One of the remarkable aspects of Jane Eyre is its subversive undercurrent behind a veneer of conventionality. For example, Jane’s rise to fortune and the suggestion of a fairy tale ending via her marriage may at first appear to affirm pre-existing class and gender identities. It may thus appear to undermine the feminist project that was pronounced in the early part of the narrative. But, a closer introspection of the text, despite the author’s compulsions to close the story on sentimental and socially conformist tones, reveals other perspectives. For example,
“the novel continues to prove unsettling in its use of gender identities and its associations of gender with class and age. Notably, while challenging gender identities, the text does more than simply transfer power from the patriarchal grasp of Rochester to the powerless hand of Jane, and it does more than feed post-Butlerian critical perspectives; the text highlights the anxieties and complexities of the Victorian understanding of gender by paradoxically dismantling and reifying nineteenth-century notions of masculinity and femininity. Jane’s roles as governess and as girl bride associate her with complex and often contradictory notions of androgyny and femininity, sexuality and innocence.” (Godfrey, 2005, p.854)
- Clarke, M. M. (2000). Brontes Jane Eyre and the Grimms’ Cinderella. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 40(4), 695.
- Brontë, Charlotte. 1847. Jane Eyre. London. Smith, Elder & Co.
- Godfrey, E. (2005). Jane Eyre, from Governess to Girl Bride. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 45(4), 853+.
- Griesinger, E. (2008). Charlotte Bronte’s Religion: Faith, Feminism, and Jane Eyre.Christianity and Literature, 58(1), 29+.
- Peters, J. G. (1996). Inside and outside ‘Jane Eyre’ and Marginalization through Labeling.Studies in the Novel, 28(1), 57+.