Charlotte Bronte vs. Jane Eyre
It has been said that Jane Eyre is a story ahead of its time, a novel representing feminism and class systems. Jane Eyre is clearly a critique of assumptions about both gender and social class. However, for the time it was written it’s difficult to label Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre as a feminist novel and not just a story about a woman who overcomes hardships in her life. I began to think about this as I learned more about the author, the creator of Jane Eyre. Through knowledge of Charlotte Bronte I discovered how much Jane’s and Charlotte’s lives parallel one another. I believe that by presenting these parallels I will be able to show that Charlotte Bronte’s true passion was to write good books and that Jane is simply a reflection of the author.
Charlotte Bronte’s childhood was not the happiest of ones. She was motherless with a controlling, strict father who thought of Charlotte and her siblings as nuisances. Charlotte and her siblings were raised by their Aunt. Jane is raised by her Aunt Reed, who, like Charlotte Bronte's Aunt, does so only out of a sense of duty. Some biographies state that Mr. Bronte isolated and confined his children to the home because he was cruel while others say he didn’t want them to become independent therefore able to begin their own lives. Regardless, Charlotte was sheltered and had limited knowledge of the world. Charlotte and her siblings would compose their own stories as means of entertainment. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the plot and characters mentioned in Jane Eyre reflect Bronte’s own life.
Charlotte went to school at Cowan Bridge, which was the inspiration for Lowood. In Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Bronte it is said that Charlotte had confessed the relationship between the schools, “[Bronte claimed] she should not have written what she did of Lowood in Jane Eyre, if she had thought the place would have been so immediately identified...