Caged by the Patriarchal Society

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Caged by the Patriarchal Society Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and “Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria” by Sigmund Freud, both show women who exist (one in fiction and the other in reality) about a hundred years from one another. These women have learnt to survive in a world where rigid structure, manipulation, deceit, and loneliness are caused due to the tight control exerted by the patriarchal society. Dora and Jane struggled to escape this cage that was exerted due to male dominance. Dora and Jane Eyre are both objects of manipulation of the patriarchal society who resorted to forms of male dictated “female hysteria” in order to escape the rigid handcuffs placed upon them. Both Dora and Jane are quiet young when they first encounter some kind of hysteria, or symptoms of hysteria. In Jane’s case her first encounter would we the incident at the Red Room (Bronte 12). The Red Room incident is perhaps most important in establishing the rigid structure of patriarchy because we see that the image that appears before her in the ghostly pale moonlight as she imagines is that of her dead uncle, Mr. Reed (Bronte 12). We see earlier in the story that Jane is being punished by Aunt, for “misbehaving” with her cousin John (Bronte 10). The idea that her aunt would lock her away in the Red Room, the place where her husband had lain before his death, shows us what kind of fear her aunt wants to invoke in the child. She believes that were she to put her in the cold chamber, her dead husbands haunting presence will be felt by Jane and perhaps make her more compliant to her whims and demands instead of being a outspoken and intelligent child that Jane shows the potential to be. Through her first illusions in the red room, Jane shows her first symptoms of hysteria, the closed spaces, the extravagant furnishings, the pale moonlight are all symbols of male domination.
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