Presentation on theme: "The English Bildungsroman"— Presentation transcript:
1 The English Bildungsroman Meaning and Characteristics
2 Of the Realist NovelCharacteristics The linear flow of narrativeThe unity and coherence of plot and character and the cause and effect development thereofThe moral and philosophical meaning of literary actionThe advocation of bourgeois rationalityRational, public, objective discourse
3 The Realist novel of the nineteenth century was written in opposition to the Romance of medieaval timesRepresantation of “real life” experiences and characters versus ideal love, ideal moral codes ideal characters (nobility), and fixed social values ,
4 The novel a lengthy ficticious narrative representig life-like characters and action. George Eliot’s Midllemarch is agreat milestone in the realist tradition.
5 The novel has a strong tradition in English literature The novel has a strong tradition in English literature. In Great Britain, it can trace its roots back to Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe in 1719 (Kroll 23). Since then, the British novel has grown in popularity. It was especially popular in Victorian England. The type of novel that was particularly popular in Victorian England was the novel of youth.Many authors of the time were producing works focused on the journey from childhood to adulthood: Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre, George Eliot wrote The Mill on the Floss, and Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield and Great Expectations. All of these novels trace the growth of a child. In this respect, some of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century were part of the genre called the Bildungsroman.
6 In the simplest sense of the word, a Bildungsroman is a novel of the development of a young man (or in some cases a young woman). In fact, the Webster's College Dictionary definition of Bildungsroman is "a novel dealing with the education and development of its protagonist". The Bildungsroman as a genre has its roots in Germany. Jerome Buckley notes that the word itself is German, with Bildung having a variety of connotations: "portrait," "picture," "shaping" and "formation," all of which give the sense of development or creation (the development of the child can also be seen as the creation of the man) (13-14). Roman simply means "novel."
7 The term Bildungsroman emerged as a description of Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. This was the first Bildungsroman, having been published between 1794 and 1796 (Buckley 9). The word "lehrjahre" can be translated as "apprenticeship"."Apprenticeship" has many connotations, most of which deal with education and work. An apprentice goes to work for an experienced worker and learns and develops his trade and also to a greater extent his identity. Similarly, the Bildungsroman is characterized by the growth, education, and development of a character both in the world and ultimately within himself.
8 The Bildungsroman is subcategorized into very specific types of the genre, most often found in German literature. There is the Entwicklungsroman, which can be defined as "a chronicle of a young man's general growth rather than his specific quest for self-culture" . In other words, a story recounting a man's life rather than focusing on the inner changes that contribute to his maturity.Another form within German literature is the Erziehungsroman; this form is primarily concerned with the protagonist's actual educational process .
9 The root Kunstler translates as artist in English The root Kunstler translates as artist in English. Therefore, this is the development of the artist from childhood until his artistic maturity, focusing on the man as artist rather than the man in general. Dickens' David Copperfield and James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man are both examples of English Kunstlerroman, as the protagonists of both books are writers.
10 According to Buckley in his book Seasons of Youth, the Bildungsroman in English literature is "in its broadest sense a convenient synonym for the novel of youth or apprenticeship" (13).The English Bildungsroman vary from novel to novel. However, they have many aspects in common, all of which are important to the development of the protagonist.
11 Part of the development of the child is the desire, as mentioned earlier, to leave home and become "his own man." Both the search for identity and the repression of the small town present motivation for the protagonist to do just that, and often his destination is London. He also travels to London to find his trade or occupation. This is most appropriate for the English Bildungsroman.After all, London is the largest, most cosmopolitan city in England and therefore presents the most opportunities for the now adolescent child to continue his development, education, and ultimately find his niche within society through his chosen occupation. Buckley points out that this journey is "more importantly his direct experience of urban life".
12 However, this urban experience is not always a pleasant one However, this urban experience is not always a pleasant one. However poor the child may have been in his provincial town, there is urban squalor and abject poverty in London, a harsh reality to bear. In this case, London, although it seems like some perfect destination, full of opportunity, is the source of "disenchantment more alarming and decisive than any dissatisfaction with the narrowness of provincial life" (Buckley 20). Therefore, despite the hero's image of the shining city of hopes and dreams, it is disappointing, and not so much better than the life he had at home.
13 An aspect of this new life in the city is that of love An aspect of this new life in the city is that of love. It is usually here that the hero has his first experience with love. Buckley writes that there are "at least two love affairs or sexual encounters, one debasing, one exalting" (17).Usually, between the debasement of the one love affair and the disillusionment with the city, the young man takes the final step in his development. He must reconcile "after painful soul-searching, the sort of accommodation to the modern world he can honestly make".
14 In other words the inner development and maturity of the protagonist takes place after his "education" in the city. It is this newfound self-knowledge that signals the ultimate maturity of the hero. With this maturity of course comes success, and often the protagonist marries, a recognition of acceptance and maturity; now that he knows himself he can share his life with someone else.
15 Even if the protagonist does not get married, he returns home to share his successes with his family or fellow townspeopleClearly, this is a display of pride in his accomplishments, and more importantly a search for external validation, however ironic it may be that he must return to the place he wanted so desperately to escape to achieve this validation.It is with this return home, where the reader is reminded of who the protagonist was and where he came from, that his development can most clearly be delineated. Although he has come full circle, the memories of the boy that was are perfectly suited to emphasize the man that he has become.
16 Obviously, this is a basic definition of the English Bildungsroman Obviously, this is a basic definition of the English Bildungsroman. There are variations within the genre, and one or more elements may be left out of a particular novel (Buckley 18). However, the basic principles of education and development, and the journey from childhood to adulthood, from small to large, are present within every English Bildungsroman.It is these differences precisely that make each novel its own story. After all, even though every person's story is different, they must all go through stages of development in order to reach maturity and find their personal niche within the larger world.
17 The basic formula of the Bildungsroman is universal and especially appropriate to the growing world of the Victorian age where the kind of opportunities presented to the hero of the Bildungsroman echoed the actual experiences of those growing up in that era.
18 The Victorian PeriodThe Romantic Period: began in It ended in one of the following years: Victoria becomes Queen Death of William Wordsworth The Victorian period: ended 1901
19 For much of this century the term Victorian, which literally describes things and events (roughly) in the reign of Queen Victoria, conveyed connotations of "prudish," "repressed," and "old fashioned.“Although such associations have some basis in fact, they do not adequately indicate the nature of this complex, paradoxical age that saw great expansion of wealth, power, and culture.
20 In science and technology, the Victorians invented the modern idea of invention -- the notion that one can create solutions to problems, that man can create new means of bettering himself and his environment.In religion, the Victorians experienced a great age of doubt, the first that called into question institutional Christianity on such a large scale.
21 In literature and the other arts, the Victorians attempted to combine Romantic emphases upon self, emotion, and imagination with Neoclassical ones upon the public role of art and a corollary responsibility of the artist.In ideology, politics, and society, the Victorians created astonishing innovation and change: democracy, feminism, unionization of workers, socialism, Marxism, and other modern movements took form
22 In fact, this age of Darwin, Marx, and Freud appears to be not only the first that experienced modern problems but also the first that attempted modern solutions.Victorian, in other words, can be taken to mean parent of the modern -- and like most powerful parents, it provoked a powerful reaction against itself.
23 The Victorian age was not one, not single, simple, or unified, only in part because Victoria's reign lasted so long that it comprised several periods. Above all, it was an age of paradox and power.
24 The Catholicism of the Oxford Movement, the Evangelical movement, the spread of the Broad Church, and the rise of Utilitarianism, socialismDarwinism, and scientific Agnosticism, were all in their own ways characteristically Victorian
25 The prophetic writings of Carlyle and Ruskin, the criticism of Arnold, and the empirical prose of Darwin and Huxley; as were the fantasy of George MacDonald and the realism of George Eliot and George Bernard Shaw.More than anything else what makes Victorians Victorian is their sense of social responsibility.
26 The poet Matthew Arnold refused to reprint his poem "Empedocles on Etna," in which the Greek philosopher throws himself into the volcano, because it set a bad example; and he criticized an Anglican bishop who pointed out mathematical inconsistencies in the Bible not on the grounds that he was wrong, but that for a bishop to point these things out to the general public was irresponsible.
27 The Victorian Age was characterised by rapid change and developments in nearly every sphere - from advances in medical, scientific and technological knowledge to changes in population growth and locationOver time, this rapid transformation deeply affected the country's mood: an age that began with a confidence and optimism leading to economic boom and prosperity eventually gave way to uncertainty and doubt regarding Britain's place in the world.
