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Sydneygirl
07-04-2007, 12:16 AM
hey evryone,
i was hoping for some help,
i am currently studying jane eyre, and i am looking for some feminist readings of the book.
does anyone have access to one? or know where i could find one.?
thanx guys
sydneygirl x

sciencefan
07-05-2007, 09:55 AM
hey evryone,
i was hoping for some help,
i am currently studying jane eyre, and i am looking for some feminist readings of the book.
does anyone have access to one? or know where i could find one.?
thanx guys
sydneygirl xThey're EVERYWHERE- ad nauseum!
Just spend some time searching through this forum.
In the last 4 months, it has been heavily discussed here.
Look for it, and you will find it.

Newcomer
07-05-2007, 12:32 PM
hey evryone,
i was hoping for some help,
i am currently studying jane eyre, and i am looking for some feminist readings of the book.
does anyone have access to one? or know where i could find one.?
thanx guys
sydneygirl x

Hi Sydneygirl,
Not many offers of help! Tough assignment since you'll have to be very imaginative to make a good argument. I'm afraid that you will not find much help in 'studying' Jane Eyre since Charlotte Bronte wasn't interested in the subject. Maybe if you would specify the view point of feminism that you wish to structure your argument around, whether from the First Wave, Second Wave or the Third Wave, you'll get some specific offers.
First I would try to determine how the wind blows: the ideological cant of your teacher. That can mean the difference between a A+ or a passing C. Worse if you go against her opinion you risk a D with a note “lacking originality” comment. Political correctness is de rigueur in the field.
Let me illustrate the dilemma in trying to extract a feminist argument from Jane Eyre. Let's suppose that your teacher is of the Radical Feminist bent and intellectually favors lesbianism. You could make an argument that Jane was a proto-lesbian and only the patriarchal Mr. Brocklehurst prevented this full realization by killing Helen Burns by starving and denying medical help. The charge of cruelty is a good tactic for establishing emotional resonance and early death, stressing the idea of transcendence, avoids the inconvenience of textual truth, by stressing the 'what if'. You would cite the incident in chapter nine, “I got on her crib and kissed her; her forehead was cold, and her cheek both cold and thin, and so were her hand and wrist; but she smiled as of old.”, as had Helen lived, Jane would have kept her virginity in Sapphoric rapture and been free of Rochester's sexual desire, “ the horrible embrace, And the corroding kiss.”, aptly cited in the Female Imagination & The Modernist Aesthetic.
If this theme is no to your liking and you would rather view female oppression, and patriarchy through the prism of colonialism, you could rehash Jean Rhys arguments. They are rather old hat and from the Australian perspective there is the problem of the Aborigines that someone might bring up. However borrowing from Science Fiction, an apt analogy, “Go boldly where no MAN has gone before.”, for you are a woman. Three centuries of human knowledge should not inhibit you in revisionism.
Hope that the sketched ideas have been of some help and best of luck in your assignment.

Sydneygirl
07-06-2007, 08:52 PM
thanx heaps newcomer.

i am actually really lucky where ii go to school, it is the kind of place where you will get an A+ for arguing the point rather then the actual point, and the kind of school where different is never a bad thing. we are encouraged to express our very own oppinions and can say whatever we like.

i'm probably going to run with the line of argument of oppresion, i felt your other argument sounded brilliant, however i am only concerned that due to its "brilliance" by arguing it, it might appear that i had most deffinately drawn the idea from elsewhere.
thanx a bunch again

xsydneygirl

Newcomer
07-08-2007, 03:35 PM
thanx heaps newcomer.

i am actually really lucky where ii go to school, it is the kind of place where you will get an A+ for arguing the point rather then the actual point, and the kind of school where different is never a bad thing. we are encouraged to express our very own oppinions and can say whatever we like.


Hi Sidneygirl,
My note was ironic in that it suggested the wide gap between the 19th. century reading and the ideological reading of Jane Eyre in the 20th. To interpret Helen Burns in such a manner would be ethically offensive and display a total ignorance of source on which the character of Helen was based. Since you mentioned that “ we are encouraged to express our very own opinions and can say whatever we like.”, may I suggest a topic for your assignment that while textually accurate would be in line with your preference of the subject of 'oppression'. The feminist argument of gender oppression has been so often stated that there is nothing new to be squeezed out of the old hag and you could develop an argument based on contrasts. Apart from a good mark, it would deepen your understanding of the novel and perhaps provide some pleasure in intellectual stimulus. If the oppression argument is made monolithic, it has problems since Jean's experiences of the patriarchal oppression are very different at Lowood, Thornfield and Marsh Glen,. Jean Eyre matures in experience and with St. John she is not a victim but an assertive young woman.
The topic of contrast that I speak of is in three parts. The minor theme is of parts A vs. B and the major would be of A and B vs. C.

