Spiritual journey is a phrase used by many different religions to mean the natural progression of a person as they grow in understanding of God, the world, and themselves. It is an intentional lifestyle of growing deeper in knowledge and wisdom. But what is meant by a spiritual journey towardChrist-likenessis vastly different from a journey toward some kind of “spirituality” that does not include, and is not based upon, the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Charlotte Bronte and Emily Bronte are two of the most outstanding women writers of the nineteenth century English literature. Their masterpieces Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are among the most widely read and frequently studied of English novels. They are both imaginative and passionate, opposed to the traditional matrimony and appeal for the true love. And both of their masterpieces deal with love as the main theme. At the same time, however, their differences are very clear. It is from the unparalleled natures of theirs and the different influences of the moors that the unparalleled works come into being. This paper tries to use a comparative approach to illustrate the similarities and differences between the female characters in the two novels, with the emphasis on the family and environmental influences. The striking contrast between the Bronte sisters’ personalities and the environment has been included in this paper.
Various aspects of Charlotte and Emily Bronte’s background greatly influenced them to write the novels Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The death of their mother influenced them as young children when she died of long time illness, and this loss drove the Bronte children into an intense and private intimacy. But their father remained, and he directed their education at home, letting his children read freely and treating them as intellectual equals. Similarly, both of the main characters of the novels, Jane Eyre and Catherine Earnshaw, lost their mothers due to illnesses when they were young and the remaining parent or relative must raise the child. Besides, the absence of a mother figure, both sisters spent most of their lives in isolation on the Yorkshire moors.
According to an essay written in The Eclectic Review in 1851, Charlotte and Emily Bronte were at home amongst the moors.
In order to create the characters, Charlotte and Emily Bronte selected an actual living person. This background, together with a Gothic setting, convincing characterization, and important literary devices enables Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte in Wuthering Heights to develop the theme of exploration into different kinds of love.
The stormy love affair in Jane Eyre exists between Jane and Rochester and, in Wuthering Heights, between Catherine and Heathcliff. Literary critic, David Cecil, observes that love is indeed the central theme of Charlotte and Emily’s stories, for it is inevitably the main preoccupation of such passionate temperaments.
Characteristically, the Brontes describe frustrated love, but the frustrated love does not make their heroines less intense. The hero or heroine must also counter threatening circumstances for the story to be classified under the genre of Gothic romance. Cecil describes the similarity in her sister’s methods: “Charlotte Bronte’s plots are full of sinister secrets and inexplicable happenings. The lurid light of her vision does invest these with a weirdness beyond that of ordinary mundane horror”.
The Plot of Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre, both of whose parents died of typhus, is an orphan. Her aunt Sarah Reed adopted her because it’s the dying wish of Jane Eyre’s uncle. But Jane’s aunt doesn’t like her and treats her badly, just like a servant. She and her three children, especially her son John Reed, are abusive to Jane, physically and emotionally, which makes the little Jane often stay alone and develop a rebellious character. One day because of Jane’s resistance against John Reed’s insult and beating, she is locked in the red-room by Mrs. Reed. As her uncle died in the red-room, Jane is terribly terrified by his ghost. After this the Reed family cannot tolerate Jane anymore. Mrs. Reed sends Jane to Lowood School for girls with the accusation that she is deceitful.
Lowood School is a charity school run by the hypocritical and self-righteous Mr. Brocklehurst. The conditions in Lowood School are extremely terrible and the study and work ethic is very harsh. During an inspection, Jane accidentally breaks her slate, and Mr. Brocklehurst says she is a liar and humiliates her before the whole pupils and teachers. Jane gets some comforts from her newly-met friend and later her best friend, Helen Burns, who often helps Jane to endure personal injustice and believe in God, though Jane doesn’t quite agree with her. And Miss Temple, a caring teacher, also helps to ease Jane’s pain. She helps Jane to make a self-defense and writes to Mr. Lloyd whose reply agrees with Jane’s. Finally, Jane is publicly cleared of Mr. Brocklehurst’s accusations.
Because of long time of suffering from cold rooms, poor meals, and thin clothing, many students fall ill and die when a typhus epidemic strikes Lowood School. Jane’s best friend Helen dies of consumption in her arms. During the epidemic Mr. Brocklehurst’s neglect and dishonesty are discovered, and new management takes over. A new building is built and conditions at the school are improved dramatically. In the new school, under newly caring teachers, Jane lives and learns happily for six years and then teaches there for 2 years. When Jane is eighteen, she leaves Lowood for her mentor Miss Temple marries and leaves Lowood and for she wants a change for herself.
She posts an advertisement on a newspaper for her services as a private turor, and receives an offer from Alice Fairfax, the house-keeper of Thornfield Hall. She takes the position and becomes the governess of Adele Varens, a young French girl. One day she comes across a horseman in trouble and helps him. She later finds that this man is Edward Rochester, master of Thornfield house. Adele, whose mother discards her to Mr. Rochester’s care, is his ward, and she could be his daughter. As time goes by, Mr. Rochester and Jane get on well with each other and enjoy being together. Mr. Rochester plays a trick on Jane by pretending to marry the beautiful Blanche Ingram he invites to Thornfield but it finally turns out to be a trick on Ingram: her plan of marrying Mr. Rochester fails. For the next days, their relationship goes better, and they find they have fallen in love with each other.
However, odd things frequently happen at the house: Jane often hears strange laughters; one night she rescues Mr. Rochester from a mysterious fire in his bedroom; and another night she helps Mr. Rochester bind up and secretly send away a guest named Mr. Mason, who is attacked. Although Mr. Rochester blames all these odd things on an oddball servant, Grace Poole, Jane is somewhat suspicious of it.
Jane leaves Thornfield to care for her dying aunt Mrs. Reed. She gives Jane a letter from Jane’s uncle, John. Soon after, her aunt dies, and Jane returns to Thornfield. After returning to Thornfield, Jane consents Mr. Rochester’s love for Jane and his proposes. As she prepares for her wedding, odd things happen again: a strange, horrible woman sneaks into her room one night and tears her wedding veil into two. Rochester attributes the incident to Grace Poole again. During the small wedding ceremony, a lawyer declares that Mr. Rochester cannot marry because he is married to Mr. Mason’s sister, which is confirmed by Mr. Mason. Mr. Rochester reluctantly admits it, but explains his wife is crazy and that he was tricked into marrying her. She is locked in Thornfield under the care of Grace Poole. She escaped and did all the previous mysterious events at Thornfield when Grace got drunk. Mr. Rochester pleads with Jane to go with him to the south of France, and live as husband and wife, even though they cannot be married. But Jane refuses to be his mistress because it goes against her principles. Although being deeply falling in love with Mr. Rochester, Jane leaves Thornfield in the middle of the night.
