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ENGLISH 2K06 Lecture Notes - Plantocracy, Mary Prince, Moral Example

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Grace Kehler

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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
- The Enigma of Bertha (and what she represents).
o (before the sham wedding)Jane describes Bertha as fearsome and ghastly,
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-
Bertha passes a white, initially, an heiress and attractive woman; women of
the West Indies were presumed to becomes masculine, she bears many
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