28 QUEEN VICTORIABorn on 24 May On 10th June 1837, following the death of her uncle, William IV, she became queen at the age of eighteen. She fell instantly in love with her German cousin, Prince Albert and they were married on 10 February Between 1841 and 1857 Queen Victoria had nine children - four sons, five daughters.
29 Prince Albert was very interested in art, science and manufacturing and took a keen interest in the building of the Crystal Palace. He died suddenly of typhoid in His widow was overcome with grief and wrote in her diary, "My life as a happy person is ended!" She wore black for the rest of her life. For a long time she refused to appear in public, which made her very unpopular. Queen Victoria died aged 80 on 22 January 1901 and a new age - the Edwardian - began
30 IMPERIALISMIn 1876 Victoria was declared Empress of India and the English Empire was constantly being expanded. The prevailing attitude in Britain was that expansion of British control around the globe was good for everyone.
31 One, England had an obligation to enlighten and civilize the 'less fortunate savages' of the world (often referred to as the "White Man's Burden"). Second, they (as a chosen people) had a destiny to fulfill -- they were 'destined' to rule the world. Finally, they needed money, resources, labor, and new markets for expanding industry in England.
32 The British Empire (map) was the largest empire ever, consisting of over 25% of the world's population and area. It included India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, several islands in the West Indies and various colonies on the African coast
33 In 1750 the population of Britain was 4 million . In 1750 the population of Britain was 4 million. By 1851 it was 21 million. By 1900, Queen Victoria reigned over 410 million people. British Victorians were excited by geographical exploration, by the opening up of Africa and Asia to the West, yet were troubled by the intractable Irish situation and humiliated by the failures of the Boer War
34 ReligionVictorian England was a deeply religious country. A great number of people were habitual church-goers, at least once and probably twice, every Sunday. The Bible was frequently and widely read by people of every class; so too were religious stories and allegories. Yet towards the end of Queen Victoria's reign, the hold of organized religion upon the English people began to slacken for several reasons
35 Education in nineteenth-century England was not equal - not between the sexes, and not between the classes. Gentlemen would be educated at home by a governess or tutor until they were old enough to attend Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester, Westminster, Charterhouse, or a small handful of lesser schools. The curriculum was heavily weighted towards the classics - the languages and literature of Ancient Greece and Rome.
36 After that, they would attend Oxford or Cambridge After that, they would attend Oxford or Cambridge. Here they might also study mathematics, law, philosophy, and modern history. Oxford tended to produce more Members of Parliament and government officials, while Cambridge leaned more towards the sciences and produced more acclaimed scholars.
37 However, it was not compulsory, either legally or socially, for a gentleman to attend school at all. He could, just as easily, be taught entirely at home. However, public school and University were the great staging grounds for public life, where you made your friends and developed the connections that would aid you later in life. Beau Brummel met the Prince of Wales at Eton and that friendship helped him conquer all of London Society despite his lack of family background.
38 A lady's education was taken, almost entirely, at home A lady's education was taken, almost entirely, at home. There were boarding schools, but no University, and the studies were very different. She learned French, drawing, dancing, music, and the use of globes.If the school, or the governess, was interested in teaching any practical skills, she learned plain sewing as well as embroidery, and accounts.
39 SCIENCE AND PROGRESS Industrial Revolution: the developments that transformed Great Britain, between 1750 and 1830, from a largely rural population making a living almost entirely from agriculture to a town-centered society engaged increasingly in factory manufacture.
40 As many thousands of women throughout rural Britain saw their spinning wheels become redundant and their jobs disappear into the factories, they moved to the cities. The towns offered a better chance of work and higher wages than the countryside, where many families were trapped in dire poverty and seasonal employment. On the other hand, the countryside was healthier.
41 The Industrial Revolution gathered steam, and accelerated the migration of the population from country to city. The result of this movement was the development of horrifying slums and cramped row housing in the overcrowded cities.
42 SOCIAL CLASSWorking class - men and women who performed physical labor, paid daily or weekly wagesMiddle class - men performed mental or "clean" work, paid monthly or annuallyUpper class - did not work, income came from inherited land and investments
43 WOMEN AND MENIn the late industrial era in Britain the ideology of separate spheres which assigned the private sphere to the woman and the public sphere of business, commerce and politics to the man had been widely dispersed. The home was regarded as a haven from the busy and chaotic public world of politics and business, and from the grubby world of the factory.
44 Those who could afford to, created cosy domestic interiors with plush fabrics, heavy curtains and fussy furnishings which effectively cocooned the inhabitants from the world outside.
45 The Role of Language and Realism Repeated patterns of imagery are fudemantal to the novel’s structure.Recurrent motifs provide a structural and thematic coherence in the novel.Also thw use of imagery signal adeparture from the realm of realism by introducing qualities of the poetic genre.Realism: class, education system, the role of the gov erness, gender issues and ineqysality locate the novel within the realist tradition.
46 NarrationThe opening takes us directly to the narrator’s thoughts on ableak November afternoon.She observes “cold winter wind” , “sombre clouds”The Reeds children clustering around their mother. All this give the impression of Jane’s exclusion from family life and such intimacy.These are our initial impressions and we assume the narrator is Jane.
47 But at the opening of the novel the character whose point of view we are invited to share is as yet unknown to us.We are not yet aware this Jane’s perspective or who Jane actually is.The first person narrator directly speaks to us provoking us into an identification with a particular and point of view.
48 This method of narration engages our sympathies as readers. We are immediately struck by the desolation of the scene and the sense of the narrator as an outsider. The paragraph beginning “ I was glad of” reads as aregret or complaint conveys acute sense of physical and emotional distress.
49 The narrator is considered in need of a “more sociable and child-like dispositon” by Mrs Reed, and is concsious of her “physical inferiorityThe books she reads, although dreary, provide her with a sense of happiness and an escape from reality into the world of imagination
50 It is with the intrusion of John Reed into her protected corner that her need for escape and the legitimacy of her unhappiness are established.The narrator describes Jane as ‘ humbled” and “habitually obedient” to John Reed . This is confirmed when she instinctively accepts his abuse.
51 However when she experiences both “pain” and “terror”, this passivity gives way to a violent sense of injustice.Bronte’s style in the opening paragraphs contribute to the tension of the situation as described by the narrator. The unusual word order in the sentence “ dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight… Me, she had dispensed from joining the group” and the short clauses “dreadful to me” “I was glad of it I never liked long walks”
52 Hilight the intensity of her feeling The in version of the word order together with the insistent repetition of “I” and “me”ensure that the sensations of the narrator are kept constantly before us.From the outset Bronte depicts her heroine as an isolated figure, alienated from her immediate surroundings and lacking love andapproval.
53 Bronte depicts her heroine as an isolated figure Her environment depicted as hostile and her relationships as combative , both including a tendency to lonely introspection and fierrrrce rejection of those around her.Bronte also presents a striking contrast between Jane’s lived experience, which is limited and characterized by isolation, and her imagination.
54 From the “half –comprehended notions” she derives from Goldsmith she imagines a wider world from where she surveys her own personal suffering and from which she conceives a sense of social justice.The first- person narrative method allows a presentation of Jane’s rich inner life and the means by which she shapes the responses of her readers.
55 Through this technique an authentic and intensely personal sense of the character is constructed, and its power to evoke the child Jane’s perspective actively engages our sympathies as readers.We learn it is Jane’s account at the point when Mrs Reed questions her “truly forbidding” behaviour and lack of an “attractive “ ,“natural” character.
56 This confirms asense of Jane’s unhappiness and raises our doubts about Mrs Reed’s character. Mrs Reed’s cliched view of children leads her leads her to deny Jane the privilidges of inclusion into the family.This implies that her response to Jane’s feelings are inadequateIT is apparent to us that this view of Mrs ReedIs presented to us by Jane the adult not the child.
57 The language and the articulation of a mature perspective are those of an adult An older and wiser Jane tells her story with authority to comment on the “ undeveloped understanding of her young self.’ Thus the identity of the narrator is revealed to us.
58 ,Inchoosing to narrate Jane’s story as an autobiography . Bronte was writing a form of fiction that became poular in the 19th century, the Builungsroman.The Buildungsroman , emergent in the Romantic period, reflected an interest in the psychology of the child , and in tracing theDevelopment of the central charsacter from childhood to maturity.
59 In Jane Eyre two Janes as seen above can suggest contrasting views of her situation; the child Jane speaks against the tyranny of Jhon Reed and engages our sympathy.At the same time, the older Jane provides a more analytical perspective on the “pain” and “terror” of her situation.