Jane travels through a strange region with little money for three days, during which time she begs, sleeps in the wild, and even nearly starves to death. Exhausted, the ill Jane faints in front of the door of Moor House, the home of Diana, Mary and St. John Rivers. The Rivers save her. In the Moor House, all the Rivers treat Jane as kindly as if she is one member of the family. Jane quickly regains her health. St. John finds her a teaching position at a nearby charity school. The Rivers sisters leave for governess jobs and St. John becomes closer with Jane. A letter from Jane’s uncle’s lawyer states that her uncle John has died and left her 20,000 pounds. The letter also reveals that the Rivers are her cousins. Overjoyed by finding her family, Jane insists on sharing the money equally with her cousins.
St. John plans to go to India as a missionary, and he wants Jane accompany him as his wife. Jane refuses him because she feels no love affection for him, and inside her heart, she still loves Mr. Rochester. She feels the call from Mr. Rochester, so she soon leaves to seek for him.
Jane finds Thornfield burnt into ruins. The fire setter, Mr. Rochester’s wife, committed suicide by jumping from the roof in the fire. Mr. Rochester lost one hand and his eyesight when he was trying to rescue his wife and the servants. Jane reunites with him at Ferndean. She assures him of her love and promises that she is always willing to stay with him. They get married, bring back Adele, and have a baby. Mr. Rochester eventually regains sight in one eye.
The Plot Wuthering Heights
In the late winter months of 1801, a man named Lockwood rents a manor house called Thrushcross Grange in the isolated moor country of England. Here, he meets his harsh landlord, Heathcliff, a wealthy man who lives in the ancient manor of Wuthering Heights, four miles away from the Grange. In this wild, stormy countryside, Lockwood asks his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to tell him the story of Heathcliff and the strange inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. Nelly agrees ,and Lockwood writes down his recollections of her tale in his diary.These written recollections form the main part of Wuthering Heights.
Nelly remembers her childhood. As a young girl, she works as a servant at Wuthering Heights for the owner of the manor, Mr. Earnshaw, and his family. One day, Mr. Earnshaw goes to Liverpool and returns home with an orphan boy whom he will raise with his own children. At first, the Earnshaw children—a boy named Hindley and his younger sister Catherine—dislike the dark-skinned Heathcliff. But Catherine quickly comes to love him, and the two soon grow passionate each other.They spend their days playing on the moors. After his wife’s death, Mr. Earnshaw grows to prefer Heathcliff to his own son, and when Hindley continues his cruelty to Heathcliff, Mr. Earnshaw sends Hindley away to college, keeping Heathcliff nearby.
Three years later, Mr. Earnshaw dies, and Hindley inherits Wuthering Heights. He returns with a wife, Frances, and immediately seeks revenge on Heathcliff. Once an orphan, later a pampered and favored son, Heathcliff now finds himself treated as a common laborer, forced to work in the fields. Heathcliff continues his close relationship with Catherine, however. One night they journey to Thrushcross Grange aimless. Catherine is bitten by a dog and is forced to stay at the Grange to recuperate for five weeks, during which time Mrs. Linton works to make her a proper young lady. By the time Catherine returns, she has become infatuated with Edgar, and her relationship with Heathcliff grows more complicated.
When Frances dies after giving birth to a baby boy named Hareton, Hindley descends into the depths of alcoholism, and behaves even more cruelly toward Heathcliff. Eventually, Catherine’s desire for social advancement prompts her to become engaged to Edgar Linton, despite her overpowering love for Heathcliff. Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights, staying away for three years, and returning shortly after Catherine and Edgar’s marriage.
When Heathcliff returns, he immediately sets about seeking revenge on all who have wronged him. Having come into a vast and mysterious wealth, he deviously lends money to the drunken Hindley, knowing that Hindley will increase his debts and fall into deeper despondency. When Hindley dies, Heathcliff inherits the manor. He also places himself in line to inherit Thrushcross Grange by marrying Isabella Linton, whom he treats very cruelly. Catherine becomes ill, gives birth to a daughter, and dies. Heathcliff begs her spirit to remain on Earth—she may take whatever form she will, she may haunt him, drive him mad—just as long as she does not leave him alone. Shortly thereafter, Isabella flees to London and gives birth to Heathcliff’s son, named Linton after her family. She keeps the boy with her there.
Thirteen years pass, during which Nelly Dean serves as Catherine’s daughter’s nursemaid at Thrushcross Grange. Young Catherine is beautiful and headstrong like her mother, but her temperament is modified by her father’s gentler influence. Young Catherine grows up at the Grange with no knowledge of Wuthering Heights. Three years later, Catherine meets Heathcliff on the moors, and makes a visit to Wuthering Heights to meet Linton. She and Linton begin a secret romance conducted entirely through letters. When Nelly destroys Catherine’s collection of letters, the girl begins sneaking out at night to spend time with her frail young lover, who asks her to come back and nurse him back to health. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Linton is pursuing Catherine only because Heathcliff is forcing him to; Heathcliff hopes that if Catherine marries Linton, his legal claim upon Thrushcross Grange—and his revenge upon Edgar Linton—will be complete. One day, as Edgar Linton grows ill and nears death, Heathcliff lures Nelly and Catherine back to Wuthering Heights, and holds them prisoner until Catherine marries Linton. Soon after the marriage, Edgar dies, and his death is quickly followed by the death of the sickly Linton. Heathcliff now controls both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. He forces Catherine to live at Wuthering Heights and act as a common servant, while he rents Thrushcross Grange to Lockwood.
