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Jane Eyre : feminism

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Marta Abuelo

on 27 May 2011

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Transcript of Jane Eyre : feminism

Gilbert and Gubar, Adrienne Rich, Elaine Showalter, and Karen Rowe have read Jane Eyre as a feminist text.

If so, what aspects of the novel can be considered feminist in the context of Victorianism? ” Feminism is therefore a critique of patriarchy, on the one hand, and an ideology committed to women's emancipation on the other”(Oxford Dictionary of Politics)
“Social movement that seeks equal rights for women.” (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia)
“Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes”(American Heritage Dictionary) what is feminism? Aspects of the novel that are considered feminist in the context of Victorianism Patriarchy: A society dominated by men trying to assert their superiority.
In Jane Eyre this is clear. Male characters totally dominate women. Marriage Marriage was necessary for women in order to achieve economic stability. This implied women's submission and hence this lead to their loss of identity and choices. Role of women 19th century female character: silent, sensitive and full of inner feelings. Represented outside social relations.

good mothers and good wives.
excluded from society.
women were dependent on men. Economy: No economical independence

“Jane Eyre repeatedly shifts positions within class discourse […] in response to economic dependence, social exclusion, personal isolation..” (Vanden Bossche, Chris, 47) The characters in the novel Female characters Male characters Orphan
Struggles against oppression
Governess at Thornfield
Marriage (love but submission) Jane Eyre Bertha Mason economic independence
containment in the attic
("The Madwoman in the Attic", Gilbert&Gubar) Edward Rochester Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë Conclusion *It is a feminist text, BUT!
She ends up marrying Mr.Rochester and hence she surrenders to the Victorian role of women.

“does not escape from masculine structures of power; it struggles instead to reverse and redefine them”(J.Bellis, p. 640) Marta Abuelo
Mireia López
Laia Navarro Represents the stereotype of Victorian women. Wants to marry for economic reasons. Blanche Ingram: Mary and Diana Rivers: As examples of "independent" women for Jane Mr. Brocklehurst Male dominance Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Wordsworth Editions: London. 1992.
Bellis, Peter J. In the Window-Seat: Vision and Power in Jane Eyre. ELH, Vol. 54, No. 3 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 639-652
David, Deirdre. Ideologies of Patriarchy, Feminism, and Fiction in "The Odd Women“. Feminist Studies, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring, 1984), pp. 117-139
Gilbert, Sandra M. Plain Jane's Progress. Signs, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Summer, 1977), pp. 779-804
Gilbert, Sandra M and Gubar, Susan. Sexchanges. College English, Vol. 50, No. 7 (Nov., 1988), pp. 768-785.
Gilbert, Sandra M and Gubar, Susan. Sexual Linguistics: Gender, Language, Sexuality. New Literary History, Vol. 16, No. 3, On Writing Histories of Literature (Spring,1985), pp. 515-543
Godfrey, Esther. "Jane Eyre", from Governess to Girl Bride. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 45, No. 4, The Nineteenth Century (Autumn, 2005), pp. 853-871
Kaplan, Carla. Girl Talk: "Jane Eyre" and the Romance of Women's Narration. NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Autumn, 1996), pp. 5-31
London, Bette. The Pleasures of Submission: Jane Eyre and the Production of the Text. ELH, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 195-213
Showalter, Elaine. Women's Time, Women's Space: Writing the History of Feminist Criticism. Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Vol. 3, No. 1/2, Feminist Issues in Literary Scholarship (Spring - Autumn, 1984), pp. 29-43
Showalter, Elaine. Twenty Years on: "A Literature of Their Own" Revisited. NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Vol. 31, No. 3, Thirtieth Anniversary Issue: III (Summer, 1998), pp. 399-413
Vanden Bossche, Chris. What Did Jane Eyre Do? Ideology, Agency, Class and the Novel. Narrative, Volume 13, Number 1, January 2005, pp. 46-66 (Article)
Zonana, Joyce. The Sultan and the Slave: Feminist Orientalism and the Structure of "Jane Eyre“. Signs, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Spring, 1993), pp. 592-617 Bibliography Physical and psychological aggression
"My dear children," pursued the black marble clergyman, with pathos,
"this is a sad, a melancholy occasion; for it becomes my duty to
warn you, that this girl, who might be one of God's own lambs, is a
little castaway: not a member of the true flock, but evidently an
interloper and an alien. You must be on your guard against her; you
must shun her example; if necessary, avoid her company, exclude her
from your sports, and shut her out from your converse. Teachers,
you must watch her: keep your eyes on her movements, weigh well her
words, scrutinise her actions, punish her body to save her soul:
if, indeed, such salvation be possible, for (my tongue falters while
I tell it) this girl, this child, the native of a Christian land,
worse than many a little heathen who says its prayers to Brahma and
kneels before Juggernaut--this girl is--a liar!"
(chapter 7) John Reed "You have no business to take our books; you are a dependant, mamma says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentlemen's children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mamma's expence" (Jane Eyre, 16) Thank you for listening
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