Female Oppression in Jane Eyre
Throughout Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë uses the character Jane as a tool to comment on the oppression that women were forced to endure at the time. Jane can be seen as representative of the women who suffered from repression during the Victorian period, a time when patriarchy was commonplace. Brontë herself was affected by the time period, because according to Wolfe, she was deprived “experience and intercourse and travel.” (70) Thus Jane offers a unique perspective as a woman who is both keenly aware of her position and yet trapped by it despite repeated attempts to elevate herself and escape the burden placed on by her different suitors. Although superficially it seems that Jane wants to break away from the relationships that further
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(356) The lack of passion made even more apparent just one sentence later when Jane says, “[I am] insane with my veins running fire and my heart beating faster then I can count its throbs” (356) Just the thought of Rochester causes her body to have a visceral reaction, while she has no reaction to her religious principles. The fact that she uses the word insane, which she repeats twice, is important because it is as though when it comes to Rochester she loses all control, and she becomes frenzied. She continues to say that her soul is engaging in a mutiny which shows that her soul clearly does not agree with her heart and is trying to resist. Although Jane has found love it is clear that it isn’t enough, and that she needs to find a relationship that offers acceptance and infatuation as well as virtue.
Once she leaves Rochester Jane finds a way to satisfy her religious beliefs but continues to struggle to fulfill her desire to do that while being in an affectionate relationship. When describing the prospect of marrying St. John she uses happy words such as “glorious,” “noble,” and “sublime” while she employs more depressing words like “absurd,” “weak,” “uptorn,” and “demolished hopes” when recalling her feelings for Rochester. (450) Jane sees a chance to be happy and fulfill a higher purpose through marrying St.