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Jane Eyre By: Charlotte Bronte

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Ayesha Munir

on 1 December 2014

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Transcript of Jane Eyre By: Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre
By: Charlotte Bronte
A Project by:
Bethany Colbert, Eric Camino, Ayesha Munir, Pranav Nair

Jane Eyre was written in the Victorian period. Characteristics of the Victorian Era consisted of social importance, plain style, and the narration/description of an individual's inner thoughts. Victorian novels also portray the perspectives of characters who illustrate the disparity between the economic and social classes, and genders. This novel by Charlotte Bronte portrays of all of these characteristics.
Literary Period
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love you,' I said, 'more than ever: but now I must not show or indulge the feeling; and this is the last time I must express it." (327)
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AP Prompt
Thesis Statement
2005. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899), protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess “That outward existence which conforms, the inward life that questions.” In a novel or play that you have studied, identify a character who outwardly conforms while questioning inwardly. Then write an essay in which you analyze how this tension between outward conformity and inward questioning contributes to the meaning of the work. Avoid mere plot summary.
In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, the protagonist Jane illuminates the fundamental disparity between truth and appearance through her inner struggle to comprehend the complex relationship between what she sees and what is real by studying and consequently questioning differences between her inner thoughts and her speech, conformity to society's ideals of beauty in conjunction with personality, and her desire to please her social betters despite her inward rebellion.
By examining the distinction between what she thinks and what she says in order to maintain social propriety, Jane explores the difference between what people think and what they choose to say.
"No; I know I should think well of myself; but that is not enough; if others don't love me, I would rather die than live - I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain real affection from you, or Miss Temple, or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and let it dash its hoof at my chest - " (70)
"'he is not of their kind. I believe he is of mine... though rank and wealth sever us widely... I know I must conceal my sentiments... I must remember that he cannot care much for me.'" (186)
"I rose; I dressed myself with care: obliged to be plain- for I had no article of attire that was not made with extreme simplicity-- I was still by nature to be neat. It was not my habit to be disregardful of appearance, or careless of the impression I made; on the contrary, I ever wished to look as well as I could, and to please as much as my want of beauty would permit." (102)
As she modifies her outer appearance to comply with what is socially acceptable, Jane delves into the constructs of how she differs from her apparel and features and how others' appearance can be similarly misleading.
"A new servitude! There is something in that," I soliloquized (mentally, be it understood; I did not talk aloud). "I know there is, because it does not sound too sweet; it is not like such words as Liberty, Excitement, Enjoyment: delightful sounds truly; but no more than sounds for me; and so hollow and fleeting that it is mere waste of time to listen to them. But Servitude! That must be matter of fact. Any one may serve: I have served here eight years; now all I want is to serve elsewhere." (88)
By attempting to appeal to her social betters despite her inner belief that she is, in intellect and manner, their better, Jane highlights the popular theme of social class during the Victorian era and emphasizes the belief that class had an effect on a person's value.
"However, when I had brushed my hair very smooth, and put on my black frock - which, Quaker-like as it was, at least had the merit of fitting to a nicety - and adjusted my clean white tucker, I thought I should do respectably enough to appear before Mrs. Fairfax; and that my new pupil would not at least recoil from me with antipathy." (102-103)
Undeniable ties between Eyre's inner contradictions and the Victorian world around her are demonstrated through the descrepancies between her thoughts and speech, her attempts to alter her appearance for conformity's sake and to please members of a higher class despite her self-image as their equal or better. Throughout
Jane Eyre
, the stark and persistent contrast between the titular character's innately questioning and defiant self and her outwardly conforming and submissive cover elucidates the evident distinction between appearance and reality.
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