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Thread: Jane Eyre essay (comments are welcome!)

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    Jane Eyre essay (comments are welcome!)

    Thank you very much for helping. I deleted my essay because I don't want it to be available for plagiarism! -not by you guys, but by lazy students!-

    If anyone who has helped me out (sciencefan, kiki1982 or ksotikoula) is interested in reading my rather amateur piece of work (hard to imagine) I should be pleased to send it to you if you let me know!

    Thank you all very much!
    Last edited by regularjoe; 03-09-2009 at 03:00 PM. Reason: Thank you very much for helping. I deleted my essay because I don't want it to be available for plagiarism! -sorry!-

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    Woman from Maine sciencefan's Avatar
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    I liked your essay. I agreed with all your points.
    I only saw a couple of technical mistakes in that a couple of commas were in the wrong place... there being a space between the word and the comma that followed it. Excellent essay. Well done.
    .
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    I became a widow in April of 2009.

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    You are very right in stating that there must be a few criteria for Jane to come together with a husband. But I do not quite agree on that her independence is enhanced by Rochester’s blindness…

    Hallo, mijn beste! Ik veronderstel dat je Nederlands spreekt.

    Indeed, it is right to state that he cannot anymore order her to do something, because he cannot see that it is done anyway… But on the other hand, although he is blind, he is still the husband. As such all the money Jane inherited (unless a marriage contract were made that stated it otherwise, which is unlikely because there were only three days to do that in…) is his. As such, Jane still is ‘his’ wife and he has the same authority over her as when he was not blind. Only that authority of course is not desired by him to be exercised. The ‘perfect concord’ which Jane and Rochester attain is not a result of his blindness, or any physical problem, but of his mindset. He no longer has the arrogance to think that he is superior. In that, he may now be the husband, but does not misuse that position. He lets her lead him and does not demand to be led. He now listens to her, instead of telling her what to do. His physical inability does not have anything to do with that. As Jane says he is no ruin but a safe prop where other plants will find good support. In other words, he is a little damaged, but is no less of a man than he was. The only thing that has changed is the fact of the idea of superiority. It has gone when he is blind, but will not return when he can see again and is not anymore totally dependent on Jane. Before, he felt superior to Jane, not only for her situation (as they called it: her status), but also for her becoming ‘his’ wife. The only thing that mattered was he and his decision. He said they were going to travel, he said he was going to buy her dresses, he said they were going to marry (even), he said he did not have a wife. Later, he does not have that mindset anymore and seems to respect her wishes as well. Not because he is dependent on her because of his inability, but because of his mindset. Admittedly he thinks Jane is going to marry (St John) Rivers, but only because he presumes that she will want an able man. He considers himself not worthy to be a husband anymore and does not want the attendance of a nurse because there his (gentlemanly) pride still has an issue. When Jane then gives him to understand that he is still an able man who will offer support to the ones around him he jumps at the chance and becomes a loving husband.

    ‘Reader, I married him,’ is very seducing and it has been widely considered as a feminist statement about Jane’s superiority because men did the marrying. But we need to consider that Mrs Fairfax asks Jane the morning after the proposal: ‘And you have accepted him?’ The same sentence Rochester says during his proposal: ‘Accept me quickly.’ If put in context, Jane Austen thirty years before talks about Lizzy having Mr Collins, and Lizzy accepting Darcy’s hand. Mr Bennet talks both about accepting him and having him. Rochester asks Jane if she will marry him. In that it is not at all strange that it says ‘reader, I married him’. Maybe men offered (which was considered a compliment in a time with a lot more women than men due to the Napoleonic wars), but a woman was allowed to refuse. Elizabeth Bennet famously refuses twice: once on the ground incompatibility, but once on a more important basis. They were not at all forced to agree and thus it was at least as much the woman’s decision as it was the man’s. Charlotte herself at least refused two proposals. The refusal of St John should also be seen in that light, as Jane considers the two of them incompatible as a couple. They love each other as brother and sister, but for her there needs to be something more to have a good marriage (which you addressed), but also compatibility of mind to avoid irritation.