Nelly’s story ends as she reaches the present. Lockwood is seized panic and ends his tenancy at Thrushcross Grange and returns to London. However, six months later, he pays a visit to Nelly, and learns of further developments in the story. Although Catherine mocks at Hareton ,she grows to love Hareton as they live together at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff becomes more and more obsessed with the memory of the elder Catherine, to the extent that he begins speaking to her ghost. Everything he sees reminds him of her. Shortly after a night spent walking on the moors, Heathcliff dies. Hareton and young Catherine inherit Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, and they plan to be married on the next New Year’s Day. After hearing the end of the story, Lockwood goes to visit the graves of Catherine and Heathcliff.
Writers’ Stimulus behind characterizing Jane and Catherine
The Victorian period brought sweeping changes across British society, and writers like Charlotte Bronte and Emily Bronte explored its crises and progress. The British expanded into a global empire that brought wealth from colonies. With the industrial Revolution at home manufacturing become Britain’s economic backbone. As the middle class found lacerates opportunities a new laboring class struggled for wages, job security and adequate working and living conditions. Jane Eyre includes themes of reforms that emerged from the crisis, better political representation, working conditions and education. Few of these reforms come immediately for women, who had limited status in Victorian society. As Jane strives for economic and personal independence, she touches on the issues of class, economics and gender roles that affected Victorian Britain at large. From this, Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte has traced great low-life of the soul because the writer lived in a priest family and such like. After premature death of her mother and sister, their father was only parent. His tough ,talkative and loving temper made Brontes’ brother Cromwell ugly and weak. Cromwell was then addicted to Alchohol. The temper of these two men of the family caused fear. Emily Bronte could not find any easy way of love and happiness under the male persons of the family. Such realities of her life instigated Emily Bronte to write the novel Wuthering Heights.
In the stimulation of male domination ,she always tried to be abandoned their psychological gender in the physical structure of own ship. As she herself says ,”she was more like men than woman.” Moreover, Wuthering Heights provides a document of the capitalist society resulted from the development of natural economic damage, social unrest etc. The novel enquires into man’s existential dilemma and the alienation of self, reveals a kind of modern isolation etc.
The Protagonist of Jane Eyre
While creating the protagonist for Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte concentrated on the image of passion. Jane was always a passionate and emotional character since she was a child. Charlotte writes about Jane after her cousin hits her with the book: “ “My blood was still warm; the mood of the revolted slave was still bracing me with its bitter vigor’’,
Jane Eyre is divided into five distinct settings. The story starts off when Jane is a child living in her relative’s, the Reed’s, house in Gateshead Hall. Then she is sent to Lowood School and has many experiences there with Miss. Temple, Helen Burns, and Mr. Brocklehurst. After eight years in boarding school, she lives at Thornfield as a governess to Adele. This is where she falls in love with her boss, Rochester. Then she moves out after she discovery of Bertha, Rochester’s mad wife. She is then taken into the Moor House by her cousins, the Rivers. In the end, she is reunited with Rochester at the Ferndean Manor. Each setting of the book has its own unique mood in strong relation to the character of Jane present at each place. These settings are:
- Jane Eyre at Gateshead-hall
- Jane Eyre at Lowood School
- Jane Eyre at Thornfield Hall
- Jane Eyre as a seeker off food and shelter
- Jane Eyre at Moor House or Marsh End
- Jane Eyre’s search for Mr. Rochester
- Jane Eyre happily settled at Fernddean
Jane Eyre at Gateshead –Hall
Jane Eyre was the daughter of a clergyman and lost both her parents at an early age. She was ten years old when her maternal uncle brought the helpless orphan to his own house called Gateshead-hall. Jane becomes bold in her answers when the members of Reed House, particularly John Reed used to bully upon her. John Reed snatches the book which Jane was reading.She looses her temper and says to John : “Wicked and cruel boy! I said. You are like a murderer-you are like slaver-driver-you are like the Roman emperors!” (JE 17)
Jane is confined to Red- room(Gateshead-hall).She begins to meditate upon her situation in the reed family. All john Reed’s violent tyrannies, all her sisters’ proud indifference, all her aunt’s aversion and all the servants’ partiality begin to cause a tumult in Jane’s mind. She asks herself:
Why was I always suffering, always brow –beaten, always accoused forever condemned? Why could I never please? why was it useless to try to win anyone’s favour? Eliza,who was headstrong and selfish, was respected .Georgiana, who had a spoiled temper, was universally indulged? I strove to fulfill every duty; and I was termed naughty and tiresome, sullen and sneaking from morning to night, and from noon to night.(JE 22)
Jane becomes defiant when she finishes her meditation. She gathers energies and launches the members of Reed family in this blunt sentence:
I am not deceitful: if I were ,I should say I loved you; but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed;and this book about the liar, you may give to your girl, Georgiana, for it is she who tells lies, and not I.”(JE 45)
Jane further says to Mrs. Reed:
I am glad you are no relation of mine:I will never call you aunt again as long as I live.I will never come to see you when I am grown up; and if any one asks me how I liked you, and how you treated me,I will say the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treaaed me with miserable cruelty.(JE 45)
This sentence reveals Jane’s inner turmoil. Jane shows her defiance, courage, boldness when she stays at Gateshead-hall. Jane also acts as a good wisher when she stays at Gateshead-hall. She wishes Bessie, the maid servant of the Reed House(Gateshead-hall). She admires Bessie through this sentence:
When thus gentle, Bessie seemed to me the best, prettiest, kindest being in the world; and I wished most intensely that she would always be so pleasant and amiable, and never push me about, or scold, or task me unreasonably, as she was too often wont to do. Bessie Lee must , I think .have been a girl of good natural capacity; for she was smart in all she did, and had a remarkable knack of narrative : so, at least I judge from the impression made on me by her nursery tales. I remember her as a slim young woman, with black hair, dark eyes, very nice features, and good, clear complexion; but she had a capricious and hasty temper, and indifferent ideas of principle or justice: still, such as she was, I preferred her to anyone else at Gateshead Hall.(JE 37)
In a nut shell it is stated that Jane is rebellious, bold and soft hearted at Gateshead Hall.