A – The Evangelicism of Mr. Bocklehurst at Lowood. (Jean a young girl)
For Jane it was “it comprised an irksome struggle with difficulties in habituating myself to new rules and unwonted tasks”...”Our clothing was insufficient to protect us from severe cold ... our hands became numbed and covered with chilblains, as were our feet.”... “Then the scanty supply of food was distressing: with the keen appetites of growing children, we had scarcely sufficient to keep alive a delicate invalid.” When Bocklehurst orders the girls long hair cut off, he states “I have a Master to serve whose kingdom is not of this world: my mission is to mortify in these girls the lust of the flesh,”.
The principle is that the daughters of Eve must be punished and fear and respect for the hierarchy of the male preacher be maintained. Faith is of duty and sacrifice, not love.
The contrast is with the otherworldly faith and conduct Helen Burns. Her faith is based in love.

B – The Calvinism of St. John. (Jean a woman)
Unlike Bocklehurst St. John sees Jane as an “original and not timid” and he is kind. But he is obsessed by a missionaries compulsion of converting the heathen. He excises his love for Rosamond Oliver and describes himself, “Know me for what I am – a cold hard man.” When Diana questions Jane whether St.John loves her, “You should hear himself on the subject. He has again and again explained that it it is not himself, but his office he wishes to mate. He has told me I am formed for labour – not for love: which is true , no doubt. But, in my opinion, if I am not formed for love, it follows that I am not formed for marriage. Would it not be strange, Die, to be chained for life to a man who regarded one but as a useful tool?”
Jane resolves the contradictions of St. John, “He is a good and a great man: but he forgets, pitilessly, the feelings and claims of little people, in pursuing his own larger views. It is better, therefore, for the insignificant to keep out of his way;: lest in his progress, he should trample them down.”
When St. John offers marriage as a missionaries wife, Jane replies, ““I scorn your idea of love,” I could not help saying; as I rose up and stood before him, leaning my back against the rock. “I scorn the counterfeit sentiment you offer: yes, St. John, and I scorn you when you offer it.””
Jane's independence is clearly stated “I broke from St. John; who had followed, and would have detained me. It was my time to assume ascendancy. My powers were in play, and in force... He obeyed at once.” No clearer statement could be had of Jane's independence, nor any supposition that she was 'gender oppressed.'

C – Nature and truth. (Spiritual Growth)
These two terms are very idiosyncratic as used by Charlotte and have to be interpreted with caution since she uses them synonymously and with at times what appears as contradictions. Our contemporary understanding is not that of Charlotte Bronte's.
chapter 28. - “I have no relative but the universal mother, Nature: I will seek her breast and ask repose.”
chapter 27, in the moment of acute crisis Jane seeks strength to leave Thornfield. She asks for divine guidance, “The gleam was such as the moon imparts to vapours she is about to sever. I watched her come – watched with the strangest anticipation; as though some word of doom were to be written on her disk. She broke forth as never moon yet burst from cloud: a hand first penetrated the sable folds and waved them away; then, not a moon, but a white human form shone in the azure, inclining a glorious brow earthward. It gazed and gazes on me. It spoke to my spirit: immeasurably distant was the tone, yet so near, it whispered in my heart - “My daughter, flee temptation!”. “Mother , I will.”
The moon a female deity in pagan mythology and referred to as Mother, gives succor in the moment of crisis. It is She not the paternalistic god of Bocklehurst that Jane appeals to.
When Jean hears the supernatural summons “Jane, Jane, Jane” her reaction is “My heart beat fast and thick: I heard it throb. Suddenly it stood still to an inexpressible feeling that trilled it through, and passed at once to my head and extremities.”
However her reaction is not that of a believer experiencing a miracle but “””Down superstition!” I commented, as that specter rose up black by the black yew at the gate. “This is not thy deception, not thy witchcraft: it is the work of nature. She was roused, and did – no miracle – but her best.””. The passage is illustrative of Charlotte's view of Nature and Truth and of the underlaying spirituality of Jane Eyre. Each in service of the other.

Do not be intimidated by the complexity of the argument. You can develop each theme separately, they will have your own voice and then rewrite to tie them all together. Computers make such editing easy. If you need to reference the quotations use the on-line text to search for the index phrase. Enjoy your assignment and let us know how it is received by your class.

sciencefan
07-08-2007, 05:23 PM
Newcomer, I enjoyed your ideas in your post. Very good.
I agree with you that Jane grows in her independence.

Sydneygirl
07-13-2007, 08:04 PM
Newcomer,
you summed it up so well and so clear what i want to say,
i was wondering if i could have your name so that i could cite you in my assignment?
its ok if you dont want to share such infomation,
thanx agaIN for your help

xsydneygirl

Newcomer
07-20-2007, 08:47 AM
i was wondering if i could have your name so that i could cite you in my assignment?

Sydneygirl,
I'm flattered that you would cite me in your assignment. It's unnecessary. What I provided is but a sketch, you shall fill out the ideas and it will be your own, it's the style, the technique that matters.
Best of luck with the assignment.