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With a new kind of heroine defiantly virtuous, morally courageous and fiercely independent, Charlotte Bronte brought about change in the style of fiction of the day, presenting an unconventional woman to be admired for her ability to overcome adversity. From her humble beginnings as an orphan under the care of a cruel aunt, governess Jane Eyre falls in love with her mercurial employer, the Byronic Edward Rochester. But then dark secrets of Thornfield Hall threaten to destroy everything she‟s worked so hard to achieve. First published under her pseudonym Currer Bell, Charlotte‟s famous Gothic romance attracted much public attention. People wanted to know who this new and talented writer was. It was highly lauded by such authors as William Makepeace Thackeray, and has since inspired numerous adaptations for television and film, and numerous other author‟s works including Jean Rhys‟ „prequel‟ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). Growing up in Victorian England, Charlotte and her sisters were inspired by the Romantic authors of the time including Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth and Lord George Gordon Byron. As sisters and authors, Charlotte, Emily and Anne gave each other moral support, shared creative ideas and proof-read one another‟s work. As the oldest of the Bronte authors, Charlotte approached her writing career as a means to financial independence and to help support her siblings. She was born on 21 April 1816, at 74 Market Street in the village of Thornton near Bradford in Yorkshire County, England. She was the third daughter born to Maria Branwell (1783-1821) and Anglican clergyman of Irish descent Patrick Bronte (1777-1861). At the time Charlotte was born she had two older sisters, Maria (1814-1825) and Elizabeth (1815-1825), but as was typical of the time mortality rates were high and they both would not live to see their teenage years. Charlotte‟s other siblings were; younger brother Patrick Branwell “Branwell” (1817-1848), himself a Byronic figure; Emily Jane (1818-1848); and Anne (1820-1849).
The Brontë children were all avid readers. It was a dreary existence on the Yorkshire moors for the Brontë children. could hamper her burgeoning emotions. Marriage was always a viable solution. not weak or impressionable females. which she equated to slaves imprisoned by circumstances beyond their control. Charlotte Brontë withdrew from a society that would not entirely accept her. The options for the proper yet impoverished woman during the time were limited a governess or teacher. be an insufferable misrepresentation. it was the manner in which the girls specifically played that provides insight into the strength of their spirit. . and the Duke of Wellington (Gaskell. the children invented role-playing games. and since they were isolated children. To refer to Charlotte Brontë as a feminist would. Her novels speak volumes for the oppressed woman. It was during these imaginative dramas that the girls portrayed legendry figures. Charlotte Brontë bravely contradicted society through her writing. Such were no ordinary games of make believe. thus establishing Charlotte Brontë as one of the first modern women of her time. the ugly daughter or poor spinster. While many children of the time spent their leisure in such pursuits. but elaborate. Hannibal. solely on her own accord. yet no one. did not interested Charlotte. was self-taught by reading the newspapers her father left lying about. who was mature beyond her years. Chap V). not even a stringent society. perpetually modest. She often likened herself to others in her oppressed situation. Slight in size. however. other times in provisional costumes.Modern Woman in Jane Eyre Without a doubt. and strong moral character. at times with the aide of wooden toys. as well as other romantic authors of the time. Unlike George Sand. intellect. Caesar. yet Charlotte Brontë would only marry a man she respected. it was Brontës suppressed spirit that gave way to her literary fantasies. It was through her words that Charlotte Brontë created a woman of free thought. for Cleopatra used her sexuality to attain greatness. Charlotte was an intelligent youth. Her interest. spawned by the works of Sir Walter Scott. no matter his status or fortune. In a time when women were considered little more than social adornments and bearers of offspring. the same traits Charlotte herself possessed. as well. and desolation. who by appearances and her standard of living epitomized the nineteenth-century feminist. particularly Charlotte. By the age of nine. figures of strength throughout history: Bonaparte. Even female historical figures who appeared strong. death. Spurred by their vivid imaginations. It was the archetypical male hero who interested the girls. plagued often by illness. roles Charlotte Brontë considered forms of bondage. She believed that a governess had no existence. who took an early interest in politics. and was perceived as a mother figure to her surviving siblings. they frequently retreated into a world of literary fantasy. 347-51). and was not considered a living or rational being except in connection with the wearisome duties she was forced to perform (Gilbert and Gubar. well-written dramas. such as Cleopatra. and expressed her stifled ideals through her words. She resigned to live in the role society placed upon her. she knew more about politics than most grown men. Charlotte Brontë was progressive in her beliefs.
