English Literature



Jane Eyre


Why was ‘Jane Eyre’ unusual at the time of its publication?

2 years ago


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Friedrich Hickle

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'Jane Eyre' was unusal for its time because of Brontë's promotion of equality, which although not unheard of, it was still unusual to see a writer so directly opposing the generally accepted view of Victorian men and women. 'Jane Eyre' may be considered a proto-feminist novel, as Brontë so clearly and unashamedly promotes ideas about equality through the character of Jane. At a time of strict gender roles, discrimination and societal expectations, Brontë gives us a character who defiantly declares that she longs for more than what is expected of her and how she is frustrated with these strict expectations, even noting how men are in a 'privileged' position to be able to dictate such ideas:

'Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and 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.'

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