View Full Version : need help with assignment on Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

08-16-2009, 11:13 PM
Hello all, I'm an A-Levels student and I'm taking Literature in English as a subject.can u guys help me out by giving me ideas on how to write this assignment on the book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte?here's the title:
" Discuss Jane as a narrator and as a character. What sort of voice does she have? In light of the fact that people who treat Jane cruelly ( John Reed, Mrs Reed, Mr Brocklehurst) all seem to come to an unhappy ending. Analyze the conflicts and discuss the moral and ethical implications for both the protagonist and antagonists."

08-17-2009, 05:11 AM
You could ask an additional question with that: how come that Rochester does not come to an unhappy end? and what with St John (unhappy or happy end)? Diana and Mary do come to a happy end, why (in relation to St John)?

And what does Jane do with her unhappy feelings towards those nasty people?

I think it has to do with coming into adulthood (for all of them) and rejection/acceptance of negative feelings within oneself. Forgiveness also has to do with that.

At the point where Jane returns to her aunt, she has accepted Mrs Red as being nasty, but she has forgivn her for it and accepts her present state of being (poor, orphaned and alone in the world), yet the aunt keeps rejecting her, hating her, that is why her death is so sad.

The same model applies to the rest, although some come to terms with negative feelings. .

Does this help?

You can take a look into my posts, if you like.

08-17-2009, 06:19 AM
hmmm..how about the conflicts part?what kind of conflicts should i write?
thank you very much for the reply and helping me =)

08-17-2009, 11:34 AM
How about what the difference is between Jane's perception of the Reed-conflict and the Rochester-conflict (or even the St John-conflict)? She definitely deals differently with them, why?

Mr Brocklehurst is I think a little different, as his way of dealing with his ophans might have a more sociological (historical) reason or even an inherent reason (finances fo charity schools were not very good and so directors had to abuse them). But still, Jane's look on things changes during that period, why?

It is also an interesting question why those antagonists are cruel to jane (Mrs Reed, John, Rochester and to a certain extent maybe St John). Are their actions (and resulting conflicts) motivated by, selfishness, sheer lack of empathy or is it that they do not know that empathy and cannot deal with being wrong? But all antagonists are at a different stage in life and have different motives. John for example is still a child, so he has different motives than say, his mother. Mr Brocklehurst, as I said, has totally different motives than Miss Scatcherd. Rochester and St John have different motives.

In that light it would be interesting to have a look at Bertha who is being treated cruelly and who fights it. What is the difference between her and Jane and how they deal with their persecutor (kind of thing)? What does that approach bring to each of them?

Why are the Ingrams nasty to Jane? Do they know they are being cruel? is it in their nature or is it something else? So from where does that conflict result. In my view it could be the same as from where Brocklehurst's conflict results...

no problem for helping you. :) But as of tomorrow I am on holiday and I return on the 6th of September, so I hope you get along well!

08-18-2009, 01:12 PM
As for the sort of voice Jane has, I think as a narrator she tries to be objective and also self-critical at points (but there is only so much scope for that in a text that claims to be an autobiography).
However, what comes out most in her voice, both as narrator as well as character is its intense individualism. There is a lot of 'I' in the novel (again, an autobiography, but still).
In fact, this fierce self-assertion and radical individualism in her voice disturbed many of the initial reviewers especially since it was coming from a woman.

08-18-2009, 01:17 PM
There also seems to be a conflict within Jane herself. When she runs out on him after the wedding fiasco, there is this whole tug of war between her moral sense and her passion. She yields to her passion and goes to meet Rochester but gains a morally happy ending with Bertha dead, Rochester adequately punished and her own fulfilment gained.

08-20-2009, 02:16 AM
As for the sort of voice Jane has, I think as a narrator she tries to be objective and also self-critical at points (but there is only so much scope for that in a text that claims to be an autobiography).
However, what comes out most in her voice, both as narrator as well as character is its intense individualism. There is a lot of 'I' in the novel (again, an autobiography, but still).
In fact, this fierce self-assertion and radical individualism in her voice disturbed many of the initial reviewers especially since it was coming from a woman.

fierce self-assertion and radical individualism?like how?can you give me some example?:confused:

08-20-2009, 09:31 AM
For one, when she comes out of Lowood, she advertises to get a situation. Self-advertisement is a form of self-assertion, of the belief that she can make a way for herself. When she talks to Rochester about leaving Thornfield, she tells him she will advertise for another position. Rochester fiercely asserts that she should do no such thing- a typical male reaction to something that 'respectable' women do not do.

Moreover, the fact that she is never really cowed down by any of the characters - as a kid she answers back to Mrs. Reed and Brocklehurst. She leaves Rochester, despite his pleading not to, because she thinks that is the right thing to do. Later she decides to give in to her passion and go back to Rochester which she again thinks is the right thing to do for her.

