Literary essay for Jane Eyre

1. Introduction


Jen Eyre’s novel attracted and amazed readers with the image of the protagonist, a brave and pure girl who alone struggles hard for her existence and for her human dignity.

The novel was an important milestone in the history of the fight for women’s equality. This is not yet political equality – even charters did not demand suffrage for women – but equality of a woman and her husband in work and family. In staging the women’s issue and in her own work, Charlotte Bronte was close to the French writer Georges Sand, whose famous novel Consuelo (1842) was very fond of Charlotte Bronte.

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Jen Eyre is a passionate and strong-willed character, a natural protester against all oppression. As a child, she openly rebels against her rich and hypocritical educator and her cruel, spoiled son. At the shelter, in a conversation with the gentle and patient Ellen Burns, she expresses the need for resistance: “When we are beaten for no reason, we must respond with a blow to the blow – otherwise, and cannot be – with such force that it will forever hurt people. beat us! »

No, it is not Christian morality that the poor governess, the daughter of a priest, preached in her book! Not surprisingly, the novel “Jen Eyre” caused outrage in reaction circles. A review published in the Quarterly Review (1848) said: “Jen Eyre is proud, and therefore extremely grateful; God was pleased to make her a lonely and defenseless orphan, and yet she does not thank anyone – neither friends nor the leaders of her helpless youth – for clothing and food, for care and upbringing. Jen Eyre’s autobiography is a completely anti-Christian work. It is taken up by the harness against the comfort of the rich and the deprivation of the poor. ” Then the same author of the review (it was some Miss Rigby) will conclude that the novel “Jen Eyre” is generated by the same rebellious spirit that manifested in Chartism.

2. The theme of the novel “Jen Air”


Jen Eyre’s novel is Charlotte Bronte’s finest work, for in it the writer was fortunate enough to reveal, through her aesthetic system, her understanding of the human ideal.

Charlotte Bronte has repeatedly exchanged views and observations on literature with critic J. Lewis. He tried to channel the talent of the writer to full-length descriptions, to the statement that caught the eye. And the writer does not want to create “accurate daguerreotype portraits of ordinary people”, does not want to paint a fenced off life garden, it is attracted by the wind of life, the vast expanses where a person breathes on full breasts. She considers it necessary, before writing about any phenomena, “to study them in a long and personal experience”, “to deeply and comprehensively learn about their nature and to truly feel the evil that they carry with them.” But this is just one of the conditions for successful creativity, it is its precondition. Starting from personal experience, the writer, according to Bronte, should generalize, typify, obeying the creative imagination.

“You advise me …” she wrote in a letter to J. Lewis, “not to leave a firm ground for my own experience, because I become weaker as I enter the realm of the fictional, and because, as you say,” shared experience is continued interest for all people. ” I also feel that this is true, but, dear sir, is not each person’s experience something very limited? And if the writer resorts only to his own experience, does he not run the risk of repeating himself, will he not turn into an egocentric? In addition, imagination is a powerful restless gift that demands that it be heard and used. ”

It is the creative credo of Charlotte Bronte, the credo of the real-life writer, and was most fully embodied in Jen Eyre’s novel. With the image of Jen Eyre in English literature has entered a new heroine – a woman worker.

Writers are close to the theme and idea of ​​this novel, and the character of the protagonist gives ample opportunity to translate creative ideas.

Jen Eyre is a poor girl, small and unobtrusive, who does not even remember her parents, her wanderings make it possible for the writer to show outside and inside the various layers of society and criticize the English bourgeoisie.

For ten years, Jen lived in the home of her rich cousin Mrs. Reed. The girl was taught to despise poverty. The children who have grown rich, thanks to the education they are given, “do not understand that poverty can be caring, hard working, honest – in their imagination, this word will only knit with rags, poor food, cold chimney, rude customs. and disgusting defects. ” Poverty seemed humiliating to Jane.

But what does a little girl find among the rich, who seemingly must be both good and kind and sincere? Her aunt is a soulless woman, she cannot understand a child who does not look like her own child-poor children, and therefore hates her openly, humiliates and punishes her mercilessly, and then happily delivers to an orphanage. Even dying, she does not give up her hatred, makes no attempt to atone for the great evil that Jen did.

