Jane Eyre: Sexism Essay

1884 Words Oct 14th, 1999 8 Pages
In the cases of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice and Emily Bronte's Jane Eyre, the ideals of romantic love are very much the same. In both 19th century novels, women's wants and needs are rather simplified. However, this could also be said for the roles and ideals of the male characters. While it was obvious that this era was responsible for a large amount of anti-female sexism in society and the economy, can it also be said that male-female partnerships were simplified from the male perspective?
<br>In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, it is widely agreed that the character of Jane Bennet is, in all aspects, the perfect 19th century woman. She has beauty, charm, manners, a little intelligence (but not too much), and is very
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While these thoughts would be expected from someone in today's culture, they were shockingly rude for that time. However, Darcy continued to be a main character throughout the novel, and finally married Elizabeth. Had Darcy been a poor man, how many people at the party would have ever forgiven him for his personality, let alone married him? This shows an obvious emphasis on wealth in society at the time, but it also shows a simplistic sexist ideal of men being rich providers in a male-female relationship.
<br>In Emily Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre, sexism in the 19th century male-female relationship takes on a more insidious tone. While in Pride and Prejudice the ideals and roles were more innocently ingrained in the characters, Jane Eyre shows a darker, more possessive side. When Jane is with Rochester, there is a constant struggle between his possessive tendencies and her optimistic "prophecies" of the future. In Chapter 24, Rochester has pressured Jane for sexual relations, and she has denied him by way of trickery. She tells him to play her a song instead, in the hopes he will be swayed from his course. Here Jane describes herself as "naturally hard, very flinty" (p187). Although at first both characters are unhappy with the situation, Rochester makes himself agree with Jane, and Jane

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