and werent afraid to declare it. She believed that a good woman. Charlotte had the freedom to create her characters the way she wanted. however. it was the ideal emotional outlet.instead of achieving it on her own. while maintaining a detachment toward humanity as a whole (Moers. When Jane ultimately falls in love. could not live . arguably Charlotte Brontë's tour de forceintermibles autobiographical elements with romantic notions of the period. Jane Eyre. It is a fact that woman authors during the time were not received as seriously as men. It is imperative to her to remain true to herself. "Are we to be quite deaf to her cry and insensate to her struggles?" (Gaskell. Charlotte Brontë spoke of the evils of the condition of women. Charlotte Brontë wrote that imagination was a restless faculty which needed to be heard and exercised. if non-existence during Charlotte Brontës time. Such feelings were typically concealed beneath a stoic exterior. the more friendless. A woman who revealed an independent spirit was rare. unfulfilled life. a fate she deemed worse than death. modest. Charlotte Brontë withdrew into the world she created. who. Like Jane. the more unsustained I am. she created heroines with genuine ideas and erudite views. It was through her writing that she was allowed to breathe life into her suppressed self and dreams. The more solitary. Nothing can tempt Jane in this respect: wealth. in all respects plain. as Currier Bell. instead. she carries her self-worth in her mind and determination. 18). It was through her discontent that the characters of Jane Eyre and Lucy Snowe were born. not the label or profits derived from it. Jane will not sacrifice her morals or self-respect for any man. Such suppression had dangerous consequences an unhappy. Jane's isolation created her persona. providing her with the necessary survival skills. respected themselves. Through Jane. and criticized women who resorted to this female characteristic as lacking self-respect. 347-51). Charlotte rejected the use of sexuality to attract men in any form. morally strong and intelligent. though the literary world must be grateful she did not heed her own advice. 18). she will not sacrifice herself. above all. emotional. However. In essence. suppressing the creative. deep-rooted within the structure of the social system (Moers. or love. In fact. In the character Jane. Like the author. she embraces the notion of love itself. Charlotte Brontë urged women not to linger on such problems. or rather she felt them intellectually and morally deficient. It was Charlotte who provided the noms de plume that were deliberately ambiguous in gender for her and her sisters (Gilbert and Guber. the more I will respect myself (301). Brontë exhibits resentment toward a society that has scorned her. and spiritual self. Chap II). Jane does not need a man to make her feel worthy. Charlotte Brontë created a slight woman. Charlotte herself was determined to marry a man she respected. like any decent man. status. I care for myself. she refused several offers of marriage that would have afforded her a life of ease. For Charlotte Brontë. simply because the offers did not come from men she deemed her equal. Concealed by anonymity.
In Villette. to provide fulfillment in their lives. Brontë takes her unrequited love in stride and creates Lucy Snowe. honest. Yet in Villette. Brontë. Instead of creating a romantic portrait filled with passion and childish love. violated human code. In Rochester. and herself alone. who relied upon the respect of themselves. "God help the woman who is left to love passionately and alone" (Gaskell. proving that for Brontë love transcends the societal expectations of marriage. pedigree. one of the most altruistic. wrote of simple women. . She believed passion a temporary emotion that could easily give way to disgust. Jane Eyre was considered a radical book that deposed authority. Brontë gave the gift of the modern woman. and together they form a bond of mutual respect. Through her characters. Yet. adding to the gothic style of the novel. and humanly flawed. the reviewer reminds her reader. both heroines' intelligence and moral judgment is superior to those around them. With Lucy. without the assistance of men. At the time. through his flaws. or rather enlightening them to the fact that women of self-respect and intellect can seek their place in the world. and that the character of Jane was destitute of all attractive. and fostered rebellion and Chartism in the homes of society. Jane returns to Rochester and finally offers her unconditional love to him when he essentially has nothing left. No real woman would create a character as unseemly as Jane Eyre. Rochester can only offer himself. Paul Emmanuel lacks all romance. Blind and penniless. even the heroes of the novels. is instead pure flesh and blood. is not a real woman. indifference. and is based instead on mutual respect and love. Brontë created a hero much like that of other literary heroes of the day: rich. and romantic. Lucy recognizes a generous soul. she has "long forfeited the society of her own sex" (Ridgy. Brontë is reminding her readers.without self-respect. Indeed the portrait is similar to the character of Jane Eyre &mdas. Chap IX). social position and recondite intellectual acquisitions are compared to third-class lodgers (58). and live her life by her own set of standards. December 1848). A governess. but a burden to society. or worse. a more mature author created the antithesis of the literary hero. and independent heroines in English Literature. if she did. dictated not by society but by herself. and her onesided love for a married professor. a woman determined to make her own way. A reviewer in The London Quarterly Review stated thatJane Eyre was the personification of an unregenerate and undisciplined spirit. who had no concept of the role of women in society. rather than society. in her subtlety. feminine qualities. Charlotte draws directly from her earlier days in Brussels. Currier Bell was thus believed to be a man. dashing.
online-literature.nagoya-u.com/brontec/ http://www.html .http://www.jp/~matsuoka/EG-Charlotte-1.ac.lang.
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