Jane Eyre at Lowood School
When Jane Eyre arrives at Lowood Institution, a charity school School,she expresses her feelings to herself in the following words : “I hardly yet knew where I was: Gateshead and my past life seemed floated away to an immeasurable distance; the present was vague and strange; and of the future I could form no conjecture.”(JE 59)
After arrival at Lowood Institution, a charity school, the head of which (Brocklehurst) has been told that she is deceitful. During an inspection, Jane accidentally breaks her slate, and Mr. Brocklehurst, the self-righteous clergyman who runs the school, brands her a liar and shames her before the entire assembly. Jane is comforted by her friend, Helen Burns. Miss Temple, a caring teacher, facilitates Jane’s self-defense and writes to Mr. Lloyd, whose reply agrees with Jane’s. Ultimately, Jane is publicly cleared of Mr. Brocklehurst’s accusations.
Jane gets herself admitted into fourth class. Now Jane has become an actor there. According to Jane:
In the course of the day I was enrolled a member of the fourth class, and regular tasks and occupations were assigned me: hitherto,I had only been a spectator of the proceedings at Lowood, I was now to become an actor. At first ,being little accustomed to learn by heart, the lessons appeared to me both long and difficult: the frequent change from task to task, too, bewildered me; and I was glad ,when about three o’clock in the afternoon, Miss Smith put into my hands a border of muslin two yards long, together with needle. thimble.”(JE 63)
During her stay at Lowood School, Jane reveals another aspect of her character or temperament. She greatly enjoys the natural scenery around the School. She becomes almost poetic in describing the beauty of the natural scenery. For instance she writes:
And now vegetation matured with vigour;lowood shook loose its trees; it become all green, all flowery; its green elm,ash and oak skeletons were restored to majestic life; woodland plants sprang up profusely in its recesses; unnumbered varieties of moss fields its hollows and it made a strange ground sunshine out of the wealth of its wild primrose plants.
She further says, “All this I enjoyed often and fully,free,unwatched,and most alone;for this unwontedliberty and pleasure ,ther was acause to which it now becomes my tasks to avert.”(JE 89)
Jane also praises her teachers in the following words;
Miss temple, through all characters ,had thus far continued superintendent of the seminary; to her instruction I owed the best part of my acquirements, her friendship and society had been my continual solace; she had stood me in the stead of mother ,governess, and latterly companion. At this period she married, removed with her husband(a clergyman, an excellent man, almost worthy of such a wife) to a distant country, and consequently was lost to me.(JE 98)
At Lowood School Jane forms an intimate friendship with Helen Burns. This friendship is a source of much comfort though ultimately Helen suffers Tuberculosis and dies a great premature death. Having a profound love for her friend, Helens, she goes to see Helen Burns at the time of her dying neglecting the strict law of the school. These words reveal Jane’s real friendship with Helens: “I got on to her crib and kissed her :her forehead was cold, and her check both cold and thin, and so were her hand wrist ;but she smiled as of old.”(JE 94)
Helen asks Jane why Jane has come there. Jane replies that she has come to see her. However, Jane’s friend Helen dies of consumption in her arms.
Another source of comfort to her at the school is the kindness which she receives from the school superintendent, Miss Temple and also from the other teachers who have begun to appreciate her industry and her devotion to her studies and her tasks. The food at Lowood school is most inadequate and unsatisfactory, but Jane is able to reconcile herself to these and other shortcomings of the school.
After six years as a student and two years as a teacher, Jane decides to leave Lowood, like her friend and confidante Miss Temple. She expresses herself as a changing mind through the following words:
During these eight years my life was uniform. but not unhappy, because it was not inactive. I had the means of an excellent education placed within my reach; a fondness for some of my studies, and a desire to excel in all, together with a great delight in pleasing my teachers, especially such as I loved, urged me on: I availed myself fully of the advantages offered me. In time I rose to be the first girl of the first class; then I was invested with the office of teacher; which I discharged with zeal for two years: but at the end of that time I altered.”(JE 98)
At a certain stage, Jane advertises for her services as a governess, and receives one reply. It is from Alice Fairfax, the housekeeper at Thornfield Hall. She takes the position, teaching Adele Varens, a young French girl.
In a nutshell it is stated that this section details Jane’s experiences at Lowood, from her first day at the school to her final one some nine years later. Jane’s early years at Lowood prove to be a period of considerable tribulation, as she endures harsh conditions, cruel teachers, and the tyranny of Mr. Brocklehurst. Moreover, the harsh conditions she experiences as a student at Lowood show us that, despite Jane’s intelligence, talent, and self-assurance, she is merely a burden in the eyes of society, because she is poor.
Jane Eyre at Thornfield- Hall
Jane Eyre now becomes a governess to a little girl whose name is Adele. She now stays at Thornfield –Hall which belongs to a gentleman by the name of Edward Fairfax Rochester. Her life at this place constitute the most important component of the entire novel. Jane Eyre reveals as a true heroine. Jane reveals herself as a good admirer.She admires the room where she at first enters into. She expresses her admiration quality thus;
What a beautiful room! I exclaimed, as I looked round ,for I had never before seen any half so imposing. Yes; this the dining room. I have just opened the window ,to let in a little air and sunshine for everything gets so damp in apartments that are seldom inhabited: the drawing room yonder feels like a vault. (JE 119)
In Thornfield Hall, we find Jane’s doubtful and criticizing characteristics. She becomes doubtful when she hears a sound.These sentences focus her doubtfulness:
While I paced softly,on the last sound I expected to hear in so still a region,a laugh ,struck, my ear.It was a curious laugh:distinct dormal,mirthless.I stopped:the sound ceased ,only for an instant;it began again louder:for at first ,though distinct ,it was very low.It passed off in a clamorous peal that seemed to wake an echo in every lonely chamber, though it originated but in one ,and I could have pointed out the door whence the accents issued. (JE 122)
Another vital characteristic quality in Jane is that she is a self criticizer. She unveils her intension to get into a life. She criticizes herself through the following lines:
Women are supported to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restrain ,too absolute a stranger, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow- minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to make puddings and knitting, stokings to play on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex. (JE 125-6,)
At staying Thornfield-Hall , Jane spreads her hand to help someone. She helps Rochester to save from burning fire. She helps Mr. Rochester in soothing the piano which Mr. Mason is experiencing. Jane also proves herself as a helpful woman when Rochester fells down from the horse. She serves and acts a nurse those both of them were unknown at first to each other.
