on true love and mutual understandings.
2. The image of women characters
The heroine of the novel Jane Eyre has undoubtedly succeeded in building up the image of a woman who has the courage to fight against the unfair reality and pursue the equality in life. She calls for women to struggle for and be the mastery of their own lives. During the whole story, Jane serves as a positive character. By the development of Jane’s thoughts and feelings, the author conveys the spirits of feminism.
Miss Blanch Ingram serves as a contract character against Jane. She represents the typical girls from noble families in that time. All she wanted was to find a rich man to depend on and get married with him. In her opinion, a woman’s duty was to make her appearance attractive and beautiful in order to win the heart of a rich man. Marriage should base on social ranks and money only and husbands and children are the whole world for a woman. Her rude behaviors and contempt upon “ordinary” people have fully illustrated her lack of cultivation and education. The image of Miss Blanch Ingram also symbolized the women victims of the social conventions. They lost their soul or even lost control of their bodies and they didn’t have the slightest idea of the value of a woman’s life. they lived and were quite willing to live as the belongs of men.
The mad women living on the 3rd floor arouses readers’ suspicion and speed up the development of the plot. In addition, she helped to turn on a new page of Jane’s life (Rosemarie Putnam Tong, 1998). Because of the terrible set by the mad woman, the Thornfield was reduced to ashes and Mr. Rochester became blind and lost one arm. Everything in the past had become history and a new chapter in Jane’s life had opened. In Ferndean Manor, a quiet and peaceful place, Jane and her beloved Mr. Rochester began to lead a new life in which Jane was no longer inferior to him and Jane’s stature has changed because she was rich thanks to the heritage from her dead uncle.
3. The limitations in demonstrating Feminism
It’s beyond any doubt that Charlotte Brontë has brought about the idea of feminism in this novel but she failed to demonstrate the concept perfectly. The spirits of feminism are supposed to advocate equality between men and women (Rosemarie Putnam Tong, 1998). The reason why the author failed is she demonstrated the concept of “equality” partially.
In the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane was a relatively stronger character. At the first time they met, Jane helped the injured Mr. Rochester and at the end of the novel, Jane helped Mr. Rochester to deal with his daily life because of his blindness and disability. Furthermore, Jane was rich while Mr. Rochester turned poor, old and ugly. The author seems to arrange their marriage in this kind of condition on purpose. In Jane’s preparation for her marriage when she was still a governess in Thornfield, she refused all the jewelry or beautiful dresses Mr. Rochester had prepared for her. She didn’t want to be changed into another woman. Her refusal of the offer is due to her strong sense of inferiority. She was poor and her social status was low at that time. The author didn’t’ arrange Jane’s marriage in the condition. Instead, Jane got married with Mr. Rochester when she was rich and Mr. Rochester was poor due to the big fire. Only in this circumstance, Jane was willing enough to marry Mr. Rochester because “I love you better now, when I can really be useful to you, than I did in your state of proud independence, when you disdained every part but that of the giver and protector” (Charlotte Brontë, 1975:451). Jane’s marriage was in fact based on a kind of incompleteness and inequality at least in terms of the couple’s physical conditions and social status. Charlotte subtly conveys the idea that feminism can be realized only in an incomplete marriage. The readers would be a little distressed when intelligent, kind-hearted and independent Jane gained her happiness in this way. The concept of feminism the author conveys to some extent goes to extremes.
The novel Jane Eyre successfully constituted an intelligent, kind-hearted and independent woman image. It arouses people’s awareness of feminism. The four men characters’ oppression upon the heroine Jane reveals the low social status of women in that period of time. The three women images in the novel represent different thoughts or ideas among women in that age. The novel serves as a pioneer in the cause of women’s liberation though it fails to convey the concept of “ feminism” to the fullest extent due to its failure to balance the equality between men and women.

Jane Eyre: Mr Rochester Vs St. John

A few notes I’ve gathered both of my own and online.

St. John has all of the values that Mr Rochester lacks whilst lacking all of the emotion and romance that Mr Rochester has.
The differences between Mr Rochester and St John force Jane to choose between marrying against social norms and risking everything for love with Mr Rochester or following her ‘lot in life’ and becoming a wife in an unloving marriage to St John.
Rochester offers to Jane a love without marriage and St John a marriage without love.
Jane rejects Rochester’s illicit passion and his attempt to commit bigamy and/or make her his mistress, but she’s even more appalled by St. John’s desire to make her his legal wife and sexual partner without love or passion. St. John may be more correct in the eyes of the law and the Lord, but the demands he makes of Jane are much more disgusting than Rochester’s.
St. John and Rochester are really almost the same person, in a way, or the same kind of man. They are both severe and cold and rigid in their own ways; they both want and expect obedience and compliance.

