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Presentation on theme: "JANE EYRE By Charlotte Bront ë. JANE EYRE EDWARD ROCHESTER JANE EYRE BERTHA MASON & the theme of the double THEMES:  LOVE VS AUTONOMY LOVE VS AUTONOMY."— Presentation transcript:

1 JANE EYRE By Charlotte Bront ë


3 THE IDEAL VICTORIAN WOMAN  In Victorian times, the woman was considered the so-called “Angel of the house” because her place was the home and only in the house she could realise her lofe, as a wife, a mother and a daughter.  Victorian women, in fact, didn’t have the same rights as men. They couldn’t vote or hold a political office  Men could divorce their wives for adultery while for women divorse was permitted only if adultery was accompanied by bigamy, cruelty or incest.  In addition working outside the house was not considered respectable for women who could only limit their public activities to unpaid charitable work.  Some of the best female writers of the time, in fact, published their novels under pseudonyms  The only occupation suitable for women who wanted to earn their living outside marriage was that of governess.  This job, however, signified low wages and an ambiguous state: neither a servant nor a proper lady  Unmarried women who worked in factories were often led to prostitution ( fallen women) because of poor working conditions and unemployment.

4 THE PLOT 1 Jane Eyre is a young orphan who was brought up by Mrs. Reed, her cruel, wealthy aunt. One day, as punishment for fighting with her bullying cousin John Reed, Jane’s aunt imprisons Jane in the red-room, the room in which Jane’s Uncle Reed died. While locked in, Jane, believing that she sees her uncle’s ghost, screams and faints. Jane is sent to Lowood School where she suffers because of a very strict discipline. The school’s headmaster is Mr. Brocklehurst, a cruel, hypocritical, and abusive man. Brocklehurst preaches a doctrine of poverty and privation to his students while using the school’s funds to provide a wealthy and opulent lifestyle for his own family. When Mr. Brocklehurst leaves the school, Jane’s life improves considerably.

5 THE PLOT 2 After teaching for two years at Lowood, Jane wishes to have new experiences. She accepts a governess position at a manor called Thornfield, where she teaches a lively French girl named Adèle. Jane’s employer at Thornfield is a dark, indifferent man named Rochester, with whom Jane falls secretly in love and who she accepts to marry. The wedding day arrives, and as Jane and Mr. Rochester prepare to exchange their vows, Mr Mason declares that Rochester already has a wife. Mason introduces himself as the brother of that wife—a woman named Bertha. Mr. Mason testifies that Rochester married Bertha when he was a young man in Jamaica and she is still alive. Rochester does not deny it, but he explains that Bertha has gone mad. He takes the wedding party back to Thornfield, where they witness the insane Bertha Mason crawling on the floor on all fours and growling like an animal. Rochester keeps Bertha hidden on the third storey of Thornfield. Jane leaves the house.

6 THE PLOT 3 Penniless and hungry, Jane is forced to sleep outdoors and beg for food. At last, Jane finds a job teaching at a charity school in Morton. Here she comes to know that her uncle, John Eyre, has died and left her a large fortune: 20,000 pounds. She is on the point of accepting to marry anther man, but she realizes that she cannot abandon forever the man she truly loves when one night she hears Rochester’s voice calling her name over the moors. Jane immediately hurries back to Thornfield and finds that it has been burned to the ground by Bertha Mason, who lost her life in the fire. Rochester saved the servants but lost his eyesight and one of his hands. Rochester and Jane rebuild their relationship and soon marry. At the end of her story, Jane writes that she has been married for ten blissful years and that she and Rochester enjoy perfect equality in their life together. She says that after two years of blindness, Rochester regained sight in one eye and was able to behold their first son at his birth.

7 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NOVEL genre · A hybrid of three genres: the Gothic novel (utilizes the mysterious, the supernatural, the horrific, the romantic); the romance novel (emphasizes love and passion, represents the notion of lovers destined for each other); the Bildungsroman (narrates the story of a character’s internal development as he or she undergoes a succession of encounters with the external world) date of first publication :1847 antagonist ·Jane meets with a series of forces that threaten her liberty, integrity, and happiness. Characters embodying these forces are: Aunt Reed, Mr. Brocklehurst, Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester (in that he urges Jane to ignore her conscience and surrender to passion), and St. John Rivers (in his urging of the opposite extreme). The three men also represent the notion of male supremacy point of view · All of the events are told from Jane’s point of view. Sometimes she narrates the events as she experienced them at the time, while at other times she focuses on her retrospective understanding of the events. point of view ·

8 MAIN CHARACTERS : JANE EYRE The development of Jane Eyre’s character is central to the novel. She can be considered an anti-heroine because she is not beautiful but she has a fervent intelligence. An orphan since early childhood, Jane feels exiled and ostracized at the beginning of the novel, and the cruel treatment she receives from her Aunt Reed and her cousins only emphasises her feeling of alienation. Afraid that she will never find a true sense of home, Jane feels the need to belong somewhere, to find “kindred spirits.” This desire is accompanied by her intense need for autonomy and freedom. She believes in her ideals without compromise. Jane sees the bond of marriage not as an imprisonment but as an union of two equal persons. Charlotte Brontë may have created the character of Jane Eyre as a means of coming to terms with elements of her own life. Much evidence suggests that Brontë, too, struggled to find a balance between love and freedom and to find others who understood her..