Jane not only acts as a governess of Adele but also performs her duties properly. She never ignores her duties. She always tries to obey her master’s order instantly. She brushes Adele’s hair and makes her neat. According to Jane:
I brushed Adele’s hair and made her neat, and having ascertained that I was myself to retouch- al being too close and plain braided locks included, to admit of disarrangement- we descended; Adele wondering whether the petit coffee was at length come : for owing to some mistake, its arrival had hither to been delayed. She was gratified: (JE 147)
Jane is a thoughtful girl. She thinks about her ranks, and questions on her parents living in a town. Her speech reveals her as a truthful woman when Rochester asks some questions to her:
‘Miss Eyre, have you ever lived in a town?
‘ No, sir’
‘ Have you seen much society?’
‘None but the pupils and teachers of Lowood, and now the inmates of Thorn field’
‘Have you read much?’
‘Only such books as come in my way, and they have not been numerous or very learned.’
‘You have lived the life of a nun: no doubt you are well drilled in religious forms;- Brocket hurst ;who I understand directs Lowood, is a person, is he not?’
‘Yes sir’ (JE 140)
All these dialogues prove that Jane is a thoughtful girl. Jane is an imaginative girl. Day by day she becomes imaginative. She becomes intimate with Rochester and them waves the net of imagination about Rochester. A few weeks later, Jane finds it difficult one night to fall asleep. According to Jane:
I tried again to sleep; but my heart beat anxiously: my inward tranquilly was broken. the clock, far down in the hall, struck two. Just then it seemed my chamber-door was touched ; as if fingers had swept the panels in groping a way long the dark gallery outside. I said, ‘ who is there?’ Nothing answered. I was chilled with fear. (JE 169)
Though Jane Eyre was born in a village. She is a intelligent girl. She saves Rochester technically from the burning fire. Jane hears a sound after a few weeks. She quickly gets up and goes out of her bed room. She finds smoke coming from Mr. Rochester’s bed room. Opening Mr. Rochester’s bed room, she finds that there is a fire on his bed room. She now and then goes to basin and pours water to extinguish fire. She shakes Mr. Rochester and calling him to get up. Thus Jane saves Rochester’s life and reveals as an intelligent girl through the sentences:
Wake! Wake! I cried- I shook him, but he only murmured and turned: the smoke had stupefied him. Not a moment could be lost:
the very sheets were kindling. I refused to his boson and ewer; fortunately, one was wide and the other deep, and both were filled with water. (JE 168)
Another vital quality of Jane Eyre is that she is a self controller. When she comes to know that Mr. Rochester is going to be loved Blanche Ingram. then she control s herself by saying the following lines:
I saw he was going to marry her, for family, perhaps political reasons; because her rank and connation suited him; I felt he had not given her his love, and that her qualifications were ill adapted to win from him that treasure . this was the point this was where he never was touched and teacher this was where the fever was sustained and bed. She could not charm him. (JE 211)
Jane reconciles herself when she comes to know from Mrs. Fairfax that Rochester is going to marry balance Ingram for wealth.
To tell the truth, Jane had fallen in love with Mr. Rochester and had been thinking that Mr. Rochester had silently been responding to her sentiments though he had not said anything about his feelings in specific terms.
Jane is a strong willed woman. she has a delicate conscience; and she feels that her conscience is able to hold her passion by the throat. After stopping the marriage with Rochester, she wants to quit Thorn field. Hall and start living elsewhere. Rochester proposes her to live with him but she refuses his proposal with firm decisions. She is not yielded any flattery. She does what she decides. The following lines prove her a strong willed woman: “I’ll do it,’ I resolved : and having framed this determination, I grew calm, and fell asleep.” (JE 184)
Another quality of Jane is that she is religious. Religion helps Jane to gain a mature understanding of herself as a self, respecting individual who credits her feelings, but also defers to god. By dint of religions affect, she has been firmed in her sexual activities. She does not spoil her body due to sex. She has dignified sex. Religion makes her well determined and to answer boldness. She has praised her religion.
During her staying, at Thorn field-Hall, she has made an intimate relation with Rochester. Though she is 20 years old whereas Rochester is fourteen to Jane’s years. Happening to meet Mr. Rochester’s a little later, Jane is directed by him to appear in the drawing room every evening, and not to keep away from his guests. Jane who calls Rochester “ master”, and Rochester who calls Jane“ darling “ come together once more and this time for good. The couple is ecstatic to together once more, fawning over each other and confirming each other’s returned presence: “ You are all together a human being, Jane……..?” ( JE 372) Jane becomes over whelmed when Rochester show kindness to Jane. She says : “ Thank you, Mr. Rochester for your great kindness. I am strangely glad to get back again to you, and where you are is my home-my only home.” (JE 276)
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre epitomizes the spirit of a passionate heroine, desperately trying to reconcile her desire for love and acceptance with the religious and social doctrines of the Victorian era:
I was experiencing and ordeal, a hand of fiery iron grasped my vitals. terrible moment : full of struggle, blackness burning! Not a human being that ever lived could wish to be loved better than. I was loved, and him who thus loved me. I absolutely worshiped: and I must renounce loved and idol. One dread word comprised my intolerable duty- Depart ! (JE 354)
All these sentences expresses that Jane Eyre’s is a passionate girl. Jane Eyre is a hard struggler. After stopping her marriage with Rochester, she leaves Thorn field hall. She begins to make a journey in an unknown place. After sometimes, she gets down from coach and reaches in an unknown place. No tie binds her to human society. She has no relative except the universal mother, Nature. She does not know what to do and where to go. Nature seems to her to be kind hearted and good. She struggles hard to get a loaf. At last, She becomes a beggar to get a loaf. Though she is deprived to get it, She tries to get food and shelter. The following sentences express that she is a hard struggler for food and bread : “ Will you give a piece of bread? for I am very hungry’ He cast me on a glance of surprise, but with answering he cut a thick, slice from his loaf, and gave it to me.” (JE 369) By dint of hard struggle, she is able get shelter and food. Further she says to herself:
And why cannot I reconcile myself to the prospect of death? why do I struggle to retain a valueless life? because I know or Believe Mr. Rochester is still living : and then to die of want and cold, is a fate to which nature can not submit passively- oh. providence! sustain me a little longer! Aid – direct me ! (JE 370)
Jane Eyre at Moor House
Jane is a generos girl. She tells St. John Rivers that it, she not an ungrateful woman, and that the money, which she is to receive, would be divided by her equally among all four them ( herself St John Rivers. Diana and Mary ) she reveals this important trait of generosity in her character when she says to st. John Rivers:
I am not brutally selfish, blindly unjust, or fiendishly ungrateful. besides, I am resolved I will have a home and connections. I like moor house, and I Will live moor house. I like Diana and Mary and I will attach myself for life to Diana and Mary. It would please and benefit me to have five thousands pound, it would torment and oppress me to have twenty thousands; which moreover, could never be mine in justice, though it might in law. (JE 413)
She further says very important lines when shows her generosity. She goes on to say St. John: “And you get can not at al imagine the craving I have for fraternal and sisterly love. I never had a home, never had brother’s or sisters ; I must and will have them now.” (JE 414)
Jane Eyre also shows firmness when St John proposes her to marry. when under the continuing pressure of St John Rivers. She is about to agree to his proposal of marriage, she hears a voice calling out to acquire her name and done so three time. Later, Jane comes to know that Mr. Rochester has called out her. She immediately changes her mind, and once again tell St John Rivers that she can not marry him.
