Servitude In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

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Victorian England continuously repressed women solely because of their gender. Charlotte Bronte criticizes the absurdity of these societal obstacles: hostility towards women from birth, the androcentric servitude, and the discardment of independence through marriages. In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte uses Jane’s journey to depict the oppression of Victorian women.
Charlotte Bronte describes a turbulent beginning in Jane’s life to demonstrate the disadvantage of women, especially low-class, from birth. At the beginning of the novel, ten-year-old Jane consistently deals with the habitual emotional and physical abuse of her cousin John Reed. Jane describes becoming “accustomed to John Reed’s abuse” (Bronte ADD PAGE NUMBER) when John “strike[s]
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In “A Dialogue of Self and Soul,” Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar discuss Jane’s inability to escape a role of servitude. Gilbert and Gubar depict Jane’s “eagerness for a new servitude that brings [her] to the painful experience that is at the center of her pilgrimage, the experience of Thornfield, where, biblically, she is to be crowned with thorns, she is to be cast out into a desolate field, and most important, she is to confront the demon of rage who has haunted her since her afternoon in the red-room” (6). By mentioning Jane’s experience of the red-room, Gilbert and Gubar discuss Jane’s role as a governess as a type of jail similar to her encounter in the locked room. In her role of servitude, Rochester is the third male in the novel to enforce his superiority over Jane through gender, class, and age. Therefore, Rochester’s position over Jane compares to the roles of John Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst. In addition, Gilbert and Gubar compare Jane to Jesus in order to describe her as a Christ figure. Jane is an outcast whom society unfairly sees as an inferior. Society casts her away similar to the persecution of Jesus. Even when conversing with Rochester, who claims to see Jane as an equal, he understands Jane’s jail-like existence as a female servant. Rochester describes…show more content…
When Jane refuses to marry St. John, St. John remains bewildered that she would refuse such an offer and begins to insult her. St. John spits, “Your words are such as ought not to be used: violent, unfeminine, and untrue. They betray an unfortunate state of mind: they merit severe reproof: they would seem inexcusable, but that it is the duty of man to forgive his fellow even until seventy-and-seven times” (ADD PAGE NUMBER). St. John and the other men in the novel believe Jane’s refusal of marriage is not a valid option. Women in Victorian society should not have a choice; the man should make the decision to get married. St. John thinks Jane owes him her hand-in-marriage, and her refusal invokes a violent response. In St. John’s eyes, the only way for Jane and St. John to be happy is for Jane to accompany him to India as his wife. While Jane refuses St. John’s hand, she still succumbs to Victorian ideals by marrying Mr. Rochester. Jane proposes to Rochester “if ever I did a good deed in my life—if ever I thought a good thought—if ever I prayed a sincere and blameless prayer—if ever I wished a righteous wish,— I am rewarded now. To be your wife is, for me, to be as happy as I can be on earth” (ADD PAGE NUMBER). Jane sees Rochester as a gift for her achievements in life and a necessary advancement towards happiness. She
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