Feminism In Jane Eyre

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Rebecca West once said, “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat”; feminism and other social issues are fundamental to literature, with them commonly being a driving force behind both modern and classic works of fiction. Feminism is everywhere, with women still fighting for gender equality in modern day Britain as demonstrated through Emma Watson’s United Nations speech which was broadcasted in September of 2014 where she differentiates feminism from ‘man-hating’. Feminism has developed considerably over time as general attitudes have been swayed through literature, political movements and women’s portrayal of themselves. In 1847, Charlotte Bronte released her novel ‘Jane Eyre’ which was viewed as very radical for its time as Bronte uses Jane to exhibit her resentment towards society. Jane is presented as a morally strong, determined character who, when she falls in love, embraces the notion instead of the label and profits which are associated with it; she states that she “cares for [her]self” and that “more unsustained [she is], the more [she] will respect [her]self” as she is not tempted away from her self-respect. The reaction to the novel showcases how women were treated in the 17th century with a reviewer in The London Quarterly Review stating that the character, Jane Eyre was “destitute of all attractive, feminine qualities” and

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