Jane Eyre at Ferndean
Filed with a desire to find out where Mr. Rochester is at this time, and how he is getting on Jane Eyre now a pay a visit to Thorn field hall. She acts there as a rebuild to rebuild relationship. Jane becomes very much passionate when she comes to know that Rochester is now leading a solitary life in his manor house near the Village of Ferndeam . When she finds . Rochester at Ferndeam she expresses her emotion through the following sentences: “I will think what you like sir : I am content to be only your nurse, if you think it better.’’ In this way, she acts as a true lover at Ferdean. Further she expresses her real emotion to Mr. Rochester:
My Rochester, if ever I did a good deed in my life- if ever I thought a good thought- if ever I prayed a sincere and blameless prayer- if ever I wished a righteous wish,- I am rewarded now. To be your wife is, for me, to be as happy as I am be on wrath. (JE 494)
Jane finds comfort when she marries Mr. Rochester. She becomes a true nurse and passes away her life with nursing. Though Rochester is a blind man, she thinks that she is true happiest woman in the world. According to Jane:
I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely bust blest beyond what language can express: because I am my husband’s life as he is mine. (JE 500)
Jane now knows what real happiness means. she thinks herself to be her husband’s very life as fully as he is her life. No woman is ever nearer to her husband than Jane Eyre is. She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh . She never feels tired of his company ; and all his confidence is devoted to her. there are precisely suited in character, and the results in perfect concord.
The development of Jane Eyre’s character is central for the novel. From beginning, Jane possesses a sense of her self- worth and dignity a commitment to justice and principle, a trust in god, and a passionate disposition. Her integrity is continually tested over the course of the novel and Jane must learn to balance the frequently conflating aspects of herself so as to find contentment, an orphan since early childhood Jane feels exiled and obstracted at the beginning of the novel, and the cruel treatment she receives from her quant
In a nutshell it can be said that Jane’s character has various sides in it. They are cruelty, boldness, rebellious, angry minded, on the other hand she possesses good qualities which make her the real heroine. The good qualities are admirer, self controller, self criticizer, helpful, thoughtful dutiful, intelligence, religious and hard worker. She is also a generous woman. Good qualities make Jane a different woman of that English society. She is ever remembered all though ages for her good qualities.
Catherine, the heroine of Wuthering Heights
Catherine is the heroine of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Catherine is the principle heroine because she loves and is loved by the most dominant character in the novel, Healthcliff.
Catherine appears early in the novel when she is still a small girl. She appears at chapter 3 in the novel when lock good, the narrator of the two hours reads Catherine’s dairy. Catherine is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.Earnshow . Catherine is the daughter of Earnshaw family. Catherine or Cathy is the sister of Hindley, wife of Edgar Linton, lover of Healthcliff and mother of younger Catherine. Various qualities of Catherine are described in novels. He character is mixed with good qualities and bad qualities. Catherine is free- spirited, beautiful, spoiled, and often arrogant. She is given to fits of temper and she is torn between her wild passion for Health cliff and her social ambition.
Charateristic qualities of Cathy
We meet Catherine early in the novel when she is still a small girl. There is something wild and untamable about her. This element in her nature is seen in the manner in which she shakes the baby Hareton violently, rebukes, Nelly, asking her to get out of the room, and then gives a blow to Edgar. This aspect of her character is important and has been emphasized in the chapters of the novel. Nelly,for instance has this to tell us about Catherine as a girl:
… from the hours she came downstairs till the hours she went to bed,we had not minute’s security that she wouldn’t be in mischief.Her spirits were always high-water mark,her tounge always going singing ,laughing and ploughing everybody who would not do the same.A wild wicked slip she was-but had the bonniest eye,the sweetest smileand lightest foot in the Paris.(WH 68)
After sometimes Nelly says about Catherine: “But she was proud, it became really impossible to pity her distresses, till she should be chastened into more humility.”
Catherine is a free spirited girl. She hears no one’s request. She does anything whatever she likes. She does not obey his brother even her parents. Catherine or Cathy is an arrogant minded after returning from Trushcross Grange, she is even more arrogant in her behavior and more naughty than ever. Cathy behaves in such an arrogant and domineering manner that Edgar feels compelled to say to her: “ you’ve made me afraid and ashamed of you. ( WH 69)
Divided personality of Cathy
Another aspect of Cathy’s character is dualism. Cathy has an intimate relation with Healthcliff. Though for the first time, she hates Health cliff. Later she falls in love with Health cliff. But she accepts Edgar’s proposal of marriage. Cathy believes that Edgar’s proposal is correct. She says “Edgar is handsome and rich, and that she will become the greatest woman of the neighborhood and will be proud of having such a husband.” ( WH 109) Further, Cathy expresses her dualism through the following sentences: “ Set two tables here, Ellen: one for your master and Miss Isabella, being gentry; the other for Health cliff and myself, being of the lower orders.” ( WH 890)
Further Catharine feels her passion as the consuming reality existence. She expresses her dualism through the following words:
My love for Linton is like the foliage in the words: time will change it, I am well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Health cliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Health cliff. He is always, always in my mind …. so don’t talk of our separation again. (WH 103)
Cathy has an another quality. It is her religious passion. Her passion is religious in nature. Cathy’s love for Health cliff transcends all that is petty, vulgar or sentimental.