Jane Eyre questions

My answers to some of the questions given to us on Jane Eyre

Chapter XIX
4) Fire is a reoccurring symbol in this novel, helping to give unity to the different sections. How does Bronte use fire symbolically in this scene?
In this scene I think that the fire is symbolic of Jane’s passion for Rochester and his for her. It is the part in the novel where true feelings are uncovered and we truly begin to understand the relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester.
6) What is Mr Rochester’s purpose in disguising himself as a gypsy?
Mr Rochester did this as a way of finding out Janes real thoughts and feelings towards him as Jane would never admit them to home otherwise. He didn’t think that Jane would actually realise who he was, but she did.
7) What does Bronte achieve by disguising Mr Rochester as a Gypsy?
During his party Mr Rochester disguises himself as a gypsy to tell the futures of the women there. Nobody is aware of the true identity of the gypsy, except for Jane as she notices the gypsy is wearing Mr Rochester’s ring. This moment also allows Mr Rochester to express his true feelings for Jane to both the reader and Jane herself. This also shows how much Jane really does know and admire Mr Rochester as she notices the smaller details about home.

Chapter XXIII
5) Why did Jane ‘not like to walk at this hour alone with Mr Rochester in the shadowy orchard’?
As the governess Jane knows that she is expected to remain in the background and not act as if she is her employers equal, however Jane clearly wishes to stay and spend time with Mr Rochester and this is why she cannot make up a reason to leave. She is a character conscious of what others will think of her spending time at night with Mr Rochester.

Jane Eyre Summary – Chapters 5 to 10

Summaries of chapters 1 to 4 are in my previous post..

Chapter 5
Four days after meeting Mr. Brocklehurst, Jane boards the 6 A.M. coach and travels alone to Lowood. When she arrives at the school, the day is dark and rainy, and she is led through a grim building that will be her new home. The following day, Jane is introduced to her classmates and learns the daily routine, which keeps the girls occupied from before dawn until dinner. Miss Temple, the superintendent of the school, is very kind, while one of Jane’s teachers, Miss Scatcherd, is unpleasant, particularly in her harsh treatment of a young student named Helen Burns. Jane and Helen befriend one another, and Jane learns from Helen that Lowood is a charity school maintained for female orphans, which means that the Reeds have paid nothing to put her there. She also learns that Mr. Brocklehurst oversees every aspect of its operation: even Miss Temple must answer to him.

Chapter 6
On Jane’s second morning at Lowood, the girls are unable to wash, as the water in their pitchers is frozen. Jane quickly learns that life at the school is harsh. The girls are underfed, overworked, and forced to sit still during seemingly endless sermons. Still, she takes comfort in her new friendship with Helen, who impresses Jane with her expansive knowledge and her ability to patiently endure even the cruelest treatment from Miss Scatcherd. Helen tells Jane that she practices a doctrine of Christian endurance, which means loving her enemies and accepting her privation. Jane disagrees strongly with such meek tolerance of injustice, but Helen takes no heed of Jane’s arguments. Helen is self-critical only because she sometimes fails to live up to her ascetic standards: she believes that she is a poor student and chastises herself for daydreaming about her home and family when she should be concentrating on her studies.

Chapter 7
For most of Jane’s first month at Lowood, Mr. Brocklehurst spends his time away from the school. When he returns, Jane becomes quite nervous because she remembers his promise to her aunt, Mrs. Reed, to warn the school about Jane’s supposed habit of lying. When Jane inadvertently drops her slate in Mr. Brocklehurst’s presence, he is furious and tells her she is careless. He orders Jane to stand on a stool while he tells the school that she is a liar, and he forbids the other students to speak to her for the rest of the day. Helen makes Jane’s day of humiliation endurable by providing her friend with silent consolation—she covertly smiles at Jane every time she passes by.

Chapter 8
Finally, at five o’clock, the students disperse, and Jane collapses to the floor. Deeply ashamed, she is certain that her reputation at Lowood has been ruined, but Helen assures her that most of the girls felt more pity for Jane than revulsion at her alleged deceitfulness. Jane tells Miss Temple that she is not a liar, and relates the story of her tormented childhood at Gateshead. Miss Temple seems to believe Jane and writes to Mr. Lloyd requesting confirmation of Jane’s account of events. Miss Temple offers Jane and Helen tea and seed cake, endearing herself even further to Jane. When Mr. Lloyd’s letter arrives and corroborates Jane’s story, Miss Temple publicly declares Jane to be innocent. Relieved and contented, Jane devotes herself to her studies. She excels at drawing and makes progress in French.

Chapter 9
In the spring, life at Lowood briefly seems happier, but the damp forest dell in which the school resides is a breeding-ground for typhus, and in the warm temperatures more than half the girls fall ill with the disease. Jane remains healthy and spends her time playing outdoors with a new friend, Mary Ann Wilson. Helen is sick, but not with typhus—Jane learns the horrific news that her friend is dying of consumption. One evening, Jane sneaks into Miss Temple’s room to see Helen one last time. Helen promises Jane that she feels little pain and is happy to be leaving the world’s suffering behind. Jane takes Helen into her arms, and the girls fall asleep. During the night, Helen dies. Her grave is originally unmarked, but fifteen years after her death, a gray marble tablet is placed over the spot (presumably by Jane), bearing the single word Resurgam, Latin for “I shall rise again.”

