Feminism and Class

Jane seems to be very ahead of her time as an independent woman who has made her own way in the world. However, she is not impervious to the traditions and influence of the society and culture that she lives in. It’s a society where people don’t marry for love, but marry for class and status. Rochester’s reason for marrying Blanche Ingram had to do with just that. Jane is restless and proud, she doesn’t wish to have a “normal” life, which would entail falling into the gender role that is expected of women in the 19th century. She wishes to travel and see new places. Above all, she never felt the need to marry and was never looking to marry.

With her independence and progressiveness, one might think that when she did find love, she would beĀ above the insecurities of class and wealth. But she turns out to be even more in tune to it than anything else. She finds love with Rochester, the first and only man she ever really cares for. He is the first man who loves and cares for her. Instead of running with this happy phenomenon, she questions their different class status and feels uncomfortable with the marriage. She tries to find her uncle John Eyre to inherit his fortune, so that she may become more comfortable with the union.

It’s a strange paradox, where Jane is so forward thinking, yet so hindered by her social status. Her social status is what made her strong, yet it’s also what holds her back. Through her lonely childhood and diligent work ethic, she has feminist values. She’s also aware of society’s expectations and judgements.

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