60 Later in the novel, a third Jane emerges; the mature young woman and governess, in whose narrative we hear constant echoes of her younger selfIn chapter26 p.220 ,for example, there are vtwo Janes described by a third narrative voice , Jane the “ardent , expectant young woman” is the “cold, solitary, girl again”
61 Bronte’s text at leaet in the first chapters set at Thornfield is predominantly realist although there are some elements of fantasy expressed in the language of the child Jane,Realism as a genre then , can be said to accommodate different styles and narrative methods.
62 Within the realist genre the development of the Buildungsroman signaled a significant shift towards a focus on the presentation of the individual psyche.
63 Fantasy, Realism, and Narrative in Jane Eyre Mikail Bakhtin devised the concept of dialogic form to describe novels where a medley of competing voices interrupt but do not silence one another.That is why Jane Eyre houses adiversity of genres and sub-genres that include realism, romance, the domestic or governess’ novel, and the Gothic.Charlotte Brontë infuses her work with elements of the fantastic: a fact evident in Jane Eyre .Brontë incorporates fantastic elements into a more realistic narrative structure by weaving in references to fairy tales, prophetic dreams, mythic imagery and extraordinary plot twists..
64 In part, she uses the fantastic to inform the reader of concealed emotional subtexts in the novel . Her prophetic dreams provide the reader with vital information regarding the state of Jane's emotional health.This use of the fantastic plays a major role in Jane Eyre , which is not merely a parable or morality tale: Jane's success as a Bildungsroman heroine depends upon satisfying her emotional and spiritual needs, in addition to securing the safe domestic environment requisite at that time for female survival.
65 Brontë's departure from a realistic plot might derive from Emotionalist moral philosophy, a school of moral philosophy which significantly affected nineteenth-century intellectual life in Britain.Brontë uses the fantastic to expand the parameters of societal conceptions of what is comprised by reality.
66 Landow notes the implications of these ideas, "For psychology and theories of human nature: for the first time, philosophers no longer urged that the healthy human mind is organized hierarchically with reason, like a king, ruling will and passions.
67 Reason now shares rule with feelings or emotions Reason now shares rule with feelings or emotions." By elevating the importance of emotion in Jane's maturation, Brontë creates a Bildungsroman not exclusively rooted in mastery of the external world, but focused as well on the vitality of the interior life.
68 The Gothic NoveL"Gothic" has come to mean quite a number of things by this day and age. It could mean a particular style of art, be it in the form of novels, paintings, or architecture; it could mean "medieval" or "uncouth." It could even refer to a certain type of music and its fans. What it originally meant, of course, is "of, relating to, or resembling the Goths, their civilization, or their language" ("gothic").
69 A. History of the GothsThe Goths, one of the many Germanic tribes, fought numerous battles with the Roman Empire for centuries.According to their own myths, as recounted by Jordanes, a Gothic historian from the mid 6th century, the Goths originated in what is now southern Sweden, but their king Berig led them to the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.
70 They finally separated into two groups, the Visigoths (the West Goths) and Ostrogoths (the East Goths), so named because of where they eventually settled.They reached the height of their power around 5th century A.D., when they sacked Rome and captured Spain, but their history finally subsumed under that of the countries they conquered ("Goths").
71 Connection to the Gothic Novel Centuries passed before the word "gothic" meant anything else again. During the Renaissance, Europeans rediscovered Greco-Roman culture and began to regard a particular type of architecture, mainly those built during the Middle Ages, as "gothic" -- not because of any connection to the Goths, but because the 'Uomo Universale' considered these buildings barbaric and definitely not in that Classical style they so admired.
72 Centuries more passed before "gothic" came to describe a certain type of novels, so named because all these novels seem to take place in Gothic-styled architecture -- mainly castles, mansions, and, of course, abbeys
73 Elements of the Gothic Novel The Gothic novel took shape mostly in England from 1790 to 1830 and falls within the category of Romantic literature. It acts, however, as a reaction against the rigidity and formality of other forms of Romantic literature. The Gothic is far from limited to this set time period, as it takes its roots from former terrorizing writing that dates back to the Middle Ages, and can still be found written today by writers such as Stephen King. But during this time period, many of the highly regarded Gothic novelists published their writing and much of the novel's form was defined.
74 As Ann B. Tracy writes in her novel The Gothic Novel Plot Summaries and Index to Motifs, the Gothic novel could be seen as a description of a fallen world. We experience this fallen world though all aspects of the novel: plot, setting, characterization, and theme
75 The setting is greatly influential in Gothic novels The setting is greatly influential in Gothic novels. It not only evokes the atmosphere of horror and dread, but also portrays the deterioration of its world. The decaying, ruined scenery implies that at one time there was a thriving world. At one time the abbey, castle, or landscape was something treasured and appreciated. Now, all that lasts is the decaying shell of a once thriving dwelling.
76 The Gothic hero becomes a sort of archetype as we find that there is a pattern to their characterization. There is always the protagonist, usually isolated either voluntarily or involuntarily. Then there is the villain, who is the epitome of evil, either by his (usually a man) own fall from grace, or by some implicit malevolence. The Wanderer, found in many Gothic tales, is the epitome of isolation as he wanders the earth in perpetual exile, usually a form of divine punishment.
77 The plot itself mirrors the ruined world in its dealings with a protagonist's fall from grace as she succumbs to temptation from a villain. In the end, the protagonist must be saved through a reunion with a loved one.For example, in Matthew G. Lewis's The Monk, the monk Ambrosio is tempted by Matilda. She lures him into succumbing to his lust until he turns fully to rape and murder of another young girl. In the end, he makes a deal with Satan and dies a torturous death on the side of a mountain.
78 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) was inspired, as Shelley explains in her introduction to the edition of 1831, by a communal reading of German ghost stories with her husband and Byron during bad weather on the shores of Lake Geneva.
79 Gothic romanceGothic romance, type of novel that flourished in the late 18th and early 19th cent. in England. Gothic romances were mysteries, often involving the supernatural and heavily tinged with horror, and they were usually set against dark backgrounds of medieval ruins and haunted castles. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole was the forerunner of the type, which included the works of Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Gregory Lewis, and Charles R. Maturin, and the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey satirizes Gothic romance
80 Romantic Influence on the Gothic The poetry, romantic adventures and character of Lord Byron, characterised by his spurned lover Lady Caroline Lamb as 'mad, bad and dangerous to know' was another inspiration for the Gothic, providing the archetype of the Byronic hero. Byron features, under the codename of 'Lord Ruthven', in Lady Caroline's own Gothic novel: Glenarvon (1816
81 The influence of Byronic Romanticism evident in Poe is also apparent in the work of the Brontë sisters. Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847) transports the Gothic to the forbidding Yorkshire Moors and features ghostly apparitions and a Byronic hero in the person of the demonic Heathcliff whilst Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847) adds the madwoman in the attic (Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar 1979) to the cast of gothic fiction.role (J
82 The Brontës' fiction is seen by some feminist critics as prime examples of Female Gothic, exploring woman's entrapment within domestic space and subjection to patriarchal authority and the transgressive and dangerous attempts to subvert and escape such restriction. Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Emily's Cathy are both examples of female protagonists in such a
83 Prominent features of Gothic fiction Prominent features of Gothic fiction include terror (both psychological and physical), mystery, the supernatural, ghosts, haunted houses and Gothic architecture, castles, darkness, death, decay, doubles, madness, secrets, and hereditary curses.The stock characters of Gothic fiction include tyrants, villains, bandits, maniacs, Byronic heroes, persecuted maidens, femmes fatales, monks, nuns, madwomen, magicians, vampires, werewolves, monsters, demons, angels, fallen angels, revenants, ghosts, perambulating skeletons, the Wandering Jew and the Devil himself.
84 Emily of Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho does not have the same kind of temptations but finds that she cannot escape her evil uncle's castle (called Udolpho) without the help of a suitor. In the end she does find retribution in her affection for her once-lost love, Valancourt.
85 Even though the Gothic Novel deals with the sublime and the supernatural, the underlying theme of the fallen hero applies to the real world as well. Once we look past the terror aspect of this literature, we can connect with it on a human level. Furthermore, the prevalent fears of murder, rape, sin, and the unknown are fears that we face in life. In the Gothic world they are merely multiplied.
