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Women`s Studies. Nov. 6

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McMaster University
Grace Kehler

November 6 Jane Eyre: - How to read status contradiction, and class hierarchy. - Re-erection of hierarchies: o Jane begins teaching a Moorhouse, “heavy gaping rustics”  Class seems to come back as a marker of merit, despite her tendency to question it o After she has married Rochester, she identifies that a solid English education has almost fixed Adele’s French flaws  Class and foreignness. o Her cousin St. John River, uses religious diction to coalesce against her  To what extent can this novel be seen as an exposure of tyranny, o Rochester as a literal slave master – part of the plantocracy – how does this relate to Mary Prince  To what extent does the novel ultimate retreat to/conserve existing dominant notions of class and merit? o The novel allows for passionate self fulfillment of the central protagonists, Jane &Rochester, on term though, that do not upend social constructs.  John Reed, Mrs. Reed, Brocklehurst all deposed, she finds her fortune and acceptance and becomes  Merit and rank become one and the same, - references to domestic slavery are subsumed into a feeling of uneasiness. o The ridding of scenes of emotional subjugation, competition and querying of kinship, how it gives safety in the world juxtaposed with the potential for the opposite. - The Enigma of Bertha (and what she represents). o (before the sham wedding)Jane describes Bertha as fearsome and ghastly, discoloured, o After she sees her, she is described as bestial, vampyric, a figure running back and forth, beast or human, grovelling, snarling, grizzled, feral force; violent unreasonable temper, vices, pygmy intellect, depraved. o What use is being made of Bertha? How does this attach to her ‘creole identity’ (according to Rochester).  Placed in a limital space between human and bestial.  She is marked by the British anxiety of what happened to long term effects of colonists remaining in the West Indies. West Indies as a place of dehumanization, a place of degradation  The heat becomes a characteristic which fosters broken mind, indulgence, inherently corruptive. Linking it to a kind of moral madness, a lack of self- regulation.  Bertha passes a white, initially, an heiress and attractive woman; women of the West Indies were presumed to becomes masculine, she bears many marks of foreignness, and is made to bear the vision of intemperance, and is sequestered.  She is the novel’s image of the corrupt. She is both a threat within the house, but also the fearful spectre of the British Empire that breaks out. She is associated with both blood and fire, associated imagery wise with slave revolts. o Gothic elements, haunting, spectralization, deal with the nineteenth century concern with self-division. Important and repeated agenda of the gothic desire to explore the protean nature of self-identity. Characterized with a perverse fascination with the gruesome in relation to the self. An facet of inquiry into British morality, how sanctioned authority has failed to uphold the safety of various groups. Often inquires and undermines traditional hierarchies and solutions. Gothic also repeated inquires about the way the monstrous is constantly disowned, and how the disowned is the double of the self, rather than the opposite – often happening in characters that perceives themselves as legitimate and places illegitimacy on others.  Consistent underpinning of violence in the descriptions of Rochester from the beginning. – he and Bertha are both infuriated with a society, constantly defying social and law procedures. Both are intemperate, defy social conventions, and ultimately stand as those that can be both victimised and victimizer.  Bertha’s roo
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