st novel? What pointsdoes the novel make about the treatment and position of women in Victorian
society? With particular attention to the book’s treatment of marriage, is
there any way in which it might be considered anti-feminist?
Jane Eyre is a Feminist Novel
In the novel Jane Eyre, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the
tone of Jane Eyre is in fact a feminist novel. With strength and integrity,
Jane is able to break free from the role that the rest of the society has
put her in. But is it likely that such event ever took place? Could this
really be accepted in a Victorian society?
The power and integrity that Jane manages to obtain throughout the novel,
was very unusual at this time period. Women’s were to clean, cook, take
care of the kids, and satisfy her husband in various ways. A woman like
Jane was to be put back in her place; were she belonged. The book reflects
the unfairness in the Victorian society, but also how the women always have
been discriminated throughout history, and even today.
When it comes to marriage, Jane is absolutely clear; she is unwilling to
accept love without marriage, and the other way around. They can’t be
separated. This was quite rare at a time, were arranged marriages were the
most common thing, and were love was not the main part of it. Money and
honour were more important than love.
Another remark that can be made about marriage is that when Jane finally
marries Rochester, she announces it with pride as “I married him”, and not
“he married me”. This is another example of her own independence.
It is hard to say that this book is anti-feminist, unless you believe that
the author is being sarcastic. Jane is full of life, and no one can change
the fact that she has her own will. Instead, you might consider this book
to be propaganda for a women upraise against a society that is ruled by
men, created by men, and is based upon male ideas. Jane is just the symbol
for the will that every human has inside, whether you are a male or female.
But the most significant part of Jane’s feminism is her deep seeded belief
that she and
Rochester is, and will always be equal. A good example of that is when Jane
says (pg. 437);
“Just as if their souls had passed through the grave and they stood at
God’s feet, equal-as they
are!”. And not only does Jane stand up to Rochester, but she leaves him.
That in itself is quite a feministic action.
This brings us to the next point that Jane was unwilling to accept
Rochester as her equal until they were levelled economically. Once she has
obtained her inheritance and is able to provide for herself, she returns to
Rochester for the purpose of loving him. Jane no longer has uneasy
sentiments of being a “doll” in Rochester’s eyes. This shows that Jane had
a complex of not knowing whether or not Rochester sees her as an equal, and
that she now has got money of her own. Then she won’t be dependent on him,
and she can feel not only an economic freedom, but also knowing that she
can stand on her own feet.
However, her ability to overcome all of the hardships shows her strength
and integrity, powers that many women did not posses under this period, and
her financial independence being particularly unique. Life gave Jane many
mountains to climb, but as a result of her determination, she gained
strength, peace of mind, and a priceless sense of self worth. Bronte gives
us Jane Eyre to serve as an example for women in the future and the need
for sexual equality. The novel is frequently cited as the earliest major
feminist novel, although there is not a hint in the book of any desire for
political, legal, educational, or even intellectual equality between the
On the other hand, the book might have been interpreted as just a silly
dream world, written by some women in the 17th century. This might have
been the case 100 years ago, but today it is reality; at least in some
parts of the world. Women are dominating on all attractive schools and
universities in the western world. Girls at a young age are much more
mature and sophisticated than their fellow boys, and this phenomenon can
now be found mostly in ages between 10 and 30, which means that the next
generation will be dominated by women having good jobs and education This
development is dangerous in the long run, because then the history will
repeat itself, but now the women will be the dominating sex.