March 6, 2014
In the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, it’s obvious that there is not an equality of gender roles. The women are viewed as lesser than the men and the men are viewed as the great in the Victorian society. Throughout the novel Jane becomes extremely successful and defies the normal gender roles. She starts at the very bottom, being an orphan, and makes her way to the top due to her own decisions. She becomes very independent and her ideal self has now happened.
Jane begins as an orphaned, poor child whom is taken by the Reed family, Mr. Reed then dies and Jane is now in the hands of Mrs. Reed. Jane has a terrible childhood and Mrs. Reed treats Jane like a peasant and someone that is outside her middle class standing. Further into the book Jane becomes a teacher at Lowood and then takes a position at Thornfield. This advancement is an important development of gender; she now acts as if she is of the middle class. She relies on Mr. Rochester, the head of Thornfield, a wealthy man, whom is much wealthier than her; she eats his food, lives in his house, and relies on his payment. Mr. Rochester and Jane represent the gender roles expected of males and females in the Victorian period. Not only does Mr. Rochester have social power over Jane, but he also has sexual power. Rochester quotes, “I have been married, and the woman to whom I was married lives!” (366). This overwhelms Jane; she has not nearly had as much experience as Rochester has. Sometime into
the book Jane falls in love with Mr. Rochester, but Rochester has a different fiancée. Once Jane agrees to marry Rochester she finds out about Bertha. Bertha is the biggest role in the novel to me; she is the ‘mad woman in the attic.’ She represents the imprisonment of marrying Rochester and becoming mad. She represents a marriage in the Victorian age. Mr. Rochester locked Bertha in the attic because he claims that she was mad, but wouldn’t lock her up on...