External Beauty In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

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From Within During the Victorian Era, society set ideals for women that were vastly contemplated and thus, highly definitive. External beauty contributed to the character and personality traits by which females were regarded. Unquestionably, it was individuals’ desire for acceptance that brought these aspects to such significance. Furthermore, the standards set on females were severe and determining to their future. The motif of beauty in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre emphasizes the attributes of most importance to society, which consequently lead to the negligence of an individual’s identity. For instance, the emphasis that Adèle Varens places on external beauty causes her to become ignorant of her internal characteristics. The vast amount…show more content…
Since a young age, the protagonist had been dependent on a family that considered her inferior to them. Therefore, as constant undeserved punishments were imposed on her, she describes, “had I been a sanguine, brilliant, careless, exacting, handsome, romping child - though equally dependent and friendless - Mrs. Reed would have endured my presence more complacently,” (11). Jane’s plain exterior was a significant factor that contributed to the emerging self-defensive wall between herself and those around her. The hatred which penetrated the protagonist’s soul brought forth a continuous battle for justice, independence, and righteousness. Had the protagonist conformed with society’s ideals, Mrs. Reed may not have rejected her niece in the abusive, cruel manner in which she did. Similarly, her image as a “poor and plain” protagonist only added to the inferiority of her status (182). This pessimistic outlook was the effect of years of abuse, negligence, mistreatment, and solitude. Though she was a well-rounded woman, when compared to the others, no qualities caused admiration unto the public, consequently causing her to easily be overlooked. St. John Rivers continuously highlighted her similarities to other females, yet their distinction through the passionate vigor of her character. The “intolerable defects” the protagonist possessed often seemed to deem the rest of her interior qualities (152). Brontë’s main character was an exemplary individual, that, although lacking external beauty unto the perspective of society’s elite, was genuinely beautiful on the inside. Despite any barriers that her semblance may have caused, it contributed to the development of her
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