86 George Haggerty writes in Gothic Fiction/Gothic Form, "the Gothic novel is a liberating phenomenon, which expands the range of possibilities for novelistic expression" (Haggerty 34).Literary critic, Davis Morris, believes the Gothic novel addresses the horrific, hidden ideas and emotions within individuals and provides an outlet for them (Morris 1). The strong imagery of horror and abuse in Gothic novels reveals truths to us through realistic fear, not transcendental revelation. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick writes about the same idea in her essay,
87 "The Structure of the Gothic Convention," and she adds that the idea of a protagonist having a struggle with a terrible, surreal person or force is a metaphor for an individual's struggle with repressed emotions or thoughts (Sedgwick 1). Personifying the repressed idea or feeling gives strength to it and shows how one, if caught unaware, is overcome with the forbidden desire.
88 Elements of the Gothic have made their way into mainstream writing Elements of the Gothic have made their way into mainstream writing. They are found in Sir Walter Scott's novels, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and in Romantic poetry like Samuel Coleridge's "Christabel," Lord Byron's "The Giaour," and John Keats's "The Eve of St. Agnes." A tendency to the macabre and bizarre which appears in writers like William Faulkner, Truman Capote, and Flannery O'Connor has been called Southern Gothic.
89 Gothic in Bronte's Jane Eyre “Gothic fiction,” a type of literature that developed in the eighteenth century and is still highly popular today. Horace Walpole’s 1746 novel The Castle of Otranto is widely credited as being the first Gothic novel, and introduced many of the elements that have become such a familiar part of this genre.
90 Bronte's Jane EyreBronte's Jane Eyre (1847) was evidently influenced by aspects of Gothic. This novel has been classified as belonging to any number of genres, including the Bildungsroman and the Romance Novel, but the story of how poor, plain orphan Jane finds work and eventually a husband at Thornfield also relies heavily on key Gothic conventions.
91 The Haunted CastleThornfield is neither haunted nor a castle, but this huge, imposing house has a mysterious and threatening atmosphere.Jane grows to love the house as she loves its master, but parts of it are dark, chilly and gloomy: “the staircase window was high and latticed; both it and the long gallery into which the bedroom doors opened looked as if they belonged to a church rather than a house. A very chill and vault- like air pervaded the stairs and gallery, suggesting cheerless ideas of space and solitude” (chapter 11).
92 Madness, Secrets and Lies Thornfield is also the home of mad Bertha, Rochester’s secret wife. She is kept locked in the attic, and both Jane and the reader are unaware of her presence there for some time.Thus when we hear her ghostly laugh,” a curious laugh; distinct, formal, mirthless” (chapter 11), we are unsure how to interpret it.Jane assumes the laugh belongs to servant Grace Poole, but the reader is unconvinced by this and knows that some terrible secret must lurk in the mysterious attic.
93 Madness, Secrets and Lies A similarly ghostly and frightening atmosphere is evoked when Jane describes her first sighting of Bertha: “ ‘It seemed, sir, a woman, tall and large, with thick and dark hair hanging long down her back. I know not what dress she had on: it was white and straight; but whether gown, sheet, or shroud, I cannot tell’ ” (chapter 25)
94 The HeroThe moody Mr Rochester is a Byronic hero, a figure that has become familiar to fans of Gothic. He is charismatic, well-travelled, bad-tempered, and has a huge secret lurking in his past.The moment that Jane first lays eyes on him is significant, indicating Jane’s belief in the supernatural as well as Rochester’s elusive and enigmatic nature: “close down by the hazel stems glided a great dog...it was exactly one form of Bessie’s Gytrash—a lion-like creature with long hair and a huge head...
95 The HeroThe man, the human being, broke the spell at once. Nothing ever rode the Gytrash: it was always alone; and goblins, to my notions, though they might tenant the dumb carcasses of beasts, could scarce covet shelter in the commonplace human form” (chapter 12).
96 Aspects of the Supernatural Jane Eyre is full of unexplained or partially explained occurrences: the light that she sees in the Red Room (chapter 2), which she takes to be the spirit of her dead uncle but might just be somebody walking out side with a lantern.The splitting of the oak tree by lightening just before the wedding, seemingly indicative of the stormy times ahead; Jane’s prophetic dreams.
97 The novel has been criticised for its use of coincidence: Jane goes wandering and just happens to end up at the house of her cousins.The turning point of the novel rests upon such an unexplained event. Jane returns to Thornfield because she hears Rochester calling for her help, and travels back to find the house burned down and Rochester maimed.
98 A Gothic RomanceThus, rather than term Jane Eyre a romance, we could perhaps better describe it as a Gothic Romance: certainly the course of true love does not run smooth in this novel.
99 The Tradition of Self-assertion in order to resist domination by Gateshead-hall, not just be its outcast or scapegoat, Jane must find a different tradition and a different society to live by. She must construct a different memory and learn a new anticipation.For the self-assertion that freedom requires does not make its way apart from memory or hope, as Josiah Royce made clear in The Problem of Christianity. That means it does not make its way, as Jane learns, apart from one community or another.1 In placing self-assertion within a context of the continuity and sociality of life, Jane Eyre raises questions that are still an important part of our life in late modernity.
100 2 For one, it raises the question whether there isn't a tradition of self-assertion.
101 The Madwoman, Bertha Mason, is more beast than woman The Madwoman, Bertha Mason, is more beast than woman. What does her characterization tell us about Charlotte Bronte's attitude to both madness and femininity??In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte explores the fine line between the conventional 19th century path of marriage and subjection to patriarchal codes, against the culturally subversive path of feminine independence.
102 This has been done through the characterization of Jane Eyre, and the counter figure of "the mad woman in the attic"- Bertha Mason. In doing this, Charlotte Bronte's writing moves around a contrast of principles between passion and reason, creating a collision between these important values.
103 Jane Eyre is a strong, self assured and determined young woman, who is rebellious against society, and is one of the first women in Victorian literature strong enough to challenge the ever present control of men. She is a woman cognizant of her own rights; ahead of her time in her thinking; although still shaped by the demands of her society.She reflects the position that Bronte is put into when writing the book. She successfully breaks through the restrictiveness of her society, and her "soul began to expand, to exult, with the strangest sense of freedom, or triumph" Throughout the novel, she tells of fights and argument and often is reproached for her "difficult, flinty" nature.
104 Bertha Mason, on the other hand, shows how women fit into the stereotype of Victorian society: dominated by the male figure and treated as inferior. Bertha is Rochester's first wife and the daughter of a West Indian planter, who Rochester recklessly married in his youth
105 Rochester confesses to marrying her in "a trance of prurience" , and after the marriage discovered that she was sexually promiscuous and locked her away. Bertha is described as having "fiery eyes and a lurid visage, which flames over" . Rochester implies her braveness is the cause: Bronte has shown this to be the stereotype of madness
106 The portraits of both Bertha and Jane are of self ruled, aggressive, and often very much unlovable humans who do not conform with masculine society. However, the two characters illustrate ambiguity. Bronte has conveyed two feisty, independent women- one a heroine, the other a monster.Considering the constraints of the time, both women are defiant, yet they become the antithesis of each other. Jane's spirited actions cause her to become a triumphant heroine, whilst Bertha is subverted by other forces and her courage is like a "caged bird "- she seethes in submissiveness. Bertha lends emphasis towards Bronte's ideals of the assertive female, however unlike Jane, she has no independence
107 Although the characters in Jane Eyre are fictional, the situations they face and the motivations with which they act, are reflecting issues which influenced Bronte within her own society.The connection between sexuality and morality clearly illustrates contemporary concerns about the social threats posed by women's emancipation, which occurred throughout the 19th Century.Bronte has reinforced the restrictive sexual values of Victorian society through Bertha being confined for displaying excess passion.
108 All references towards sexuality as insanity are clearly linked with Bertha Mason whose "excesses had prematurely developed the germs of insanity" . Bertha was hidden away, as madness has often been, and her existence is perceived to be a threat.Bronte exposes, literally, Bertha Mason's liar showing what madness is, and that it does exist. However Bertha is always presented at some distance from the reader, and is filtered though the conversations of others, including Grace Pooles.
