Education In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

1582 Words 7 Pages
The Victorian era promoted education for women, but only to a certain extent, to standards set by upper class males. A woman should have individuality, wit, and be able to think critically (Caitlin L,). The idea of a clever woman was appreciated in theory, but their ideas and thoughts were passed and not always listened to. They place women “akin to precocious children,” (Watts, 551). Society demonstrates an appreciation for a great mind, but does not respect ideas or thoughts presented by women. Rochester treats Jane At the lower level of society, for a woman to be prosperous she must learn domestic abilities, such as “needlework, cookery and housework” it served as “vocational training” and “preparation for wives and mothers” (Watts, 550). …show more content…
The education required to obtain a good husband begins during childhood. While John Reed is taught many things and has the opportunity for secondary and higher education, Jane is stuck at Lowood, learning things that may be beneath her intelligence level. She has no opportunity to pursue knowledge even though she craves it. John does not appreciate his opportunity because he believes he is entitled to it, he just muddles through and ends up failing. At this point Jane has received an education that most lower class women would never have been able to. Even though the education she received was nowhere near the level she craved, she took the initiative while at Lowood to pursue her likes and excel past the expected education. What she is taught at Lowood helps her obtain her position at Thornfield, but her knowledge is what makes her unique.
The idea of having women in secondary education was not a widely accepted possibility until reforms began to occur in 1864 and 1870 with several amendments and acts that not only increased the number of female students, but also the number of female teachers (Watts, 559). Once universities accepted intelligent women to study, many families would not allow their daughters to attend because they feared it could make them “unmarriageable” (Hughes, 776).
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Instead of being dependent on a wealthy husband, at the end of the novel, she obtains a fortune that will last her for life. She had always been seen as a plain woman, and paired with a lack of obedience and an abundant knowledge, she cannot meet the expectations of the ideal woman. However, once Jane received her fortune, she is no longer dependent on her physical appearance, obedience or intelligence. She defies society and climbs the social ladder without marrying a wealthy man. These qualities push her into a position of inspiration to all

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