Where the Men Rule: An Analysis of Masculinity in Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre depicts the journey of a young and lonely girl as she matures into an independent woman. Jane grows from an emotional orphan under the strict rules of her despised Aunt’s household into a mature woman, with the ability to think for herself and realize what she should deserve. However, as she matures, her interactions with various male characters in her journey to becoming independent put her in a subordinate position to each. While these characters prove to be valuable to the mental toughness and maturity she gains as an adult, each claims some hold of superiority, whether it is physical strength, an emotional hold, or in personality and character, over Jane. Though Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre is meant to be a feminist novel which challenges the status of women during the Victorian Age, Bronte puts women in a degraded position, through the portrayal of Jane and her relationships with John Reed, Mr. Brocklehurst, Mr. Rochester and St. John Rivers.
At a young age, Jane’s parents died and left her in the care of her Uncle Reed, the brother of Jane’s mother. Jane’s mother was hated by almost everyone of her family, other than her dear brother, because of her marriage to a poor man by the name of Eyre. As the only one who cared for her mother, Uncle Reed adopted Jane Eyre and gave her the best care possible until he died. Afterwards, Jane received only the worst, most pernicious treatment possible from Mrs. Reed, her daughters Georgiana and Eliza, and her son, John. The relationship Bronte creates between Jane and her cousin John is the initial example of a woman’s inferiority to a man in the novel. Bronte demonstrates that Jane is essentially afraid of her cousin and depicts that John is superior to her; in this case, Jane is inferior in physical strength and power and not necessarily personality or character.
John had not much affection for his mothers and sisters, and an antipathy to...