From the aunt’s house, Reed Jen arrives at the Law School, run by Mr Brocklherst (his prototype was curated by Cavan-Bridge Mr Wilson), similar to a black column: his impression was “straight, thin, black,” “face” it’s like a stone mask. ” The “humanity” he manages when arranging at the Law School is rather strange: he tries to teach girls courageously to endure earthly suffering. After all, they are trained in the role of governess-servants of wealthy families, and the goal set by the caregiver is to “teach them endurance, patience and self-denial.” It is no wonder, then, that with such principles of education, the first epidemic has done a terrible job in Loved …

But even children from wealthy families also do not know happiness, false ideas of parents, moral norms of bourgeois society cripple life.

Mrs. Reed’s children grow up worthless and selfish. Losing and drinking, having chosen his mother and sisters, he shortens his age, John. Dry, cold, selfish becomes Eliza. The only thing Georgian is capable of and dreams of is getting married. The sisters hate each other, not even a drop of heat is in them for a dying mother.

For his entire life, Edward Rochester’s deeply unhappy man made his father. The old man “was a voracious mischief … he firmly decided not to divide his estate”, so the whole legacy was to go to his eldest son. And the younger, Edward, was married to money, without even telling him that his fiance was inevitable by the madness …

In Thornfield, John observes a brilliant secular society that dresses in his master’s living room. But even here, the outside gloss lies cold calculation, devastation and soullessness. “They were smiling, laughing – and they were indifferent to me,” Jen recalls. “The candles gave much more radiance than their smile; the ringing of the bell spoke more than their laughter. ” The Blanche Ingram beauty does not seem jealous of Jen because she “was very showy, but lacked naturalness; she was good, and she received a brilliant education, but her mind was poor and her heart was callous. Nothing grew or bloomed on this soil, and therefore could not please you with its fresh fruits. She was not good; she did not feel anything about her, she repeated the loud phrases from the books and never expressed – because she did not have them – her own thoughts. She preached high feelings, but knew neither sympathy nor pity, but tenderness and truth were alien to her. ”

No wonder Mr Thornefield Hall can find a woman worthy of genuine love, neither among the English ladies, nor among the French countess, nor among the Italian Signor, nor among the German Baronesses.
And it is only in the poor, small, ugly governess that he finds the rare qualities he sought in vain among the rich beauties all his life. What is so unusual about Edward Fairfax Rochester, a rich man and gentleman of ancient descent, in poor governess Jen Eyre? Sincerity, and a lively mind, and a good temper, and the artistry of nature, are all very differentiating John from worldly women, but that is not the point. The most important thing for Rochester is that he sees a girl as an equal person. Human dignity, independence, self-love – that’s what attracts him most to Jen.

Even in her childhood, little Jen rebelled against the humble acceptance of suffering and injustice, against the philosophy of non-resistance. It calls for a passionate call for the protection of the human right to defend its dignity. “If it is always good to put up with the one who is bothering you and offending you, evil people will be able to do whatever they want; they will fear no one, change their temper, and will become increasingly evil. When we get hit, we have to hit, too – I stand for it – and then do our best so that no one else wants to beat us. ” And these beliefs, Jen strongly defends her whole life.

3. The idea of ​​equality of people in the novel Jane Eyre


The spirit of protest and independence is also evident in Jen Eyre’s relationship with a loved one. Exhausted by the strange, quirky game that her master entails, Jen is, in fact, the first to tell him about her love. It was unheard of, unacceptable in a Victorian novel!

It is Jen’s explanation of love that takes on the character of a bold declaration of equality. “Do you think that I am an automaton, a car of indifference? .. I have the same soul as yours, and the same heart … I am talking to you now, neglecting customs and conventions and even throwing away all the earthly …”

Becoming the bride of a loved one, on top of happiness, Jen Eyre retains self-control and sobriety. She stands guard of her independence, she is frightened by the transformation into a slave, into a man’s toy. She continues to teach his daughter lessons, rejects the bridegroom’s gorgeous gifts, persistently reminds him that she is poor and ugly (yes, Jen Eyre is ugly – it was also a novelty for an English Victorian novel).

Upon learning that her beloved married, Jen leaves his house and wanders without money on the highways. She has to spend the night in a field, under a haystack. Nobody lets her under the roof, she can’t get bread even in exchange for the expensive scarf. In the land of the unemployed and the homeless, every poor man causes suspicion of thievery in satiated people and condemns to starvation.