Chapter 10
After Mr. Brocklehurst’s negligent treatment of the girls at Lowood is found to be one of the causes of the typhus epidemic, a new group of overseers is brought in to run the school. Conditions improve dramatically for the young girls, and Jane excels in her studies for the next six years. After spending two more years at Lowood as a teacher, Jane decides she is ready for a change, partly because Miss Temple gets married and leaves the school. She advertises in search of a post as a governess and accepts a position at a manor called Thornfield.
Before leaving, Jane receives a visit from Bessie, who tells her what has happened at Gateshead since Jane departed for Lowood. Georgiana attempted to run away in secret with a man named Lord Edwin Vere, but Eliza foiled the plan by revealing it to Mrs. Reed. John has fallen into a life of debauchery and dissolution. Bessie also tells Jane that her father’s brother, John Eyre, appeared at Gateshead seven years ago, looking for Jane. He did not have the time to travel to Lowood and went away to Madeira (a Portuguese island west of Morocco) in search of wealth. Jane and Bessie part ways, Bessie returning to Gateshead, and Jane leaving for her new life at Thornfield.

A Thousand Splendid Suns: Character Analysis

Mariam, one of two female protagonists, is a quiet, thoughtful child at the start of the book. Born out of wedlock to a rich and married businessman (Jalil) and his former housekeeper (Nana), Mariam resents her mother’s strict ways and the fact that she only sees her father once a week. Mariam’s shame at being illegitimate makes her unable to stand up for herself. When her mother commits suicide after Mariam runs away at age 15, Mariam is plagued by guilt that controls her for much of her life, which contributes to her tolerance at being married to the abusive Rasheed. During her long marriage to Rasheed, Mariam’s inability to have children turns her into a resentful, bitter, and fearful woman. This helps her understand her own mother better, and Mariam’s life changes with the arrival of Laila, Rasheed’s second wife. Through her love for Laila and Laila’s children, Mariam is able to fulfill her wish to be a mother and to finally give and receive love.

Laila, the second female protagonist, is the youngest child and only daughter of Hakim and Fariba. The absence of both of Laila’s older brothers, who have gone to war, makes her mature for her age and fills her with a sense of purpose. Laila has a strong desire to use her intelligence and education to improve the world around her. At age 15, Laila falls in love with her best friend since childhood, Tariq, but war forces Tariq and his parents to flee to Pakistan. Days later, a rocket kills Laila’s parents and wounds her, and Rasheed and Mariam nurse her back to health. Laila’s idealism and independence are challenged when she decides to marry Rasheed in order to give her unborn child by Tariq a father. Upon becoming a mother, Laila puts her children first and finds she is willing to accept limitations she once would have openly mocked. Through her growing relationship with Mariam, Laila not only takes comfort in having a friend and mother figure, but also begins to understand the sacrifices that are necessary to be a good mother by following Mariam’s example.

Rasheed is a widowed shoemaker whose first wife and son died many years before his marriage to 15-year-old Mariam. Conservative and willful, Rasheed quickly instructs Mariam on what he believes an ideal wife should be: subservient, obedient, and fertile. When Mariam proves to be unable to have children, Rasheed loses patience with her and abuses her both physically and verbally. Endlessly motivated by the desire to replace his dead son, Rasheed entraps Laila, another young girl with limited options, into marriage. Only when Laila provides him with a son do Rasheed’s redeeming qualities emerge: With Zalmai, Rasheed is patient, loving, kind, and gentle. However, Rasheed’s affection for Zalmai does not extend to Laila’s daughter, Aziza, or to his two wives. Rasheed’s cruel, manipulative ways eventually result in Mariam killing him in self-defense.

Tariq is a boy growing up near Laila in Kabul. He loses his leg to a landmine when he’s very young and, through the support of his kind parents, never lets this disability slow him down. He and Laila are best friends as children and become lovers as teenagers. After being forced to flee to Pakistan with his parents, Tariq lands in prison for smuggling hashish. Despite the many trials he faces, he returns to Laila, proving himself loyal and loving in a way her husband, Rasheed, is not. Upon their reunion, he learns of his daughter Aziza, and after marrying Laila and moving her to Pakistan, Tariq takes care of Zalmai as if he was his own son. Like Laila, he shares her desire for justice and supports her decision to return to Kabul to help rebuild the city.

Jane Eyre

To infinity and beyond

What do the reaction of the servants to Janes outburst and their advice to her tell us about the way in which Janes conditions expected to behave? What are the conditions she must she fulfil before she can be released?

The servants, Bessie and Abbot, speak to Jane after her outburst as if she was a servant herself rather than a member of the Reed family. Although, Bessie respects Jane, this is seen as she calls Jane “miss” whereas Abbot is far stricter to her but it is actually Bessie that threatens to tie her down with Abbots garters, this could be her protecting Jane by trying to stop her lashing out again. After Bessie threatens Jane, she calms down and sits still with Abbot and Bessie telling her off. Abbot goes for the more aggressive and angry telling off whereas Bessie repeats what Abbot says in a friendlier, more…

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