9 An orphan since early childhood, Jane suffers from a sense of alienation because of the cruel treatment she receives from her Aunt Reed and her cousins. She looks for a home and she feels the need to find “kindred spirits.” This desire is accompanied by her intense need for autonomy and freedom. She believes in her ideals without compromise. Jane sees the bond of marriage not as an imprisonment but as an union of two equal persons. Autobiographical references are evident in the novel : Charlotte Brontë created the character of Jane Eyre keeping in mind the events of her own life : namely her aunt’s mistreatment of her, her terrible experience at the cheap boarding house where she had been sent with her sister. MAIN CHARACTERS : JANE EYRE

10 MAIN CHARACTERS : EDWARD ROCHESTER Edward Rochester  typical BYRONIC HERO : mysterious because of his past life, charismatic despite his stern manners and of not particularly handsome appearance. Although Rochester is Jane’s social and economic superior, and although men were widely considered to be naturally superior to women in the Victorian period, Jane is Rochester’s intellectual equal. Rochester was a former libertine who married a woman just to gain more wealth but he regrets this period of his life. Edward Rochester wins Jane’s heart, because she feels they are kindred spirits. Jane sees the bond of marriage not as an imprisonment but as an union of two equal persons.

11 MINOR CHARACTERS: BERTHA MASON Bertha Mason is a complex presence in Jane Eyre. She impedes Jane’s happiness, but she also provokes the growth of Jane’s self-understanding. The mystery surrounding Bertha establishes suspense and terror to the plot and the atmosphere. Further, Bertha serves as a reminder of Rochester’s youthful libertinism. She can represent a symbolic representation of the “trapped” Victorian wife, who is expected never to travel or work outside the house and becomes ever more frenzied as she finds no outlet for her frustration and anxiety. One could also see Bertha as a manifestation of Jane’s subconscious feelings—specifically, of her rage against oppressive social and gender norms. Jane never manifests this fear or anger, but Bertha does. Bertha expresses the feelings that Jane must keep in check. THEME of the DOUBLE FIGURE Bertha, who is a sort of double figure. Bertha, “ the mad woman in the attic” is seen as the repressed animal side of Jane.So Bertha an Jane can be considered complementary, two sides of the same coin, two aspects which help to create a deeper portrait of female identity.

12 SOCIAL CLASS Jane Eyre is critical of Victorian England’s strict social hierarchy. C. Brontë explores the complicated social position of governesses. Like Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, Jane is a figure of ambiguous class standing and, consequently, a source of extreme tension for the characters around her. Jane’s manners and education are those of an aristocrat, because Victorian governesses were expected to possess the “culture” of the aristocracy. Yet, as paid employees, they were more or less treated as servants; thus, Jane remains penniless and powerless while at Thornfield. Jane perfectly understands this double standard when she becomes aware of her feelings for Rochester; she is his intellectual, but not his social, equal. Jane herself speaks out against class prejudice,when she tells Rochester that even though she is poor and plain this doesn’t mean she is soulless or heartless. THEMES

13 GENDER RELATIONS Jane struggles continually to achieve equality and to overcome oppression. In addition to class hierarchy, she must fight against male domination. In Victorian England women were considered to be inferior to men. The headmaster of the school and Edward Rochester, for example, are male figures who threaten her desire for equality and dignity. Each tries to keep Jane in a submissive position. In her quest for independence and self-knowledge, Jane must come to Rochester only after she is sure that they may marry as equals. She will not depend solely on Rochester for love and she can be financially independent. Jane states a radically feminist philosophy when she affirms that women feel just like men and therefore it is narrow-minded to consider them as destined to insignificant activities such as making puddings or knitting stockings. “Women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do […….]it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.” THEMES

14 LOVE VS. AUTONOMY Jane Eyre is very much the story of a quest for love through self realisation as a woman. For her, marriage can have a meaning as an union of two equal human beings. She refuses Mr Rochester’s proposal of living together because of her sense of dignity and integrity as a woman In fact for her “marrying” Rochester while he remains legally married to Bertha would mean sacrificing her autonomy and her self respect for the sake of her passions On the other hand, when she escapes from Thornfield Hall and manages to achieve an economic independence teaching the poor, she cannot satisfy her feelings as a woman. Her experience away from Thornfield Hall is necessary to test Jane’s autonomy. THEMES

15 SYMBOLS The Red-Room The red-room can be viewed as a symbol of what Jane must overcome in her struggles to find freedom and happiness. The red-room symbolises Jane’s position of imprisonment in the house but also, on a larger level, in the Victorian society. Although Jane is eventually freed from the room, she continues to be excluded from love and socially ostracised; but she has a strong sense of independence. Thus she recalls the room when she is humiliated at Lowood. She also thinks of the room on the night that she decides to leave Thornfield after Rochester has tried to convince her to become his mistress. Only after Jane has gained financial independence she can wed Rochester and find freedom in and through marriage.

16 G OTHIC E LEMENTS 1. Childhood terrors in the school 2. Mysterious setting (Thornfield) 3. Sense of supernatural 4. Gloomy atmosphere of the place (mysterious signs,noises,sounds) 5. Bertha’s madness and death


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