Ever since the beginning, men have usually been recognized as superiors in the family set up. It has been proven that this male dominance has taken the better part of society set up to today. This is evident through the family structures where also men enjoys simple majority and full authority at home, and also holds the jurisdictions over property, women and children. Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre represents the critical assumptions of the Victorian Era about the social issues and the gender issues. In the 19th century, it was believed that men and women belonged in different spheres each one with its duties. Women were also expected to be submissive to the men and also work on tasks of household labor while men were working and bringing money. This made women to entirely depend on men.
This as come to lime lights also in this book when the three men that includes: St. John Rivers, Edward Rochester and Mr. Brocklehurst tries to manipulate her and making her look inferior and submissive but Jane Eyre's feminine tone has been very appropriate for the modern women who still feel discriminated because of their gender. Since the start of the 19th century, opportunities for the women have gradually increased hence creating a pull and push between the men who opposes the positive change which struck our way thus making them feel very uncomfortable every time they tried to fit in various parts of the society. This made them loose out on the most improved learning opportunities, and they were alienated in most of the dynamic fields that also left them with fewer options in life. As a result, some turned out to be housewives. Even though today tutors are fairly thought to be the upper class with excellent jobs, during the Victorian times a governess was more than just a servant paid to contribute her little knowledge in various fields as those to a child. With some respect, class and security one feels that a passionate, opinionated and an intelligent young girl like Jane Eyre was capable and deserved much more. The absence of security in this position, as well as total disregards for one's preferences or feelings, is one of the most aggravating factors of this occupation. Jane, however, emerged into the society and became a governess that she thought to be a reasonable path to take.
During the period of Charlotte Bronte, women were yearning for the freedom that men had. Charlotte Bronte exemplifies in Jane Eyre that Jane had subservience feelings to male counterparts throughout her life. Jane was a passionate and independent woman who felt constant desires to comfort the men surrounding her by simply changing and making herself meet their needs. Even though Rochester claimed that he and Jane were on the same emotional range, Jane's opposes to marry him since she understands her true conditions of her word. According to Phillips viewpoint, Rochester and Jane communicate in a way that shows parity. Nevertheless, this is not evident. As monetary values prove to be an aspect of a woman assuming their inferiority towards men, gender inequality is socially a controversial issue that permits women to trust that they not worthy of a successful, healthy man. There were various impacts presented in the novel concerning gender inequality in the Victorian England. One of the implications of gender inequality in the Victorian women was education.
The Victorian women demanded their feminine knowledge such as sewing, knitting, piano playing and singing in the early periods. But the opportunities they were looking for were so limited. But since, the women were considered to be lower than that of men that why they did not require further knowledge offered to them. They lacked educational skills that would have made them equally with men so they could become attorneys, headmasters, solicitors, and doctors or even more. Charlotte Bronte clearly reveals how many men have many related jobs than women. For instance, when Carter, who is a surgeon, dresses Mason's wounds the night he was worried and got stabbed (Eyre 327). Also, Victorian women were stereotyped negatively as being fragile and weak. Some thought that the women suit to acquire education consideration not difficult to complete. It covers the basic lessons like grammar, language and other skills such as sewing, drawing, and knitting that had been a usual thing to acquire by the women of Victoria.
Secondly gender inequality has brought a tremendous impact on the society. Negative stereotypes can be seen very clearly in women of the Victorian England. Those times when women did not have equal education and were regarded as fragile and weak hence lower in the position in the society. Many jobs that men did had better pay. Well, appropriate jobs such as being magistrates and surgeons were only dominated by the men of that period. "There was Read of Gateshead, Read of Gateshead? (Eyre 266)". Another effect in society is that when women considered being object or property, having no autonomy, and depicted as hypersensitive, extreme narcissist and excessive self-indulged, absolutely they have in accustomed of being spoiled and dependent on others. Thus, women of the Victorian era revealed in the novel that they are considered as the second sex that is inferior to men.
Another impact of gender inequality is in the economy. Regarding the economy, women get fewer opportunities of finding high-class jobs because they have been regarded to be fragile and weak. Many jobs are offered mostly to men than women. The novel reveals that the women of the Victorian Period were not permitted to work in factories. "The poor get on if they could (Eyre 393)." Charlotte Bronte evidently revealed in her novel that a woman in the Victorian Period has just one choice for a respected employment such as working as a governess. Though a woman can maintain a well-mannered job, this position had no security and also had little wages. Some compare it to the case of Jane Eyre for example, "I thought to myself that Mr. Rochester is peculiar and seems not to remember he pays me 30 pounds for receiving his orders (Eyre 158)".