109 The "madwoman in the attic" has become ionic for the silence of women over the past 2000 years, and Bronte has also demonstrated this through Bertha. The novel Jane Eyre gives Bronte a voice, not accepted in her society, allowing her to present opinions, challenge authority, and not just to blindly accept the possessive nature of men.She clearly tells men this also: "I am not an angel, and I will not be one till I die. I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me "
110 Although Jane is horrified when she is first introduced to Bertha: "the clothed hyena (who) rose up, and stood tall on its hind feet." , and can feel no connection with her, Jane sees the "unfortunate lady " as an equal. Jane, and indeed Bronte, seem to be ambivalent towards madness, and have much respect for female assertion. However, it appears that Jane sees excessive femininity without independence to be undesirable
111 The mad wife on the 3rd floor is a warning more than a character, a warning of mindless passion. She represents both the realities of the time in terms of mental illness, but also the enigma of madness and the fears it evokes- violence, strangeness, and uncontrollability.As a character, Bertha is subtly woven through this book, with some empathy for her suffering shown only by Jane. Jane's words reflect Charlotte Bronte's understanding of this, as she reproves Rochester: "you speak of her with hate- with vindictive apathy. It is cruel- she cannot help being mad."
112 Although Jane is horrified when she is first introduced to Bertha: "the clothed hyena (who) rose up, and stood tall on its hind feet." , and can feel no connection with her, Jane sees the "unfortunate lady " as an equal. Jane, and indeed Bronte, seem to be ambivalent towards madness, and have much respect for female assertion. However, it appears that Jane sees excessive femininity without independence to be undesirable
113 The most common thing that the two women share is their attitudes towards men- this clearly represents Charlotte Bronte's own moral intentions.Both Bertha and Jane are at some stage during the novel influenced unknowingly by males: just as Jane agrees to a bigamous marriage, Bertha cannot help her dangerous sexuality. Each of these things have come about as a consequence of the power of males within society. However, both women retaliate, once they become aware of their situations.
114 When Bertha attempts to burn Rochester's bed and curtains whilst he "lay stretched, motionless in deep sleep" , this subverts the notion of females being obliviously influenced by men.This is used by Bronte to show effectively that Rochester is indeed oblivious to the fact that he too is allowing his passions (Bertha) to rule untamed.Hence, it is Rochester's sexual self-indulgence and lack of judgment that stalks the corridors of Thornfield Manor. Bertha embodies the anarchic element of Rochester.
115 Bronte has rewritten the masculine prototype of romanticism, through a triumph of femininity, this occurs in both Jane and Bertha. They represent the feminine conscience that refuses to be redefined through masculine interpretation and each are clearly as assertive as each other.However, the key difference between the actions of the two females, thus creating the antithesis of each other, is that Jane bases her decisions on intellectual integrity and had freedom, whilst Bertha is sheerly an animal cooped in a cage who is prey to her sexual impulses.
116 Charlotte Bronte's attitudes towards madness and femininity, characterized through a contrast between Jane and Bertha, is clearly shown to be that being an assertive female, is an ideal aspiration.However, becoming so aggressive that one contributes to their own downfall and loses all freedom, is not desirable. Bronte's views on madness are presented with ambivalence as Jane feels some pity for Bertha, but also looks down upon Bertha too.
117 By using the characters of Jane and Bertha, Bronte has shown a fulfillment of extraordinary dimensions for women in general. Jane Eyre is a triumphant assertion of the inviolability of the individual female soul.Eventually, even Rochester realizes this and describes Jane: " You entered the room with a look and air at once shy and independentةI made you talk: long I found you full of strange contrasts. Your garb and manner are restricted by rule, yet when addressed, you lifted a keen, daring, and glowing eye, there was penetration and power in each glance you gaveة." (468)
118 The Tension between Reason and Passion in Jane Eyre n Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë uses various characters to embody aspects of reason and passion, thereby establishing a tension between the two. In fact, it could be argued that these various characters are really aspects of her central character, Jane, and in turn, that Jane is a fictionalised version of Brontë herself.From this it could be argued that the tension between these two aspects really takes place only within her own head. Brontë is able to enact this tension through her characters and thus show dramatically the journey of a woman striving for balance within her nature.
119 A novel creates its own internal world through the language that it uses, and this fictional world may be quite independent from the real physical world in which we live. Writing in the style of an autobiography, Brontë locates her work within the world of Victorian England.But although Brontë's world is undoubtedly based on nineteenth-century society, it should be remembered that the world conjured in Jane Eyre is not reality: it is but a world constructed by Brontë in which to tell a story.
120 A novel based only on the mores and customs of Victorian society would be a historical document However, Jane Eyre retains power and force even in a post-modern world, as shown by its continued popularity and the many TV and film versions it has inspired. Perhaps Jane Eyre retains such power and relevance because Charlotte fabricated the book from the cloth of her own psyche, her own passionate nature, and so, although our culture has changed drastically since the book was written, the insights into human nature which Brontë gave us remain.
121 Taking this view makes the characters in Jane Eyre seem denizens of Charlotte's own psyche. Some of them, such as the passionate Bertha and the cold St John, personify aspects of her character, her emotional and logical natures.Others, such as Brocklehurst and John Reed, which seem more two dimensional, could be viewed more as scenery, foils against which the main characters define themselves. Jane herself is Charlotte's most highly resolved character.
122 Over the course of the book readers come to know every aspect of her intimately as she moves through Brontë's world. Readers also come to know her through her reflections, as she embodies aspects of the other characters.Charlotte seems to know Jane intimately, so intimately that it seems likely that Jane is Charlotte's avatar within her fictional world. If Brontë is Jane, it follows that the other characters which came from Brontë might also be aspects of Jane. Through these aspects we see a development of tension within Jane between emotional and logical natures, and this tension is played out in the events of the book.
123 Taking this argument further, if the book is seen as a reflection of Brontë's own psyche, the source of the various supernatural events described within the book must be Brontë herself. Thus she not only plays the main character in her story but also the supporting cast and the spiritual force which intervenes on Jane's behalf at crucial moments throughout. In this light Jane's meeting with her cousins, which many critics have seen as intolerably far-fetched suddenly makes sense.
124 There are no coincidences in this book There are no coincidences in this book. Jane is kept from harm by the ever-present pen of her creator, just as Charlotte herself presumably felt protected and guided by her own protestant faith. Jane meets her cousins because Charlotte felt it was time for her to do so. No other explanation is required.
125 Passion and reason, their opposition and eventual reconciliation, serve as constant themes throughout the book. From Jane's first explosion of emotion when she rebels against John Reed, Jane is powerfully passionate.Just as Bertha's passion destroys Thornfield, Jane's passion, which destroys her ties to Gateshead, leaves the way clear for her progression to the next chapter of her life at Lowood. However, as Bertha's passion eventually proves fatal, it becomes clear that Jane must gain control over her passion or be destroyed.
126 We see the dangers of nature and passion untempered by reason in the scene in which Charlotte almost marries Rochester. Jane cannot 'see God for his creature' of whom she has 'made an idol.'If the God of the novel is Charlotte, and Jane is Charlotte's creature, we can see that in losing sight of God through overwhelming passion for Mr Rochester, Jane runs the risk of loosing herself, of losing sight of Charlotte who she embodies
127 In this case, passion nearly gains a victory over reason In this case, passion nearly gains a victory over reason. Jane nearly looses her own personality in her overwhelming love. Only Brontë's intercession through the medium of the supernatural preserves her character from passionate dissolution in the arms of Rochester.
128 The opposite is true when Jane is tempted to marry St John The opposite is true when Jane is tempted to marry St John. Jane longs 'to rush down the torrent of his [St John's] will into the gulf of his existence, and there to loose my own' Again Jane almost looses herself, however, this time reason is nearly the victor. Jane's passionate nature is nearly entrapped by St John's icy reason and self control.
129 Once again Charlotte intercedes on her characters behalf, this time with a disembodied voice which directs her to return to Rochester, and saves her passionate nature from destruction.St John's death in India could be said to show the danger that Charlotte saw in icy reason without emotion. Conversely, Bertha's death in a conflagration of her own making shows the danger of the unthinking passion which Jane feels for Rochester. Thus, these two deaths could be said to represent the more subtle death of individuality, in which Jane risks loosing herself and her separate identity.
130 It is interesting to note that Bertha is portrayed as being ugly, 'a vampire', a 'clothed hyena' whilst St John is uncommonly handsome.This fits with Brontë's use of fire and ice imagery to symbolise reason and passion. Ice may be hewn into any form, where it will remain, fixed and perfect as long as it stays frozen. Fire on the other hand can be hard to control.
131 It cannot be moulded into exact shapes, it is constantly changing, and if unchecked will consume the ground on which it burns, leaving black cinders and ash, just as Bertha is blackened and swollen.This use of imagery gives us an interesting paradox, since much of the book seems to concern Jane's attempt to reconcile her passionate and reasonable natures. When ice and fire are combined the result is warm slush, hardly a suitable metaphor for a desirable state of being. One or the other, perhaps both must be destroyed. For how then can there be a reconciliation between the two?