    I do not think the superiority/equality of Rochester lies in his physical appearance or blindness, or even in Jane’s independence with the money she inherited. Unless a marriage contract was made before the wedding (which I stated is highly unlikely), which granted her the exclusive usage of her property and generated income which would have allowed her to divorce Rochester and still be independent, the money would have become Rochester’s upon her ‘yes’. He could still have terrorised her if he wanted, because he had to conduct the business, which of course had to go through her hands (as she presumably wrote his letters), but which had to have his approval. Other than that it was possible for him to engage personnel to do just that task and ban Jane from any business whatsoever. In that, she is as dependent on him as he is dependent on her: if he wants something she does not want she can refuse to write the letter, but if she wants something he does not want he refuses his signature. For a good marriage, in any era, concord is needed. As such, Rochester’s superiority does not change with his physical disability to see and the loss of his right hand, but rather with the acknowledgement of Jane as his equal and not ‘his’ wife which is in his mind and not in his appearance.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sciencefan View Post
    I liked your essay. I agreed with all your points.
    I only saw a couple of technical mistakes in that a couple of commas were in the wrong place... there being a space between the word and the comma that followed it. Excellent essay. Well done.
    Thank you for your comments. I will peruse the essay once again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    You are very right in stating that there must be a few criteria for Jane to come together with a husband. But I do not quite agree on that her independence is enhanced by Rochester’s blindness…

    Hallo, mijn beste! Ik veronderstel dat je Nederlands spreekt.

    Indeed, it is right to state that he cannot anymore order her to do something, because he cannot see that it is done anyway… But on the other hand, although he is blind, he is still the husband. As such all the money Jane inherited (unless a marriage contract were made that stated it otherwise, which is unlikely because there were only three days to do that in…) is his. As such, Jane still is ‘his’ wife and he has the same authority over her as when he was not blind. Only that authority of course is not desired by him to be exercised. The ‘perfect concord’ which Jane and Rochester attain is not a result of his blindness, or any physical problem, but of his mindset. He no longer has the arrogance to think that he is superior. In that, he may now be the husband, but does not misuse that position. He lets her lead him and does not demand to be led. He now listens to her, instead of telling her what to do. His physical inability does not have anything to do with that. As Jane says he is no ruin but a safe prop where other plants will find good support. In other words, he is a little damaged, but is no less of a man than he was. The only thing that has changed is the fact of the idea of superiority. It has gone when he is blind, but will not return when he can see again and is not anymore totally dependent on Jane. Before, he felt superior to Jane, not only for her situation (as they called it: her status), but also for her becoming ‘his’ wife. The only thing that mattered was he and his decision. He said they were going to travel, he said he was going to buy her dresses, he said they were going to marry (even), he said he did not have a wife. Later, he does not have that mindset anymore and seems to respect her wishes as well. Not because he is dependent on her because of his inability, but because of his mindset. Admittedly he thinks Jane is going to marry (St John) Rivers, but only because he presumes that she will want an able man. He considers himself not worthy to be a husband anymore and does not want the attendance of a nurse because there his (gentlemanly) pride still has an issue. When Jane then gives him to understand that he is still an able man who will offer support to the ones around him he jumps at the chance and becomes a loving husband.

    ‘Reader, I married him,’ is very seducing and it has been widely considered as a feminist statement about Jane’s superiority because men did the marrying. But we need to consider that Mrs Fairfax asks Jane the morning after the proposal: ‘And you have accepted him?’ The same sentence Rochester says during his proposal: ‘Accept me quickly.’ If put in context, Jane Austen thirty years before talks about Lizzy having Mr Collins, and Lizzy accepting Darcy’s hand. Mr Bennet talks both about accepting him and having him. Rochester asks Jane if she will marry him. In that it is not at all strange that it says ‘reader, I married him’. Maybe men offered (which was considered a compliment in a time with a lot more women than men due to the Napoleonic wars), but a woman was allowed to refuse. Elizabeth Bennet famously refuses twice: once on the ground incompatibility, but once on a more important basis. They were not at all forced to agree and thus it was at least as much the woman’s decision as it was the man’s. Charlotte herself at least refused two proposals. The refusal of St John should also be seen in that light, as Jane considers the two of them incompatible as a couple. They love each other as brother and sister, but for her there needs to be something more to have a good marriage (which you addressed), but also compatibility of mind to avoid irritation.

