Bronte The Anti Misogynistic Atheist?

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From the year of 1992 to the year of 2014 the amount of people that identified as non-religious surged from a mear 2% to a high 22%(Beinart). In the Victorian era the separation between church and state was non existent and this bled into the historical accuracy of the novel. A crucial word that encumbered the female experience during this time period would have been submissive. To be submissive in all ways. A sense of submissiveness to God and submissiveness to a man in a monogamous relationship. Not to deduce the act of submission without encompassing the role of socioeconomics in which Jane experienced throughout the novel. In the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte the Victorian morality rules and reforms are not neglected but carefully toyed with to create a sense of besiege on conventional beliefs in the Victorian era. Since Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre sets aside traditional victorian ideals to help explain the feminist slant, the author created a book that all people should read due to it’s sly attacks on masculinity and christian values and how in today’s society religion and equality are at the forefront of intellectual conversations.

In the setting of this novel, the victorian era insinuates that the man in a relationship was seen as the pinnacle of control. Throughout the novel Bronte commands the narrative with an iron fist and heeds the guidelines that writers, woman writers especially, should follow to create a popular book and a still rightfully challenging book that undermines the precedents set by society. This book attacks masculinity by simple descriptions with underlying themes of animosity toward opposite sex.

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“Had he been a handsome, heroic-looking young gentleman, I should not have dared to stand thus questioning him against his will, and offering my services unasked . . . I had a theoretical reverence and homage for beauty, elegance, gallantry, fascination; but had I met those qualities incarnate in masculine shape…” (Bronte, 97)

The author describes her “homage” for the delicacy of her services by using light and proper terms, yet when she alludes to the masculine form it is abrupt and halts the waterfall of elegant words. In the book when Jane comes back from her mission trip to India she uncovers that Rochester had an accident and lost his hand and sight, therefore Jane feels the responsibility to take care of him just as she did with her aunt. This comparison helps explain the difference in viewpoints Bronte had on men and women in a time where men were seen as all knowing or the opium of truth. When someone has an injury or a physical ailment Jane feels equal or even superior to them. This fixation Bronte uses helps create the sense of inequality between the sexes. This is interesting in the fact that women are supposedly known to be inferior to men so when she is the only one supporting Rochester she finally feels like she is equal to a man. Though Jane perceives men to be hard changed from the constructs of society she still sees the honest side to Rochester all due to Brontes thirst for change of men with victorian state of minds implemented. This is also expressed in the birth of Jane and Rochester’s son. Bronte made the child a boy due to the perception that a boy, man, born pure with a mother and father, that had sight toward the power of women, could bring a new mentality toward a caste system of broken stereotypes and despicable sexist assumptions.

Furthermore, Brontes stylistic choices helps eloquently disguise her animosity toward religion. Throughout the novel Bronte shapes Janes experiences with underlying jabs to religion and Christianity as a whole. Throughout Janes life religion is seen as the origin of most of her childhood trauma. For instance, the incident with Mr. Brocklehurst and Janes fellow classmate showed the hypocrisy of religion.


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