132 Throughout the book Charlotte provides Jane with a number of mentors, each of whom provides her with a piece of the puzzle. The first is Brocklehurst. His Calvinistic philosophy teaches the mortification of the flesh as the way to obtain balance. By crushing Jane's physical body, he hopes to burn excess passion out of her, leaving a balance in which reason may be the ultimate victor.
133 However, this method, like all other false or incomplete doctrines presented in Jane Eyre ultimately ends in death. Typhoid comes to Lowood and Brontë punishes Brocklehurst with shame and scandal. Interestingly, Brocklehurst's philosophy is re-enacted for Rochester when his pride and unreasoning passion is burnt out of him in the fire at Thornfield.Rochester flesh is mortified as he looses an eye and a hand. Through this somewhat drastic method, Rochester, who becomes a more suitable match for Jane, perhaps somehow attains a balance of his own.
134 Helen Burns seems to offer Jane another method by which tension may be resolved. She shows Jane that she can release her negative emotions, and make them less destructive through forgiveness, and that, by loving her enemies her hatred and anger may fade. We see this philosophy in action when Jane visits her dying aunt and is able to forgive her.
135 She receives a just reward for this kindly act, the knowledge of an uncle living in the East Indies. However, Helen’s selfless acceptance of all the crimes perpetrated against her does nothing to change those crimes, or to deter their repetition. Had Helen been at Gateshead rather than Jane she would never have escaped. Helen's beliefs prove to be only an incomplete part of a whole, and so, she too dies.
136 At the end of many trials Charlotte permits Jane to return at last to her lover. It is a wiser Jane, and also perhaps a wiser Charlotte who welcomes this happy event. At this point it seems that the tension between reason and passion should have been resolved. However, this is not the case.There is no sense of any realistic resolution of tension between Jane's reasoning and passionate natures. Perhaps Jane could have attained some sort of interplay between the two like sunlight glinting on the sea or torches focussed through a crystal lens.Instead, Jane and Rochester live in 'perfect concord', their happiness is complete. They feel no passion or intrigue, only a warm sentimentality that seems wholly out of place in a book which has traversed such a vast ranges of emotion. Instead of fire and ice, Charlotte gives us warm slush.
137 Perhaps she never resolved the tension between reason and passion for herself, and so was unable to write convincingly about it. Maybe, because of this she simply tacked on the happiest ending she could contrive, or maybe she wrote what she hoped to gain for herself, without understanding how she could get it.As an account of one woman's journey of spiritual growth, whether Jane's or Charlottes, Jane Eyre succedes admirably. However, in the arrival it fails. Perhaps this is because at the time she wrote the book, Charlotte herself hadn't found happiness with a partner. Whatever the reason, the ending remains profoundly unsatisfying, and the weakest element of the book.
138 Jane Eyre may be seen in a postmodernist light as an expression of Charlotte Brontë's own character. The players she peoples her world with seem to be aspects of herself, and Jane seems to represent her totality. Throughout the book a tension is established between the forces of reason, championed by St John, and those of passion, headed by Bertha.This tension exists within Jane's head, and also presumably within Charlotte's, but Brontë uses the medium of the novel to play out this conflict among all her characters, and so brings it out into the light. Eventually the champions, Bertha and St John are killed off, symbolising the danger Brontë saw in taking either of these paths to the exclusion of the other, and also symbolising the less obvious death that Jane risks, that of loss of self, either by surrendering to Rochester, or to St John.
139 The perveyors of incomplete solutions to this conflict are also killed The perveyors of incomplete solutions to this conflict are also killed. Brocklehurst, dies symbolically when he is removed from his position as headmaster of Lowood, Helen Burns dies of consumption.At the end of the story, the tension which Brontë has built up between reason and passion is not satisfactorily resolved, which weakens the ending somewhat, however Jane Eyre succeeds because it is taken directly from a young woman's psyche. It speaks to us today because it takes its inspirations from an internal reality that has remained constant.
140 ReligionThroughout the novel, Jane struggles to find the right balance between moral duty and earthly pleasure, between obligation to her spirit and attention to her body. She encounters three main religious figures: Mr. Brocklehurst, Helen Burns, and St. John RiversEach represents a model of religion that Jane ultimately rejects as she forms her own ideas about faith and principle, and their practical consequences.
141 Mr. Brocklehurst illustrates the dangers and hypocrisies that Charlotte Brontë perceived in the nineteenth-century Evangelical movement. Mr. Brocklehurst adopts the rhetoric of Evangelicalism when he claims to be purging his students of pride, but his method of subjecting them to various privations and humiliations, like when he orders that the naturally curly hair of one of Jane’s classmates be cut so as to lie straight, is entirely un-Christian.
142 Of course, Brocklehurst’s proscriptions are difficult to follow, and his hypocritical support of his own luxuriously wealthy family at the expense of the Lowood students shows Brontë’s wariness of the Evangelical movement.
143 Helen Burns’s meek and forbearing mode of Christianity, on the other hand, is too passive for Jane to adopt as her own, although she loves and admires Helen for it.Many chapters later, St. John Rivers provides another model of Christian behavior. His is a Christianity of ambition, glory, and extreme self-importance.
144 St. John urges Jane to sacrifice her emotional deeds for the fulfillment of her moral duty, offering her a way of life that would require her to be disloyal to her own self.Although Jane ends up rejecting all three models of religion, she does not abandon morality, spiritualism, or a belief in a Christian God. When her wedding is interrupted, she prays to God for solace (Chapter 26).
145 As she wanders the heath, poor and starving, she puts her survival in the hands of God (Chapter 28). She strongly objects to Rochester’s lustful immorality, and she refuses to consider living with him while church and state still deem him married to another woman.Even so, Jane can barely bring herself to leave the only love she has ever known. She credits God with helping her to escape what she knows would have been an immoral life (Chapter 27).
146 Jane ultimately finds a comfortable middle ground Jane ultimately finds a comfortable middle ground. Her spiritual understanding is not hateful and oppressive like Brocklehurst’s, nor does it require retreat from the everyday world as Helen’s and St. John’s religions do.For Jane, religion helps curb immoderate passions, and it spurs one on to worldly efforts and achievements. These achievements include full self-knowledge and complete faith in God.
147 Social Class Jane EyreJane Eyre is critical of Victorian England’s strict social hierarchy. Brontë’s exploration of the complicated social position of governesses is perhaps the novel’s most important treatment of this theme.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
148 Jane’s manners, sophistication, and education are those of an aristocrat, because Victorian governesses, who tutored children in etiquette as well as academics, 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.
149 Jane’s understanding of the double standard crystallizes when she becomes aware of her feelings for Rochester; she is his intellectual, but not his social, equal.Even before the crisis surrounding Bertha Mason, Jane is hesitant to marry Rochester because she senses that she would feel indebted to him for “condescending” to marry her. Jane’s distress, which appears most strongly in Chapter 17, seems to be Brontë’s critique of Victorian class attitudes.
150 Jane herself speaks out against class prejudice at certain moments in the book. For example, in Chapter 23 she chastises Rochester: “Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.”
151 However, it is also important to note that nowhere in Jane Eyre are society’s boundaries bent. Ultimately, Jane is only able to marry Rochester as his equal because she has almost magically come into her own inheritance from her uncle
152 Proto-Feminist vs. "The Third Person Man" The Victorian period saw the emerging idea of feminism -- or rather, to avoid all connotations which that word has taken on — the equality of men and women. This simple proto-feminism surfaced quite slowly, mostly through literature and other forms of public discussion.
153 The Quakers were the most active group purporting equality, however they were a small group and, for the most part, not influential, except as a novelty to the greater population.In 1966, R.B. Martin stated that Jane Eyre was the first major feminist novel, "although there is not a hint in the book of any desire for political, legal, educational, or even intellectual equality between the sexes."
154 Rather, Martin supports the idea that Jane (Brontë) merely wants recognition that both sexes are similar in "heart and spirit." Nowhere in the novel is this sentiment more obvious than in the passage in chapter 23, when Jane responds to Rochester's callous and indirect proposal:
155 “Do you think I am an automaton. a machine without feelings “Do you think I am an automaton? a machine without feelings?...Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong — I have as much soul as you, — and full as much heart...I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh; — it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal, — as we are”
156 A clearer voicing of a plea for simple human equality could hardly be imagined. What makes Jane's speech so easy to sympathize with is Brontë's adept use of the first person point of view. Often, when an author wishes to further his or her own cause, the identity of the speaker can either be lost in the course of an ideological tirade, or never even be established outside of the plot.
