Date of Award
Master of Arts
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is upheld by feminist critics as a revolutionary tract that expresses strong sympathy for the powerless and condemns the brutality of colonialism, the harmfulness of upper-class exploitation, and the suppression of women within the Victorian patriarchal home. It is viewed as Bronte's attempt to liberate women from the Victorian patriarchal bourgeois ideology that enslaved and repressed their basic flesh and blood character, silencing them into asexual, passive, and domestic "Angels in the House." The assertion of women's right to work, intellectual freedom, and economic independence through the ethics of education, hard work, and autonomy and an eschewal of high-class idleness are said to lie at the heart of this inspiring tale.;And finally, Jane's behavior is viewed as a classic instance of the revolted slave bursting her bonds of oppression and taking the dangerous position of celebrating individual freedom from the point of view of women, the working class, and slaves. However, if these were Bronte's original intentions, they get subverted through the course of the narrative, and Jane's movement from feminine anger to feminine acceptance of the masculine order, from low-class sympathy to low-class repudiation, and from black to white seems conclusive. Thus, despite feminist assertions, Jane Eyre concludes with the reaffirmation of white, upper-class, Christian male ideology within the Victorian British home, society, and Empire making it vulnerable to criticisms of racism, classism, and sexism.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Parashar, Sangeeta, ""Not fit to associate with me": contradictions of race, class, and gender in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre" (1999). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 16147.