Also her famous announcement "I care for myself." (ch. 27).. is held up as one of the earliest examples of self-assertion by a female literary character. So is her appeal to Rochester in Ch 23 Where she begins with "Do you think I am an automaton?..." and goes on to assert her equality with any other human being, of whatever gender.

09-07-2009, 08:07 AM
Self-advertisement is not at all to be classed as inividualism or anything of the sort. Jane was forced to advertise, as many others in her situation, because she did not have any acquaintances to get a post for her. This is how things worked: you wanted to work in service, you asked acquaintances (friends, richer family) to ask for you wether anyone had a post. They would vouch for your character (that is to say whether you were sluggish, lazy or the oppsite, which was to be preferred). If you had been in service before, you would get a reference from your employer (as in the last instance Miss Temple (?) does for Jane), and in some cases the employer would seek another post for you, as Rochester wants to do with Jane (but certainly with the alterior motive of not at all looking and having peace of mind that she won't leave).
In Emma, lonely Miss Fairfax also is reduced to the acqiantance of Mrs Elton to seek a post for her, or at least that is what Mrs Elton thinks.

Self-advertisement in the local newspaper was a way for employers without luck (no vacant servants with acquaintances) or potential servants without luck (no vacant posts) to get a post after all. There is no indivicualism involved here.

The thing that is embedded in that self-advertisement is the profound presence of a higher force that sends Jane to Thornfield as it were, by sheer luck: Jane advertises because she wants another post and just at that point Mrs Fairfax looks in the newspaper to find a governess for this ward of Rochester Adèle. Mrs Fairfax obviously, with her master not at home, does not have a lot of connections to ask about governesses, so in a last instance she looks for one in the newspaper, and finds Jane Eyre. Who will later, literally, prove a God-send (she even asserts so herself).

I care for myself can be interpreted in different ways, and does not necessarily have to be seen in a individualist context of equality of man and woman. Had Jane wanted a relationship with Rochester, out of wedlock, she would have put herself in a precarios situation. Not in the theatre trade, she would never have got a post again with an employer and had Rochester wanted to get rid of her, she would have died in poverty. So she can actually say, I care for myself without being individualist. From a religious point of view she would certainly be punished for adultery after her death, but that's a matter of opinion.

When she asserts: Equal, at God's feet, as we are during his proposal, she does not do anything new. She, as Rochester's subordinate servant, wants to reaffirm her choice in accepting this proposal, or delining it. He might think that he is worth more (as her employer) and that he may expect her to say yes (after all he is rich, has a big house, and she is undoubtedly in love with him, so he is elligible to say the least), but she still tells him that she, at God's feet, has been created a woman, like he was created a man, and in that both are the same. Both will go to hell if they commit wrongs, both will go to heaven if they are good Christians (to say it in a 19th century simplistic way). All the societal baggage that both have - she "poor, obscure and plain" and he rich, disillusioned and yearning for love as it were - are no different when it comes to wrong and right and when it comes to love or happiness. She, in her conviction that he will marry Ingram, sees him throw away his life for what? Money? Yes, as he did the first time she did not know of. She will not do that, she will not get hypnotised by material things, and will seek a husband who she thinks interesting enough to spend the rest of her life with. Rochester wins hands down from St John, not because of his looks, not because of his great amounts of money, not because of his ableness, just because he suits her, unlike St John.

Maybe that statement might be considered as quite modern, but it is not at all raging feminist. If anything it is taking the story of Creation to its full level (man and woman being created after God's own image) and not stopping at the surface.

Tendi Tich
10-13-2009, 09:21 AM
Since you are an A Level student you should know by now how to critically analyse a text. Jane is not only the narrator but the protagonist so things are seen from her perspective. Her voice/narrative adopts to the situation at hand. She is an analyst of her situation and more often than not comments on her feelings and on the people surrounding her. I do not have a text on hand to quote directly for you.Ill send another post later

10-14-2009, 01:57 PM
I know your posting is dated and I apologize ahead of time for continuing a thread that is over two years old. However, I found your comments incredibly poignant and relevant. I do not really think JE is a feminist novel; however, in college it was difficult to avoid the feminist focus. American colleges are terrible in this respect; everyone is supposed to find something feminist, homosexual, or perverse. I am a true Victorian literature lover and have always enjoyed the hints of sexuality and passion embedded within the texts. You are absolutely dead-on about JE being more into the Christian aspect. Her father was an Anglican vicar. All the daughters were well-read, even with Blackwood's magazine which frequently contained articles about Greek mythology. If there was nothing else, Jane was aware of the Christian teachings. If you would ever like to debate this novel--please let me know. This is my all-time favorite novel and I have read it numerous times, taken several classes that studied it, and I also read critical essays, doctorals, etc. written about the novel.