Jane Eyre as a Modern Woman In Charlotte Bronte's famous book Jane Eyre, a girl was portrayed that was growing up around the turn of the nineteenth century. Jane was an orphan with no family or friends. She was mistreated and misunderstood by the people around her. Jane seemed doomed for a life of failure, until she decided to stand up for her rights and fight for the life of success she deserved. Jane did many things that women of her time didn't do. She started reading and writing at a young age, talents that most women at the time didn't acquire throughout their entire lives. She also always took matters into her own hands and was in complete control over her life and her destiny. Jane Eyre represents Charlotte Bronte's idea of a modern strong and independent woman because she could use reading and writing skills to make new opportunities for her, work for a living, and wouldn't settle for a loveless marriage.
Initially, Charlotte Bronte shows that Jane represents her idea of a modern woman because she was able to read. Most women of that time period were never schooled. Instead, they stayed home doing housework and depended on their husbands. Jane, on the other hand, was educated and started reading as a little girl in the Reeds' house. For example, before she and John got into a fight, Jane sat down by the window and began reading. "I returned to my book - Bewick's History of British Birds: the letter-press thereof I cared little for, generally speaking..." Another example of how Jane read as a child was when she read a book of Arabian tales after she got in a fight with Mrs. Reed. "I took a book--some Arabian tales; I sat down and endeavored to read." Charlotte Bronte also shows that Jane represents her idea of a modern woman because she can write. Most women of that time would spend their time sewing or housekeeping, but not Jane. She learned how to write at school and used her writing to better her life. She does this by writing an advertisement, which states she's a governess and she gets a new job at Thornfield. "With earliest day, I was up: I had my advertisement written, enclosed, and directed before the bell rang to rouse the school...nearer to my own age."Ã¯Â¿Â½ Another example of Jane's writing was when she was a student at Lowood. She explains that she was writing and figuring out sums on her slate before she dropped it. This is another way Charlotte Bronte shows that Jane is her idea of a modern woman.
Charlotte Bronte shows that Jane represents a modern woman because she is independent and is able to work for a living. Unlike other women, she does not depend on a man to provide shelter and food for her. For example, Jane refuses to live under the orders of Rev. Brocklehurst at Lowood and applies for a new job, because she is not dependent on the school. Instead, Jane puts out an advertisement in the newspaper and acquires a new teaching position. When Jane is hoping that Mrs. Fairfax won't be like Mrs. Reed, she reminds herself that she is an independent, modern woman and that she doesn't have to stay. "I pray God Mrs. Fairfax may not turn out a second Mrs. Reed; but if she does, I am not bound to stay with her: let the worse come to the worst, I can advertise again." This shows that Jane can make her own path in life and is able to take care of herself despite what happens.
Charlotte Bronte emphasizes Jane's independence by contrasting her with the rest of the women who were interested in Rochester. Unlike them, Jane is able to take care of herself and does not aim to get married into wealth. She is in love with Rochester's mind while Blanche is in love with his money. Blanche felt as if it was her duty to seek a wealthy husband, but Jane considers love to be not only spiritual, but also passionate. Jane refuses to better her position through marriage, such as when St. John asks her to accompany him in India as his wife. "Alas! If I join St. John, I abandon half myself; if I go to India, I go to premature death...It is - that he asks me to be his wife, and has no more than a husband's heart for me that that frowning giant of a rock, down which the stream is foaming in yonder gorge. He prizes me as a soldier would a good weapon, and that is all." Jane Eyre is shown to be an independent and strong woman because she will not settle for a loveless marriage.
Ultimately, Charlotte Bronte shows that Jane represents her idea of a modern woman because of the many ways she expresses herself to be strong and independent. Jane is able to read and write, so instead of staying at home doing housework she was able to create an independent lifestyle for herself. She was strong enough to work for a living, and she possessed a strong opinion about what marriage should be about. Jane did not like to follow the orthodox way of doing things. She chose to live her life her way, not the way women of her time traditionally did, and didn't let anything stop her from being a modern woman. Charlotte Bronte shows that Jane represents her idea of a modern woman because she does things her way, not the way she is supposed to do things.