Cathy is also very affectionate to her husband through the following sentences: “ Edgar is more myself than I am.” This sentence proves that Catharine is very affectionate of about Edgar.
However, according to Nelly, Cathy is a selfish and spoilt woman. She is a betrayer for herself. Cathy is a tragic heroine because her ending is sad an the reader fell sorry for her. but it would be wrong to call her a tragic heroine. A tragic heroine is a person with a noble, exalted nature, coming to a sad end on account of a flaw in his or her moral nature. In a nutshell, it is stated that Catharine or Cathy is a wild natured, spoiled, free spirit, beautiful, arrogant minded, betrayer woman. She dies at the chapter sixteen by giving birth to a child.
Two Catherines – transformation and regeneration
The whole structure of this novel suggest a deeper and more compulsive concern with the elements of storm. Emily Bronte extends her themes into the story of a second generation of Earnshaws and Lintons. Emily Bronte takes great pain in the second part of her novel to re-introduce her earlier relationship –patterns and to show with a new kind of emphasis. She substitute for the violent Cathy-Edgar –Heathcliff relationship of the first part and in the second part Catherine-Linton –Hareton relationships. Catherine-Heathcliff relationship is counterpart of the latter. It develops from the outside .Cathy dies in giving birth to a child whose name is kept Younger Catherine. Younger Catherine forms the basis of the second half of the novel. Catherine has a spirit that lives throughout the novel. Her ghost haunts Heathcliff up to his mysterious death. The opening is therefore a symbol of Catherine’s enduring power throughout the course of the story and of her ultimate re-union with her love .Considering that Heathcliff and Catherine’s relationship was ,towards the end ,as much about spiteful revenge as romantic love.It is possible that Catherine’s ghost actually murdered Heathcliff.
It is stated that Catherine and Heathcliff’s love for each other is necessarily doomed from the very beginning- it is when Edgar Linton comes into the picture. Their love is very much innocent (and incredibly strong) when they are young, but when Mr. Earnshaw dies, and they lose their protection and it changes things for Catherine. She is an incredibly selfish character, and now Heathcliff is essentially a servant, it would lower her standards to marry Heathcliff. This is why she marries Edgar- betraying both her own heart and Heathcliff’s. The most important chapter is chapter nine of volume 1. In this part ,Catherine and Nelly are talking about whether she should marry Edgar or not as it shows Catherine’s true feelings and nature.
The second generation has a happy ending is because, for the most part, they learn from the mistakes of their parents. Hareton- though he has a terrible childhood- is still shown some sort of love from Heathcliff, which he is able to hold on to. A common reason why Heathcliff (though still rough with him) shows Hareton some compassion is because he does recognise himself in the young boy. Also, when he see’s Cathy, he wants to become a better person to be worthy of her. With regards to Cathy herself, she has led a totally different life from her own mother- much more sheltered, and much more loved. She is able to hold on to this, and maybe make better decisions than her mother as she has inherited just as much of Edgar’s nature as she has her mothers. She may be wild and care free, but she is also sensitive, generous and loving- three things that Catherine never were.
Passion, emotion and marriage of the two protagonists
A central theme in Jane Eyre is the clash between conscience and passion. Jane is extremely passionate. An instance of her leaning towards conscience over passion can be seen after it has been revealed that Mr. Rochester already has a wife, when Jane is begged to run away with Mr. Rochester and become his mistress. Jane finally comes to understand that all passion, all conscience is neither good nor preferable. In this case, Jane had allowed herself to lean too far in the direction of passion, and she is in danger of giving up all logic and reason in favour of temptation.Jane’s passion and emotion are found in chapter18 to chapter 34.
Catherine Earnshaw, who later marries Edgar Linton (becoming Catherine Linton), is a “stormy” character in Wuthering Heights. She is ruled by her emotions and passions and is unsatisfied with her life with Edgar, becoming depressed in her marriage. As a child, she is rough and impetuous and often runs off to create trouble with Heathcliff. She loves Heathcliff, but after becoming ill and spending a few months in the Linton household begins to look down upon Heathcliff. Her “foil”–the character with opposite qualities that magnifies the qualities in both characters–is Edgar’s sister, Isabella Linton.Catherine and Edgar have a child named Catherine Linton (“Young Catherine”), who marries Hareton Earnshaw (the son of Catherine’s brother, Hindley). Young Catherine is as stubborn as Catherine but gentler (more of a mix between the stormy Catherine and the calm Edgar).
Jane’s passion, emotion and marriage
Jane observes Blanche Ingram’s unsuccessful efforts to snare Rochester and hold his attention. She also observes Blanche’s superficiality, her artificiality, her general lack of positive qualities, and her dislike of Adele. Though Jane feels contempt for Blanche, she accepts that he is marrying Blanche not out of love, but “for family, perhaps political reasons; because her rank and connections suited him” (JE 189) She excuses him–and Blanche–in vague terms “for acting in conformity to ideas and principles instilled in them, doubtless, from their childhood. All their class held these principles”.(JE 190).
Originally Rochester’s inexplicable emotions, which expressed some secret, frightened Jane and caused her to pull back emotionally. She sets one condition to her determination to ignore the censure.
Two Catherines’ passion,emotion and marriage
Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw
Heathcliff and Catherine are deeply in love with each other as well as being stepsiblings because Heathcliff was adopted. Catherine was young and wild until she spent some time at Thrushcross Grange after being attacked by a dog. On her return to Wuthering Heights Catherine had matured and become more of a lady. She was still in love with Heathcliff however she said, “it would be degrading to marry Heathcliff”. Therefore Catherine decides to marry Edgar and Heathcliff is left alone. Evidence of Catherine’s strong feelings can be found in a conversation she had with Nelly Dean, “Heathcliff is more myself then I am.” Heathcliff is obsessed with Catherine throughout the whole novel and never tries to hide it. While Catherine is dying Heathcliff says to her “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
Catherine and Edgar Linton
Catherine marries Edgar because “if [she marries] Linton, [she could] aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of [her] brother’s power?” Catherine describes her relationship with Edgar like “the foliage in the woods; time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees.” The major conflict in this marriage is that Catherine loves Heathcliff more and her description of Edgar is juxtaposed by her saying “he is more myself then I am”, referring to Heathcliff. Catherine and Edgar have one child called Catherine who ends up marrying Hareton the son of her uncle Hindley.
