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Lecture 3

ENGL 2103 Lecture 3: Jane Eyre (Pt. 1)

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Carleton University
ENGL 2103
Henderson Jennifer

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Essay: Due Feb 3rd (Friday) 1200-1400 words Narration, diction, figurative language, different movements or sections of the passage and how they work in sequence Use quotation or paraphrases *** REMEMBER: my copy has different page numbers (on average about 10-15 pages ahead) Bildungsroman: Protagonist doesn’t even have a family identity or financial standing She has no pre-supposed identity Identity: Pg 106 (115 in my version): Janes asks Mrs Fairfax about : Mrs fairfax is concerned with external qualities (money, land - factors of the social class/property), whereas Jane is looking for interior qualities The culture puts forth the idea that individuals are original and can be defined by what is inside them: having a character who owns nothing makes it easier to notice what she accumulates on the inside The Surname ‘Eyre’: Movement, spiritedness, strength, fairy, ire, eyrie, eery Puns of ‘eyre’: air, err(or), heir There are contradictions: conceptions of liberty, Jane is compared to a captive “rebel slave” Also a capacity for anger and has the possibility of being an heir to her uncle’s wine merchant business Fairy: in the red-room she sees an unfamiliar version of herself that is associated with an alien or fairy. Rochester later asks what kind of ‘being’ she is. Notion that what Jane is cannot be seen from the outside or grasped in a material way The First Name ‘Jane’: Plain-Jane, Jane-Doe: generic, regular, English (nothing foreign about her) Ordinariness of ‘Jane' with the surname ‘Eyre’ has tension and contradiction When Jane puts an advertisement out in the newspaper she uses her initials ‘J.E.’: which is ‘je’ = ‘I’, the story of ‘I’ = defining herself Jane is defined by her inner division between passion and reason Jane’s Cycles: Passion freed —> passion restrained —> and again Gateshead > Lowood > Thornfield The first freeing of passion happens in the red-room: Bessie leaves her with the idea that she has a new ‘voice' Passion is restrained again at Lowood: Burns is a sort of martyr; Jane should find a balance Gateshead: the beginning, up high Lowood: a low, terrorized by being open to the ridicule of others Exposure of institution to public scrutiny: reform of public constitution parallels Jane's inner changes Bildungsroman With Passion: Bronte adds an element she thought the genre lacked: her rage, desire (sexual and otherwise) Bildung = growth, roman = novel: growth from childhood into adulthood Protagonist has to pass through alienation from the social world: progression is usually an adaptation of the self to the constraints of the social world, OR two halves of the self become integrated How do you hold on to interior values as you learn to be a modern citizen? Affirms a modern, liberal, capitalist order The protagonist can have no accomplishments that stem from worth Process of growth is organic: seen in the cycles of passion that are giving freedom and then constrained Bildungsromans: often written when the author is writing during a change in social conventions. For Bronte it is between 18th C and 19th C Explores what educated women can do in the world (esp. when she’s not married) How to write a story about development when the expected end-goal of the time is marriage? Rochester has upper-class friends staying at Thornfield and Jane hears them talking about governesses: governesses caused social anxiety to people because they earned a wage outside of the home. There were separate spheres for women (private) and men (public) The governess: her sphere is private but also public (it is in someone is in another’s home). They were thought to be susceptible to sexual feelings towards their employers Jane reminds Rochester that they are equals in the work contract: he can use a stern voice with her but only because it is a part of her job Bronte and Publication: Bronte was a poet and a novelist Mother died when she was 5 and she and her sisters were sent to a charity school where 2 of her sisters died She and her last sister and brother would write fantasy stories together Went on to work
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