Jane Eyre

The Role of Women in Victorian Society through the Character Jane Eyre
            In Victorian society, women were prisoners of their own gender; they lived under the constraints placed upon them by dominating men and the rules of society. The ideal woman of the time would be one who knew her place, obeyed her husband, and did not defy what was expected of her. When one is placed under such difficult standards, feelings of frustration and rebellion grow. These feelings manifest themselves in the writing of the time, particularly in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. In this work, the protagonist Jane fights against the oppression and restraints placed upon her by dominating men and society.
            Jane’s youth at Gateshead is characterized by her dealing with societal restraints and dominating male figures; this was typical for many women in Victorian society. At a young age Jane was made painfully aware of the fact that her gender and financial status made her a lesser person than the Reeds on many occasions. As said in Chapter one by Miss Abbott to Jane, “ You ought not to think yourself on an equality with the Misses Reed and Master Reed. They will have a great deal of money, and you will have none.” (10) This one example shows that because Jane was poor, she was considered to be less than her aunt and cousins; particularly her male cousin John Reed, based on her financial situation.
            While at Lowood School, Jane continued to receive unfair treatment due to dominating male figures and her financial standing. Mr. Brocklehurst, the principal of the school serves as an example of a man with power trying to control Jane. Mr. Brocklehurst is a hypocrite preacher who teaches self denial and strict poverty, meanwhile he and his family live lavishly. On a trip to Lowood Mr. Brocklehursts sees Jane accidentally drop her slate and ridicules her in front of the school. Forcing her to stand on a stool at the head of the class he says, “This girl,...