The modern reader may be surprised by Jen Eyre’s behavior. After all, Mr. Rochester is bound by marriage ties to a violent madman and, according to English laws, cannot part with her. His unhappiness and his genuine love for Jen would have to break her resistance. He invites her to go with him to Italy, where nobody knows them, and to live happily with him abroad until the end of the day. He will continue to take care of his sick wife. What prevents an endlessly loving Jen from accepting his offer?

Of course, Charlotte Bronte remains the daughter of her century, when any informal union was considered a shame and a crime. But the decision of her heroine is psychologically clear: Jen Eyre is proud and pure in nature; the very idea that all life will have to lie, all life to be away from home, depending on the slightest whim of a despotic and inflammatory (albeit beloved) person, is unbearable for her. And she prefers poverty and separation.

The novel’s extraordinary success was also explained by the courage with which the writer portrays a sense of love; even before writers-men of that era (Dickens and Thackeray) were not taken to such an image. All the more unexpected for the English public was the voice of genuine passion that erupted on the pages of a novel written by a woman, a provincial governess. Rochester is a passion that sweeps all the obstacles, and Jen is a passion that has come to grips with a heightened sense of debt.

The plot of the novel is linked to a long romantic tradition: it is not very believable, although this conceals a kind of charm. Affected reading of Gothic novels and works of romantics. Rochester Castle hiding a dark mystery, the sudden appearance of a horrible woman, a broken wedding, a heroine’s rich inheritance, a fire in which Rochester’s wife dies and his castle is, finally, a happy ending – all in all the canons of an exciting, romantic romance. The image of Rochester is clearly felt byronic features.

But Charlotte Bronte remains realistic at the most important point – in the true and typical portrayal of the social environment, social relations and human characters. The priest’s daughter, she did not stop before the murderous satire for the clergy. The most reflective and grotesque image in the novel is Brocklhurst the priest, the “trustee” and, in fact, the killer of orphan girls at the Law School. Idealized images of priests, meek and distant, flooded with Victorian literature, rejected by Charlotte Bronte, who knew the clerical environment well. In it, she met two types of priests – strict fanatics and family despots (such was her father) and hypocrites who cover their devotional phrases with their devotion to earthly goods. Both of these types are inferred in her novel.

The young pastor of St. John is endowed with beauty and virtue, loyalty to religious duty; but, in fact, it is a pedant and fanatic who sacrifices all living emotions and human relationships. The writer subtly observes even the tinge of dry selfish calculation in the ideals and demands of St. John, in his reflections on the highest Christian debt: by offering Jen Aire marriage without love and joint missionary activity in India, he seeks to acquire humble and humble obedience. No wonder Jen Eyre responds to his angry response: she saw and experienced true love herself and, though running away from her, is now safe from the cold dogmas that humiliate human feelings. Terrestrial passion and earthly happiness attract her, not a self-destructive missionary service. In a fit of anger, she tells St. John that he neglects both himself and his love. How courageous did it take a young writer, the daughter of a pastor, to openly rebel against the religious ideals of self-denial, against the traditional (and at the core of her chauvinistic) glorification of British missionary work!

Equally ruthless Charlotte Bronte and to any manifestation of accumulation, adoration for money. The horrifying story of a marriage that turned into Mr. Rochester into a hopeless tragedy: first, in his youth, he fell victim to a nasty bargaining agreement between two wealthy families who hid his fiancee’s heartfelt illness; then he finds himself tied for life to a terminally ill, mixed woman. The writer here opposes the English state laws on marriage, begins a dispute that will continue such colossi as Galsworthy and Shaw.

The ending of the novel, when Jen Eyre returns to the crippled, blind, impoverished Mr. Rochester and brings him help and solace, turns into a kind of apotheosis of the heroine. The light of Jen Eyre’s sacrificial service to a loved one, as well as the writer’s ability to convey the passion of passion, the depth of issues and emotions that arise in heroes, remove the shade of sweetness and falsity that was usually inherent in the happy end, the happy end of the Victorian novel.

