Jane Eyre Essay

3564 Words Nov 19th, 2010 15 Pages
Emma Gleaden

Word Count: 3238

Compare and contrast the ways in which Bronte and Rhys construct the adult selves of Jane and Antoinette and consider how this shapes their relationship with Rochester.

Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea present the childhoods and later lives of two women, who similarly marry the complex character, Mr. Rochester. Both begin their lives as outsiders, Jane because of economic differences to the rest of her family and Antoinette because of racial distinctions to the rest of her community. However, the characters undergo oppositional journeys in life, which in turn, shape their contrastive relationships with Rochester.
Bronte presents ‘Bertha Mason’ as a minor character, positioned in her novel as a mere
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Her cousin John Reed creates conflict with his continuous bullying and abuse.
‘He bullied and punished me; not two or three times a week, nor once or twice a day, but continually’[4]
The novels openings allow us to draw a parallel between the girls’ early lack of security and their obvious isolation. However, patriarchy, a structure of society in which the man holds authority, contributes to the girls’ insecurities to some degree.
Jane, as a poor orphan, is placed into a lower ranking by her aunt and cousins who view Jane as a ‘dependent’, and although Bronte presents Jane as an intellectual child more than able to read and interpret books, she raises issues of patriarchy and feminism by using John Reed’s character to remind Jane that although she may be able to understand this literature, it is John, the male, who will ultimately gain possession of it, because regardless of how intelligent and well educated Jane is, she is in the end only a female.
‘I’ll teach you to rummage my bookshelves: for they are mine, all the house belongs to me’[5]. John’s words are typical of 19th century law, which ensured that only male heirs inherited property.
Rhys also covers the theme of male

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