As women considered feminine knowledge and physical beauty as standards so as to be perfect, it has been said they will be desired and most wanted by the men with higher class. The writer believes it implies that women are built as the inferior gender and entirely dependent on men who see them for their physical beauty and the knowledge to do household tasks. For example, Blanche Ingram is considered a beautiful with great achievements who becomes one of the most favorite and desired among the women in the town. There is also the impact of politics. Women in the Victorian England were inferior to men and did not have autonomy; they had no opportunities to indulge in political matters.
Various problems occurred to the people in the Victorian Era. One of the problems was population increase. There was the high growth of the Great Britain in the 19th century. The cause of the increase has not yet been identified. However, some ideas have been forwarded that the reasons for the population increase were due to large families, people's long lifespan, immigration, and child infancy survival. After the 19th century, the population in Great Britain grew twice as large as it was before. Another problem was the high development of cities and towns. Though the country's population in whole grew at high rates, the cities and towns increased even more and more. This is due to the impacts of the industrial revolution. People flocked to cities and towns to look for employment. To some people, this is a way of adventurous and better living standards.
There were limited employment opportunities that were also a major problem to the population of the Victorian England. Immigration in both foreign and domestic as well as population increase contributed to the scramble for job opportunities. Great numbers of skilled and the uneducated people were searching for jobs. Hence, the wages will be low. Child labor was again a significant problem in the Victorian Era. People expected children to contribute to the budget of the family. They would work for long hours in risky jobs and realistic situations just to end up earning the minimum salary. For instance, some children would work in chimney sweeps, coal mines or even as errand boys.
There was the shortage of houses back then. Low salaries and the rush for employment opportunities showed that people needed to stay close to where they work. Walking to and fro to their workplaces would just extend a long day of exhaustion. The available houses were scarce, and they were very expensive leading to extreme overcrowding conditions. Another outcome was that the Victorian people were living in slums. It was found that London had grown at a high population rate. Big houses were turned into flats and the landlords and tenements who owned them were less concerned with the upkeep or the dwelling conditions.
Overcrowding was another issue in those times. Many of the people would not afford to pay the rent because the prices were too high, so they had no option but to pay for an out space room that was much cheaper. High wealth and great poverty lived beside each other in the slums, rookeries and the tenements were only a mile away from their fantastic big houses of the wealthy. Many of the people during that time were homeless. It was reported that many cases of death were due to starvation. Many children became homeless. Many children were left behind to support themselves and many others ran away because of ill treatments. But as the century continued to progress by, destitute and homeless children impinged on consciences of many other people
In 1837, Queen Victoria ascended the throne of the British, which marked a beginning of a new era. Many people would have been excited to see this opening where England has become an era of prosperity and peace all under Queen Victoria. The British ruler concentrated on expanding productions thus making them affordable for ordinary people. In England, during the Victorian Era, makers of the law and the trade union started to improve their working conditions, especially child labor which was made illegal for children to work for longer hours. Living standards also improved throughout Victorian era increasing the birth rates. Lack of famine and war led to developed health standards that also resulted in population increase. England's middle-class grew quickly, and a significant proportion of the Victorian society was still upper class, and stayed disgruntled at social inequalities and finally reformed. Railways were still developed, providing mass transit for town dwellers that had time to visit the seaside and indulging in creative pastimes of sea bathing. Victorian England was a period of significant progress and change and will always be considered as the Birth of the Modern Time.
In conclusion Charlotte Bronte made its clear in Jane Eyre that gender inequality was a controversial issue in her period. Jane Eyre, an orphaned, the plain and poor girl becomes an epitome of prejudice on women. Each character aspect of Jane goes against her to avoid going up the social ladder. Bronte raises awareness concerning real circumstances through making a strong and independent protagonist who is completely unaware of the justice she needs regarding gender equality. Bronte argues that the temperament of a woman is denied, and her self-esteem becomes weak due to self-righteous attitudes of men. Without a legal equality between a wife and husband, sentimental equality will not last (Phillip 56). Therefore, women have no option but to permit themselves to be shaped by the standards of the society. Since the public has agreed to embrace a patriarch society as a norm and permitted women to be underestimated fo...
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