157 What sustains the believability and emotion of Jane's speech is that it is continually being referenced back to the character who we have grown to love through the course of the novel thus far. In the middle of her monologue, Jane refers to herself as "poor, obscure, plain, and little," reminding us of the characteristics of the girl being hurt here
158 . Another section of the monologue, which I omitted in the above excerpt, serves the same function, "And if God had gifted me with some beauty, and much wealth..."
159 The final aspect of the discourse which anchors the view of equality to the character of Jane Eyre is that, philosophically and spiritually, the view has an experiential origin in Jane's life, in that much of what she says can actually be traced back to her conversations with Helen Burns, the wise young girl who died in Lowood.
160 R.B. Martin very neatly sums up the relationship between the contemporary views on sexual differentiation and how they affect the characters:
161 The condemnation of women to a place apart results in the creation of empty, capricious women like Blanche Ingram, who tyrannize over men whenever possible, indulge in dreams of Corsair lovers, and can communicate only in the Byronic language of outdated romantic fiction.
162 George EliotMary Ann (Marian) Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist. She was one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. Her novels, largely set in provincial England, are well known for their realism and psychological perspicacity.
163 She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure that her works were taken seriously. Female authors published freely under their own names, but Eliot wanted to ensure that she was not seen as merely a writer of romances. An additional factor may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes
164 Mary Anne Evans was the third child of Robert Evans ( ) and Christiana Evans (née Pearson), the daughter of a local farmer, ( ). When born, Mary Anne, sometimes shortened to Marian, had two teenage siblings, a half-brother, Robert ( ), and sister, Fanny ( ), from her father's previous marriage to Harriet Poynton (? ).
165 Robert Evans was the manager of the Arbury Hall Estate for the Newdigate family in Warwickshire, and Mary Anne was born on the estate at South Farm. In early 1820 the family moved to a house named Griff, part way part way between Nuneaton and Coventry. Her full siblings were Christiana, known as Chrissey ( ), Isaac ( ), and twin brothers who survived a few days in March 1821.
166 The young Evans was obviously intelligent, and due to her father's important role on the estate, she was allowed access to the library of Arbury Hall, which greatly aided her education and breadth of learning. Her classical education left its mark; Christopher Stray has observed that "George Eliot's novels draw heavily on Greek literature (only one of her books can be printed correctly without the use of a Greek typeface), and her themes are often influenced by Greek tragedy"
167 Her frequent visits also allowed her to contrast the wealth in which the local landowner lived with the lives of the often much poorer people on the estate, and different lives lived in parallel would reappear in many of her works. The other important early influence in her life was religion. She was brought up within a narrow low church Anglican family, but at that time the Midlands was an area with many religious dissenters, and those beliefs formed part of her education.
168 She boarded at schools in Attleborough, Nuneaton and Coventry She boarded at schools in Attleborough, Nuneaton and Coventry. At the second she was taught by the evangelical Maria Lewis—to whom her earliest surviving letters are addressed—and at the Coventry school she received instruction from Baptist sisters.
169 In 1836 her mother died and Evans returned home to act as housekeeper, but she continued her education with a private tutor and advice from Maria Lewis. When she was 21, her brother Isaac married and took over the family home, so Evans and her father moved to Foleshill near Coventry. The closeness to Coventry society brought new influences, most notably those of Charles and Cara Bray.
170 Charles Bray had become rich as a ribbon manufacturer and had used his wealth in building schools and other philanthropic causes. He was a freethinker in religious matters, a progressive in politics, and his home, Rosehill, was a haven for people who held and debated radical views
171 The people whom the young woman met at the Brays' house included Robert Owen, Herbert Spencer, Harriet Martineau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Through this society, Evans was introduced to more liberal theologies, many of which cast doubt on the supernatural elements of Biblical stories, and she stopped going to church.
172 This caused a rift between herself and her family, with her father threatening to throw her out, although that did not happen. Instead, she respectably attended church and continued to keep house for him until his death in Her first major literary work was the translation of David Strauss' Life of Jesus (1846), which she completed after it had been begun by another member of the Rosehill circle.
173 Only five days after her father's funeral, she travelled to Switzerland with the Brays. She decided to stay in Geneva alone and on her return in 1850, moved to London with the intent of becoming a writer and calling herself Marian Evans. She stayed at the house of John Chapman, the radical publisher whom she had met at Rosehill and who had printed her translation. Chapman had recently bought the campaigning, left-wing journal The Westminster Review, and Evans became its assistant editor in 1858.
174 Although Chapman was the named editor, it was Evans who did much of the work in running the journal for the next three years, contributing many essays and reviewsWomen writers were not uncommon at the time, but Evans's role at the head of a literary enterprise was. The mere sight of an unmarried young woman mixing with the predominantly male society of London at that time was unusual, even scandalous to some.
175 Although clearly strong-minded, she was frequently sensitive, depressed, and crippled by self-doubt. She was well aware of her ill-favoured appearance, and she formed a number of embarrassing, unreciprocated emotional attachments, including that to her employer, the married Chapman, and Herbert Spencer. However, another highly inappropriate attraction would prove to be much more successful and beneficial for Evans.
176 The philosopher and critic George Henry Lewes met Evans in 1851, and by 1854 they had decided to live together. Lewes was married to Agnes Jervis, but they had agreed to have an open marriage, and in addition to the three children they had together, Agnes had also had several children by other men
177 . Since Lewes was named on the birth certificate as the father of one of these children despite knowing this to be false, and was therefore considered complicit in adultery, he was not able to divorce Agnes.
178 In July 1854 Lewes and Evans travelled to Weimar and Berlin together for the purpose of research. Before going to Germany, Evans continued her interest in theological work with a translation of Ludwig Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity and while abroad she wrote essays and worked on her translation of Baruch Spinoza's Ethics, which she completed in 1856, but which was not published in her life-time.
179 The trip to Germany also served as a honeymoon as Evans and Lewes were now effectively married, with Evans calling herself Marian Evans Lewes, and referring to George Lewes as her husband. It was not unusual for men in Victorian society to have affairs; both Charles Bray and John Chapman had mistresses, though more discreetly than Lewes
180 What was scandalous was the Leweses' open admission of the relationship. On their return to England, they lived apart from the literary society of London, both shunning and being shunned in equal measure.While continuing to contribute pieces to the Westminster Review, Evans had resolved to become a novelist, and she set out a manifesto for the Review: Silly Novels by Lady Novelists
181 The essay criticised the trivial and ridiculous plots of contemporary fiction by women. In other essays she praised the realism of novels written in Europe at the time, and an emphasis placed on realistic story-telling would become clear throughout her subsequent fiction.
182 She also adopted a new nom-de-plume, the one for which she would become best known: George Eliot. This masculine name was chosen partly in order to distance herself from the lady writers of silly novels, but it also quietly hid the tricky subject of her Marital status.
183 In 1858 Amos Barton, the first of the Scenes of Clerical Life, was published in Blackwood's Magazine and, along with the other Scenes, was well received. Her first complete novel, published in 1859, was Adam Bede and was an instant success, but it prompted an intense interest in who this new author might be. Scenes of Clerical Life was widely believed to have been written by a country parson or perhaps the wife of a parson.
184 With the release of the incredibly popular Adam Bede, speculation increased markedly, and there was even a pretender to the authorship, one Joseph Liggins. In the end, the real George Eliot stepped forward: Marian Evans Lewes admitted she was the author.
185 The revelations about Eliot's private life surprised and shocked many of her admiring readers, but this apparently did not affect her popularity as a novelist. Eliot's relationship with Lewes afforded her the encouragement and stability she so badly needed to write fiction, and to ease her self-doubt, but it would be some time before they were accepted into polite society
186 After the popularity of Adam Bede, she continued to write popular novels for the next fifteen years. Within a year of completing Adam Bede, she finished The Mill on the Floss, inscribing the manuscript: "To my beloved husband, George Henry Lewes, I give this MS. of my third book, written in the sixth year of our life together, at Holly Lodge, South Field, Wandsworth, and finished 21st March 1860."
187 On 16 May 1880 George Eliot courted controversy once more by marrying a man twenty years younger than herself, and again changing her name, this time to Mary Anne Cross. The legal marriage at least pleased her brother Isaac, who sent his congratulations after breaking off relations with his sister when she had begun to live with Lewes. John Cross was a rather unstable character, and apparently jumped or fell from their hotel balcony into the Grand Canal in Venice during their honeymoon.
