Great literature resonates with us not only because of well-developed characters and plots, but also because it often reflects important social themes; these books explore a work of literature through the lens of the major issue reflected in it.; ; This series brings together the disciplines of sociology and literature in a unique format designed to support cross-curricular studies. Each volume explores a work of literature through the lens of the major social issue reflected in it, and features car
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Background on Charlotte Brontë
1 The Fight for Independence as Student, Governess, and Writer Herbert J. Rosengarten 17
Charlotte Brontë was reared in Haworth, England, attended boarding school, worked as a governess, went to study abroad, and returned to Haworth to become a novelist.
2 The Brontë Sisters at Cowan Bridge School Elizabeth Gaskell 29
Lowood School in Jane Eyre was universally recognized as Cowan Bridge School, which the four Brontë girls attended, two of them dying from conditions there.
Chapter 2 Jane Eyre and Woman's Search for Independence
1 Female Independence as a Central Theme in Jane Eyre Inga-Stina Ewbank 40
In the course of Jane's rebellious pursuit of economic and inner independence, she trades in the traditional religion of the patriarchy for an Earth Mother.
2 Vision and Power in Jane Eyre Peter J. Bellis 48
Unlike the subjugated women of her day, Jane Eyre develops her own independent vision, incorporating it into her autobiography.
3 Parallels Between Colonialism and Female Oppression Susan L. Meyer 54
Brontë equates and abhors English colonialism and the lack of female independence.
4 The Harem Slave and Rochester and Jane Joyce Zonana 63
Jane Eyre is filled with references to oriental enslavement in harems, similar to Jane's vision of what life would be like as Rochester's mistress.
5 From Patriarchy to Matriarchy Nancy Pell 72
The heart of Jane Eyre is a young woman's lifelong struggle for justice and independence within a religious-based patriarchy.
6 Balancing Romance and Independence Jean Wyatt 79
Outwardly Jane battles in a patriarchy for her self-identity and independence but inwardly never loses her passion for her patriarchal lover.
7 Romance Is Not Compatible with Freedom Melodie Monahan 87
In Jane Eyre, Jane's attempt to free herself from society's oppression of women is in sharp conflict with romance with masculine despots.
8 Sexual Awakening and Freedom John Maynard 95
Jane's fight for independence involves her sexual awakening and her attempt to keep passion from making her a slave.
9 Religion as a Tool of Justification Margaret Howard Blom 103
Jane always makes decisions in her own best interest, using religion only as a justification for her acts but refusing to obey Christian dictates.
10 Class Restrictions on Jane's Independence Terry Eagleton 110
The lower-middle-class: Jane is conflicted about a class system that regards her as a servant and refuses to accommodate her search for independence.
11 Revolution with an Undertone of Conservatism Parama Roy 120
Jane Eyre is basically a revolutionary, fighting against social and religious tradition for her independence; yet there is an undercurrent of conservatism.
Chapter 3 Contemporary Perspectives on Female Independence
1 Finding Independence and Embracing Feminism Rosanna Eang 129
A young woman in a culture that teaches women to be dependent and obedient, emerges from poverty to find her independent self.
2 The Case Against Marriage Jessica Bennett Jesse Ellison 136
All the old reasons for a woman to marry and relinquish her independence are now irrelevant.
3 A Matriarchal Society Is Not Imminent Katha Pollitt 143
Women who strive for education and create strategies for improvement are progressing, but inequality of and demeaning cultural attitudes toward women still create burdens for them.
4 Women Must Take Ownership of Their Finances Suze Orman 147
A woman's wise control of her money is the path to true independence and fulfillment and has a direct effect on self-esteem and the lives of those she loves.
For Further Discussion 154
For Further Reading 155