    I do not think the superiority/equality of Rochester lies in his physical appearance or blindness, or even in Jane’s independence with the money she inherited. Unless a marriage contract was made before the wedding (which I stated is highly unlikely), which granted her the exclusive usage of her property and generated income which would have allowed her to divorce Rochester and still be independent, the money would have become Rochester’s upon her ‘yes’. He could still have terrorised her if he wanted, because he had to conduct the business, which of course had to go through her hands (as she presumably wrote his letters), but which had to have his approval. Other than that it was possible for him to engage personnel to do just that task and ban Jane from any business whatsoever. In that, she is as dependent on him as he is dependent on her: if he wants something she does not want she can refuse to write the letter, but if she wants something he does not want he refuses his signature. For a good marriage, in any era, concord is needed. As such, Rochester’s superiority does not change with his physical disability to see and the loss of his right hand, but rather with the acknowledgement of Jane as his equal and not ‘his’ wife which is in his mind and not in his appearance.
    Very profound insights and a very cogent argument! Thank you very much!

  6. #6
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    I am glad to be of service.

    About the marriage contract:

    I consider it as unlikely because at the end Rochester mentions the acquisition of a license which cut the calling of the banns (normally three weeks prior to being able to marry, a measure still done in church so as to be sure that there was no impediment that anyone knew about) short. A license required the groom to swear that there was no impediment (which was of course impossible for the first wedding) and allowed the couple after that to marry straight away. As Jane and Rochester do.

    If Charlotte is as meticulous so as to mention the acquisition of a license (which is trivial as all readers would have known about the possibility existing), I think she would have been meticulous about a marriage contract... And she doesn't mention it.

    And, there only being two full days for it, I don't think it was possible at all to have the right papers, find a lawyer and have a contract in a little place as Millcote, up in Yorkshire...
    Last edited by kiki1982; 03-09-2009 at 12:33 PM.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    ksotikoula ksotikoula's Avatar
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    Hi Regularjoe!
    I liked your essay and I agree with most parts, but I would like the structure to be a little different, built around a central binding skeleton. For me Jane's absolutely first priority in marriage is Love. This is the incentive to go for it anyway. She doesn't care if she marries at all, so she has no preconceptions (unlike most women of her age whose marriage was their profession), but she must be wedded to the man she loves, when she finds him, because she is both an ethical and religious person and despite society's limitations she has to live in it. And then you can bind all this you have mentioned already defining what love means for Jane:

    - finding a soul mate, a person with that she feels akin and comfortable with and loved by him, but not a person absolutely similar to her because that would be boring (opposites attract too).

    - expression love with its psychological definition of accepting the other as he is and not impending his freedom or personality, something that she expects too of her husband (I will just be myself, she says to Rochester). She has struggled enough to find out who she is and now she has to see that identity moving into a relationship. Love is important but not to the point of losing yourself, becoming a slave or feel humiliated by it's bondage.
    Passion is desirable and without guilt but it should not be as excessive as blinding reason. Independence of all kinds (of the mind, the body, the financial one) is important to preserve that identity.

    - her insistence on honesty and equality in her dealings with her husband. She doesn't mind his despotic nature, once she knows he respects her, but dislikes playing games or manipulating him (something she has to do when they live at Thornfield), so in the end when he too confronts her more openly and truthfully than ever he deserves her truth and love because he plays with his cards open too.

    And then you can present her least ideal marriage with St John that doesn't complete any of her demands not even honesty, because he doesn't claim her exactly for God's work, but hypocritically he needs her to help him in his ambition and he doesn't offer anything in reward: the kingdom of heaven is not his to give after all.
    "Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not match the expectation." - Charlotte Bronte (Villette)

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    Thank you all very much for your help! I have decided to write the second essay about Tennyson.

    Question posed: "How do any of Tennyson' spoems explore female identity?". I shall focus on The Lady of Shalott.


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    i enjoyed the movie of 2006 of Jane Eyre
    Last edited by lamie; 02-05-2014 at 06:21 PM.

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