188 Cross survived and they returned to England Cross survived and they returned to England. The couple moved to a new house in Chelsea but Eliot fell ill with a throat infection. This, coupled with the kidney disease she had been afflicted with for the past few years, led to her death on the 22 December 1880 at the age of 61.
189 The possibility of burial in Westminster Abbey being rejected due to her denial of Christian faith and "irregular" though monogamous life with Lewes, she was buried in Highgate Cemetery (East), Highgate, London in the area reserved for religious dissenters, next to George Henry Lewes.
190 MiddlemarchMiddlemarch is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh and penultimate novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final illness of Thornton Lewes, the son of her partner George Henry Lewes. During the following year Eliot resumed work, fusing together several stories into a coherent whole, and during 1871–72 the novel appeared in serial form.
191 The first one-volume edition was published in 1874, and attracted large sales. Subtitled "A Study of Provincial Life", the novel is set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch during the period 1830–32. It has a multiple plot with a large cast of characters, and in addition to its distinct though interlocking narratives it pursues a number of underlying themes, including the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism and self-interest, religion and hypocrisy, political reform, and education.
192 The pace is leisurely, the tone is mildly didactic (with an authorial voice that occasionally bursts through the narrative), and the canvas is very broad.Despite the fact that it has some comical characters (Mr Brooke, the "tiny aunt" Miss Noble) and comically-named characters (Mrs Dollop), Middlemarch is a work of realism. Through the voices and opinions of different characters we become aware of various broad issues of the day – the Great Reform Bill, the beginnings of the railways, the death of King George IV and the succession of his brother, the Duke of Clarence.
193 We learn something of the state of contemporary medical science. We also encounter the deeply reactionary mindset within a settled community facing the prospect of what to many is unwelcome change. The eight "books" which comprise the novel are not autonomous entities, but merely reflect the form of the original serialisation. A short prelude introduces the idea of the latter-day St. Theresa, presaging the character Dorothea; a postscript or "finale" after the eighth book gives the post-history of the main characters
194 In general Middlemarch has retained its popularity and its status as one of the masterpieces of English fiction, although some reviewers have expressed dissatisfaction at the destiny recorded for Dorothea. From separate centuries Florence Nightingale and Kate Millet both remark on the eventual subordination of Dorothea's own dreams to those of her admirer, Ladislaw. However, Virginia Woolf gave the book unstinting praise, describing Middlemarch as “the magnificent book that, with all its imperfections, is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people”.[
195 In its first conception, Middlemarch was a story involving an ambitious doctor, Lydgate, the Vincy family, and Mr Featherstone. Progress on the novel was slow; by September only three chapters of the story had been completed. The main reason for this lack of development was the distraction caused by the illness of Lewes’s son Thornie, who was dying slowly of tuberculosis
196 Following his death on 19 October 1869, all work on the novel stopped Following his death on 19 October 1869, all work on the novel stopped. At this point it is uncertain whether Eliot intended to revive the original project; in November 1870, more than a year later, she began work on an entirely new story, "Miss Brooke", introducing Dorothea. Exactly when she started to combine this narrative with the earlier Lydgate-Vincy-Featherstone plot is unrecorded, but the process was certainly under way by March 1871.
197 As the scope of the novel grew, a decision was taken as to the form of its publication. In May 1871 Lewes asked publisher John Blackwood to bring the novel out in eight parts, at two-monthly intervals from December Blackwood agreed, and the eight books duly appeared throughout 1872, the last instalments appearing in successive months, November and December 1872
198 Plot outlineDorothea Brooke is an idealistic, well-to-do young woman, engaged in schemes to help the lot of the local poor. She is seemingly set for a comfortable, idle life as the wife of neighbouring landowner Sir James Chettam, but to the dismay of her sister Celia (who later marries Chettam) and of her loquacious uncle Mr Brooke, she marries instead Edward Casaubon, a middle-aged pedantic scholar who, she believes, is engaged on a great work, the Key to all Mythologies.
199 She wishes to find fulfilment through sharing her husband’s intellectual life, but during an unhappy honeymoon in Rome she experiences his coldness towards her ambitions.Slowly she realizes that his great project is doomed to failure, and her feelings for him descend to pity.
200 Bulstrode’s terror of public exposure as a hypocrite leads him to hasten the death of the mortally-sick Raffles by giving him access to forbidden alcohol. But he is too late; Raffles had already spread the word. Bulstrode’s disgrace engulfs the luckless Lydgate, as knowledge of the financier’s loan to the doctor becomes public, and he is assumed to be complicit with Bulstrode.
201 Only Dorothea and Farebrother maintain faith in Lydgate, but Lydgate and Rosamond are forced by the general opprobrium to leave Middlemarch. The disgraced and reviled Bulstrode’s only consolation is that his wife stands by him as he, too, faces exile.The final thread in the complex weave concerns Ladislaw, who since their initial meeting has kept his love for Dorothea to himself. He has remained in Middlemarch, working for Mr Brooke, and has also become a focus for Rosamond’s treacherous attentions.
202 After Brooke’s election campaign collapses there is nothing to keep Ladislaw, and he visits Dorothea to make his farewell. But Dorothea, released from life with Casaubon but still the prisoner of his will, now sees Ladislaw as the means of her escape to a new life.Renouncing her independence, and Casaubon's fortune, she shocks her family again, by announcing she will marry Ladislaw. At the same time Fred, who has proved an apt pupil in Caleb’s profession, finally wins the approval and hand of Mary.
203 Beyond the principal stories we are given constant glimpses into other scenes. We observe Featherstone’s avaricious relatives gathering for the spoils, we visit Farebrother’s strange ménage, we become aware of enormous social and economic divides.But these are the backdrops for the main stories which, true to life, are left largely suspended, leaving a short finale to summarise the fortunes of our protagonists over the next thirty years or so.
204 The book ends as it began, with Dorothea: "Her full nature […] spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts".
205 She forms a warm friendship with a young cousin of Casaubon’s, Will Ladislaw, but her husband’s antipathy towards him is clear, and Ladislaw is forbidden to visit. In poor health, Casaubon attempts to extract from Dorothea a promise that, should he die, she will "avoid doing what I should deprecate, and apply yourself to do what I desire"—meaning that she should shun Ladislaw.
206 Before Dorothea can give her reply Casaubon dies Before Dorothea can give her reply Casaubon dies. It then transpires that he has added a provision in his will that if she should marry Ladislaw, Dorothea will lose her inheritance from CasaubonMeanwhile an idealistic young doctor, Tertius Lydgate, has arrived in Middlemarch, with advanced ideas for medical reform.
207 His voluntary hospital work brings him into contact with the town’s financier Mr Bulstrode, who has philanthropic leanings, but is also a religious zealot with a secret past. Bulstrode’s niece is Rosamond Vincy, the mayor’s daughter and the town’s recognised beauty, who sets her sights on Lydgate, attracted by his aristocratic connections.
208 She ensnares him, but the disjunction between her self-centredness and his idealism ensures that their marriage is unhappy.Through a combination of her material greed and Lydgate’s weakness he is soon deep in debt, and has to seek help from Bulstrode.He is partly sustained in his marital and financial woes by his friendship with Camden Farebrother, the generous-spirited and engaging parson from a local parish.
209 At the same time we have become acquainted with Rosamond’s university-educated, restless and somewhat irresponsible brother Fred, reluctantly destined for the Church.He is in love with his childhood sweetheart, Mary Garth, a sensible and forthright young woman, who will not accept him until he abandons the Church and settles in a more suitable career.
210 Mary has been the unwitting cause of Fred’s loss of a considerable fortune, bequeathed to him by the aged and irascible Mr Featherstone, then rescinded by a later will which Featherstone, on his death-bed, begs Mary to destroy.Mary, unaware of what is at stake, refuses to do so. Fred, in trouble over some injudicious horse-dealing, is forced to borrow from Mary’s father, Caleb Garth, to meet his commitments.
211 This humiliation shocks Fred into a reassessment of his life, and he resolves to train as a land agent under the forgiving Caleb.These three interwoven narratives, with side-plots such as the disastrous though comedic attempt by Mr Brooke to enter Parliament as a sponsor of Reform, are the basis of the story until it is well into its final third. Then a new thread emerges, with the appearance of John Raffles, who knows about Bulstrode’s past and is determined to exploit this knowledge.