Stereotypes In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

1277 Words6 Pages
In Victorian England, women were not thought of as full human beings, instead they were treated as lesser with no real rights or privileges. A book that demonstrates an opposing view of this stereotype is Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847. This book challenges the societal norms towards women during the Victorian era by taking the reader through the life of Jane Eyre, an orphaned girl who is left with her aunt and eventually sent to boarding school where she ultimately becomes a governess and independent woman. Throughout the novel, she refuses to fall into the stereotypical gender roles for women at the time and represents an early form of feminism.
Jane Eyre, even from childhood, refused to conform to the expectations of a passive young girl. Never listening to her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and failing to be submissive towards her male cousin John Reed. Both her cousin and aunt were abusive towards her throughout her childhood, mistreating her in both emotional and physical ways. John always had a superiority complex which originated from him always being treated as the most important. This lead him to believe he was the boss of everyone and therefore able to treat people in the way he wanted. This had a particularly strong impact on his cousin Jane, who he would often bully and harass;
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She does not fit the status quo of what it meant to be a woman during the Victorian era and with that came the tenacity and strength which forced the men around her to treat her as an equal. She always spoke her mind which led some to praise her and others to condemn her. She challenged and upset the customs of the time period by presenting herself in a way that would not become normal for another 100 years. Overall, the book represents early feminism and has one of the strongest female protagonists of any historical fiction
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