The Victorian age:Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte Bronte was born in 1816, in Haworth. Her mother died in 1821m while, in 1835, Charlotte started working as a teacher.
In 1846, Charlotte and her sisters decided to publish some of their poems under the pseudonym of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. In 1854, she caught the pneumonia – after getting married with Rev. Nicholls. She died during a pregnancy, at the age of 39.
In 1847, Charlotte wrote and published her first novel “Jane Eyre”.
In 1849, she published a novel, whose story is set in Yorkshire, during Napoleonic wars: “Shirley”. Charlotte’s third novel, Violette, published in 1853.
Jane Eyre: The Plot
“Jane Eyre” is included in those works called “novels of Formations”, because it describes Jane’s like starting from her infancy to her childhood.
This novel talks about an orphan, who attends to a boarding school, facing a hard period, in there; after having suffered for a long time, she becomes a teacher and she finds a job, as a private governess to a young girl. During this period, she meets Mr. Rochester (the owner of an old house, Thornfield Hall). After a period of time spent together, he confesses her that he loves her and, for this reason, he proposes her to marry him. At first, Jane accepts his propose, but just before the wedding, she finds out he is already married with another woman, called Bertha Mason. So that, Jane breaks up with Mr. Rochester and comes back to her small village. After some adventures, she knows that Mr. Rochester’s house has burnt down, because of Bertha; it’s her fault, in fact, she set fire to Thornfield Hall and died into it. Although it is a dangerous accident, he is still alive and lives alone, but he is blind because of the fire; finally, Jane decides to come back to him and marries him, for real.
Features of this novel
This novel includes a lot of autobiographical elements: this is due to the use of the first person narrator, which is really useful to readers for noticing some things just told by Jane’s point of view. From a critical point of view, this novel breaks all the rules of the puritanical tradition, which asserts that a respectable woman should not feel the necessity of discovering new feelings and passions. Moreover, this novel embodies some characteristics of the “novel of formation”, together with some of the “Gothic fiction” (for example, the atmosphere, some settings, Bertha’s personality and so on).
Different interpretations of the novel
Lots of critics exposed their theories about a deeper relation between the two female characters: Jane and Bertha, who represent a kind of double-figure. While Bertha is the “mad woman living in the attic”, Jane is the calm teacher, who never loses control of herself.
But, if the reader pays attention, he can notice that both characters are complementary, because madness represents the evil and the irrational side of Jane, in Bertha. In fact, according to mostly of critics, this double-aspect of these women needed Charlotte Bronte for creating a new female identity.