AN ANALYSIS OF JANE EYRE
THE VICTORIAN VALUES IN JANE EYRE
Although usually novels give specific information about the period when they were written, Charlotte Bronte reflected Jane Eyre almost all the physical, sociological and psychological characteristics and values of The Victorian Period. Class struggle is a major aspect of Victorian Society but it includes some other themes such as gender issues, working and living conditions,education. And also it indicates distinctly Victorian values, standards of living in Victorian Society. The Victorian novelists incorporated ideas gender, industrialization,empire, cultural problems, class issues. They have multi-plot centered characters in terms of characterization, there are multiple characters.
The first one of the features of Victorian novels,Jane Eyre is published in serial and chapter forms, because it is a way to access easier and cheaper. Jane is a typical Victorian character, who is both poor and orphan. The heroin of the Victorian novel generally encounters several painful situations that are connected with her position as a governess. Her life is full of misery, pain, and alienation. Usually, the protagonist faces trouble with her employers or her pupils and servants, visitors often make her miserable. Despite all the difficulties she has experienced, despite loneliness, she will find happiness by marrying Rochester, eventually. Her infertile life at home is symbolized with “leafless shrubbery” in the novel. It is a clear indication of her isolation, physically and spiritually cold atmosphere in the house. She is always oppressed and suppressed by Mrs.Reed.On one side Jane who is isolated, suffering from loneliness, rebellious on the other hand, other children are quite happy. Jane is prevented from having her cousin’s privileges. She is expected to keep her silence, it is a technique of oppressing a little child. The novel highlights the gender issue and the strict social class hierarchy. The Victorian novelists mostly focus on the relationship between the individual and society. The characters in Victorian novels are mostly blends of virtue and wise. They are not a virtue, they are not sinful but they are presented to the reader as blends of virtue and wise in a realistic way. Although John is more or less at the same age as John, he and his mother do their best to torture Jane. He acts patriarchal boy as if he were her Master in this quote and his mother how supports him.”You have no business to take our books; you are a dependent, mama says; you have no money.”Since she does not belong to upper-class society, she does not have money, Jane has nothing to do in this society. Jane is always suffering from utilitarianism which is one of the basic values of Victorian novels.John Reed always prefers to choose insulting words such as “Rat! Rat! “.It is associated with lower animals, in the same way, Jane is associated with lower animals because of her class consciousness. Despite everything she has experienced, she is brave enough to oppose patriarchy and not bow to anyone. Jane has an inner complex because of physical differences with John. She is always questioning all differences in her mind.
Another Victorian value is gothic and supernatural elements. Jane is captured by fear, horror, and terror. She is haunted by the ghost of Mr.Reed in his death chamber. The first gothic element is seen in her captivity in the red room. Red is associated with an evil nightmare but the symbol of colors goes on changing their meaning, they go on transforming from one mood to another which means the color red does not have a static meaning. These are other values of Victorian Era which is about setting in motion. The clearest value of the Victorian Era is that the reader witnesses the developmental stages of the character from childhood period to maturity and follows the natural growth of personality and moral earnestness which is a feature of bildungsroman. Throughout the novel, the reader differentiates the young Jane and old Jane. On the one hand, she has been trying to forgive Mrs.Reed for what she did during her young age to herself, on the other hand, she must have a terrible blow in her mind. The reader makes easily empathy with the protagonist, understands how such kind of trauma can have some bad effects upon her mind and body. A convincing development in character could be achieved by newly moving heroin from one situation to another. The governess goes on moving from one will come across the same situation in Jane Eyre. She is always at the center of attention as a middle-class woman who is earning money. Because of her intermediate position, the governess heroine differs from most other female characters in 19th-century fiction. The author or the narrator while narrating his story stops and begins to address his reader. Mostly he begins his or her address “Dear reader” and also the narrator begins to make his comments about the events, about the characters, about the reader like in Jane Eyre.
In conclusion, Charlotte Bronte reflects successfully the Victorian Novel features with his protagonist and also generally her novel Jane Eyre. Almost all Victorian values can be easily seen in this novel such as publishing in a serial form, poor orphan and rebellious character, several plots and characters, full and detailed descriptions, witnessing Jane’s growth from childhood to maturity period, realistic everyday world, class struggle, etc.