Elements Of Feminism In Literature

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Although feminism in literature began in early 1960’s, there were many writers who had been preparing for it since long. In English fiction the first few names that come to mind in that respect are Bronte sisters who gave much more power to the woman characters than known earlier. This aspect of their writing has not been explored fully by the critics and scholars. This paper is focused on the elements of feminism in their fiction which paved way for later generation authors and inspired them to present the women characters in more meaningful ways in their literary works.

Key words: Feminism, Bronte Sisters, Victorian literature, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Anne Bronte
“This has always been man’s world”1 laments Simone de Beavouir. She
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These woman characters are not conventional role models, but are endowed with a large measure of independence. The case of Catherine is the height of female assertiveness when she cries out in the most important ninth chapter of the novel Wuthering Heights “Nelly, I am Heathcliff!”….. “He’s always, always in my mind……as my own being.”6 This type of complete identification with a male is not only unknown in previous heroines, but is also quite unique even in later generations too. These three sisters have put so much of passionate energy and stormy vitality in their heroines that these woman characters may be rated as the first prototypes of feminist characters of…show more content…
Rochester, and put him finally at her mercy. Rochester is the commanding, imperious person of “blind ferocity”, who thinks and acts quite independently. But the same hero, after the tragic accident of burning, becomes blind and crippled. It is at this juncture that Jane Eyre reappears in his life to declare, “I am my own mistress” and “independent woman now.” The helpless hero bends down to confess his predicament, “I have little left in myself”. His pride is gone and he pleads before Jane. “My very soul demands you”.7 Jane Eyre has no helplessness of the earlier days because she has inherited enough property now, but because she loves Rochester so she marries him when he is at the receiving end. This couple is described quite precisely “as if a royal eagle chained to a perch, should be forced to entreat a sparrow.”8
Jane Eyre is very much clear in her mind what she is doing and why she is doing that. Her life has no traditional dependence of a Victorian heroine. She is giving love to Rochester as normally a husband would do benevolently to his wife. This reversal of role is clearly hinted towards the end of novel when she declares “I love you better now when I can really be useful to you, then I did in your state of proud independence, when you disdained every part but that of the giver and
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