Jane Eyre - Theme Of Female Restraint

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade September 2001

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The theme of female restraint is manifested in Jane Eyre both physically and metaphorically from many sources, and is central to understanding the course of events that take place throughout the story. Throughout Jane Eyre, Bronte explores and dissects the restraints of her society on the intellectual, spiritual and emotional lives young women, from early on in their lives to when they reach adulthood, and the effects that these restraints have in shaping their character. The rigid and confining Victorian hierarchies of social class and gender serves to challenge the freedom and personal growth of young women, and restrict their abilities to realize their dreams and aspirations for themselves. From the beginning of the novel, we are presented with Jane as a young child that is exceptional in her perception of the nature of those around her. It is precisely these attributes that allow her to prevail in the end by overcoming the obstacles in her path that prevent her from realizing her dreams, and as a result making her one of the best-loved female protagonists and one of the most powerful symbols of Victorian feminine empowerment in English Literature.

The female protagonist of the story is a passionate young woman named Jane who rebels against the confining customs of her society, and in particular toward women. The passion that is contained within her drives her to react to the events around with a spontaneity that suggests that she is deeply aware of the injustices committed against her.

However, the passion within her is viewed by those around her as a dangerous force, and it s only when this passion is tamed at the end of the story can she embrace society's conceptions of what it means to be a "˜true woman'. Jane Eyre is set in a society with...