Charlotte Bronte is a landscape master. She saw the world through the eyes of the artist – so she was not only a writer, but also an artist. Beautiful and infinitely diverse landscapes in her novels of her native north of England, all those heathery valleys and hills, then wrapped in a blue haze, then flooded with moonlight, or frozen in by the cold wind.

The idea of ​​equality of people becomes the leitmotif of the book, permeates every page of it, accompanies every thought of the author. The emancipation of a woman, the struggle for her equality with her husband – is only one aspect of this idea. No wonder in the scene of the declaration of love, little Jen vigilantly defends not only her feminine, but above all human dignity. “Do you think that when I am poor, impious, simple and small, I have neither a soul nor a heart? .. You are wrong! .. I have the same soul as you .. and the same heart!”.

4. Tragedy of the plot


Actually, the tragedy of the plot stems from the fact that the heroine over puts her human dignity, she seems humiliating gifts, which showers her Rochester. It is impossible for her happiness, built on deception – it also degrades human dignity. Only faith in the justice of one’s own actions gives Jen the power to hold her head high.

Not in wealth and peace she sees her happiness. For her, the ideal of human happiness is active activity for the benefit of others. Jen is convinced that it is better to be a rural teacher, poor and honest than her mistress’s mistress, comforting with imaginary happiness and then bursting with tears of remorse and shame.

The author gives her heroine a chance to enrich herself without marrying Mr. Rochester (she inherits an uncle from her unknown uncle). But Jen gives up much of her legacy because she doesn’t need the extra wealth, only the minimum that will give her independence. Her main treasure is spiritual treasures. Finding your relatives, doing them well, not being alone, feeling human warmth, and warming others up with their warmth is what matters to her. The writer understands the ideal of service to people humanistically: service does not have to be the sacrifice that a person forces himself to bring to others. It must be embodied in such forms as to enrich the one who gives himself to this service.

Rochester is associated with all the romantic experiences of the heroine, all the mysticism that sometimes appears in the work. These are the strong feelings caused by love, these are dreams that seem to be powerful, these are voices that sound through the distance of time and space … Jen repeatedly states that she is very close to Rochester in her tastes and preferences. Apparently his image and symbolizes himself, gives way to the romance that is characteristic of her nature, but is unable to find a way out in the everyday life of a poor girl.

An organic blend of realistic truth and romantic temperament, sincerity and immediacy are the main “secret” of the appeal of Bronte’s books. “The passionate protest force that her novels breathe makes one forget the shortcomings of her writing skills: the tendency for melodramatism, the exalted sentimentality, the artificial and sometimes helpless techniques that imprint the old-fashioned style on some of her pages.”

Among Russian readers, Charlotte Bronte found numerous adherents of her talent, her novels were translated into Russian immediately after its publication – in 1849 in “Patriotic Notes” was published “Jen Eyre”, after which MG Chernyshevsky recorded in his diary: ” “Very good, it’s just a pity they try to mix tragic scenes here with melodramatic and scary adventures – they shouldn’t have done that.”

5. Conclusions


The best novels of the writer are published now. Together with her great contemporaries, Charlotte Bronte stood at the sources of English critical realism that was so highly regarded by Marx.

“A brilliant galaxy of modern English novelists,” Marx wrote in an article in The New York Tribune, “which, in bright and red-lingual books, revealed more political and social truths to the world than all professional politicians, writers, and moralists combined, of all sections of the bourgeoisie, from the “very noble” rentier and the capitalist who thinks that doing any business is vulgar, and ending with the petty merchant and clerk in the lawyer’s office. What did Dickens and Thackeray, Miss Bronte, and Miss Gaskell describe? As people self-confident, hypocritical, despotic and ignorant; and the civilized world confirmed this sentence with a murderous epigram: “they crawl before those who are higher than them, and behave like tyrants with those who are lower than them.”

It’s been over a hundred years since Charlotte Bronte died. Much has changed in the world, and far, perhaps in other ways, literature has gone. But now, when we take John Eyre off the shelf, we are fascinated by the whirlwind of events and adventures, we obey the intense rhythm of the heroes’ inner lives, and most importantly, the writer’s unwavering belief in the overwhelming force of humanity and justice leads us. Therefore, her works today have not only cognitive and educational significance, but also retain the power of emotional and aesthetic influence – that is, a force inherent only in the works of true art.