Hareton and Young Cathy
Hareton and Cathy’s relationship is symbolic of Heathcliff and Catherine’s love. Heathcliff treats Hareton poorly just as Hindley treated Heathcliff poorly. Together they face the same problems faced by Heathcliff and Catherine.
Female Characters of Jane Eyre
Females characters can be divided into two parts in Jane Eyre: major characters and non-major characters. Major characters are Mrs.Reed, Helen Burns, Miss Temple, Blanche Ingram etc. Minor characters are Georgina, Eliza, Besse Lee, Miss scrachard, Mrs Fairfax, Adele, Bertha, Gracepool, Rosamond Oliver.
Mrs Reed is Jane’s aunt. Although she promised Mr. Reed that she would treat Jane as her own, Mrs. Reed favors her own spoiled children and harshly punishes Jane for her seeming impudence, even locking her up in the “red-room.” When Jane is ten years old, Mrs. Reed sends her to Lowood and then tells John Eyre that Jane has died of typhus fever at the school. On her deathbed, Mrs. Reed reveals that she hated Jane because Mr. Reed loved Jane more than any of his biological children, and she refuses to apologize for mistreating her.
Mrs Fairfax is the kind housekeeper at Thornfield, Distantly related to the Rochesters, Mrs. Fairfax is extremely welcoming to Jane upon her arrival to Thornfield and serves as another surrogate mother for Jane in the novel. She warns Jane against marrying Mr. Rochester because she is concerned about the differences in age and social class. After Jane’s departure from Thornfield, Mrs. Fairfax retires with a generous pension from Mr. Rochester.
Helen Burns, Jane’s friend at Lowood School, serves as a foil to Mr. Brocklehurst as well as to Jane. While Mr. Brocklehurst embodies an evangelical form of religion that seeks to strip others of their excessive pride or of their ability to take pleasure in worldly things, Helen represents a mode of Christianity that stresses tolerance and acceptance. Brocklehurst uses religion to gain power and to control others; Helen ascetically trusts her own faith and turns the other cheek to Lowood’s harsh policies.
Although Helen manifests a certain strength and intellectual maturity, her efforts involve self-negation rather than self-assertion, and Helen’s submissive and ascetic nature highlights Jane’s more headstrong character. Like Jane, Helen is an orphan who longs for a home, but Helen believes that she will find this home in Heaven rather than Northern England. And while Helen is not oblivious to the injustices the girls suffer at Lowood, she believes that justice will be found in God’s ultimate judgment—God will reward the good and punish the evil. Jane, on the other hand, is unable to have such blind faith. Her quest is for love and happiness in this world. Nevertheless, she counts on God for support and guidance in her search.
The beautiful and kindly superintendent of Lowood. Miss Temple is presented as the foil to the cruel and stingy Mr. Brocklehurst and strives to treat the students at Lowood with as much compassion as possible, even providing them with extra bread and cheese to supplement their meager meals. Miss Temple is particularly kind to Jane and Helen, providing them with seedcake during their tea together and giving Helen a warm bed to die in. As one of the novel’s surrogate maternal figures for Jane, Miss Temple demonstrates the lady-like demeanor and inner strength that Jane wishes to possess as an adult.
The young and beautiful society lady who is Jane’s primary romantic rival. Jane is convinced that the haughty Miss Ingram would be a poor match for Mr. Rochester, but she believes that Mr. Rochester prefers Blanche’s beautiful appearance to her own plainness. Mr. Rochester is aware that Blanche is only interested in him for his money, but he pretends that he loves her in order to make Jane jealous. Blanche’s comments about governesses during her visit to Thornfield are particularly upsetting to Jane and demonstrate the popular beliefs about governesses during Charlotte Bronte’s time.
Bessie Lee is a servant at Gateshead. Bessie is Jane’s only comfort during her time at Gateshead and occasionally sings her songs and tells her stories. Acting as a surrogate mother for Jane, she is particularly kind after Jane’s experience in the red-room and even treats her to a tart on her favorite plate. Bessie visits Jane at Lowood several years after her departure and is impressed with Jane’s gentile demeanor. She marries the Gateshead coachman, Robert Leaven, and has three children, the youngest of which she names Jane.
Rochester’s insane wife and Richard Mason’s sister. A beautiful Creole woman from a prominent West Indies family, Bertha was married to Mr. Rochester in an effort to consolidate the wealth of the two families. Suffering from hereditary insanity that had been kept secret from Mr. Rochester, Bertha began to spiral into madness and violence shortly after their marriage. Eventually, Bertha is imprisoned in the attic at Thornfield under the guard of Grace Poole, a confinement meant to ensure both her own protection and the protection of the other inhabitants of the house. Bertha occasionally escapes from her prison and wreaks havoc in the house; her last outburst involves setting fire to Thornfield and leaping to her own death. As the representation of the classic Gothic figure of “The Madwoman in the Attic,” Bertha is both pitiable and terrifying and supports Bronte’s critique of gender inequalities and Victorian marriage during the period.
Jane’s cousin and Eliza’s sister. The prettier of the two Reed girls, Georgiana’s beauty makes her a spoiled, selfish child, though she befriends Jane as Mrs. Reed dies. She blames Eliza for her failed plans to marry Lord Edwin Vere and shows a similar lack of compassion during her mother’s illness. She eventually marries a wealthy man.
Jane’s cousin and Georgiana’s sister. Described by Jane as headstrong and selfish, Eliza is extremely jealous of her sister’s beauty and vindictively breaks up Georgiana’s engagement to Lord Edwin Vere. She becomes a devout Christian, but, rather than espousing compassion and humanity, she believes only in the importance of “usefulness.” After her mother’s death, Eliza breaks off all communication with Georgiana and enters a convent in France. She eventually becomes Mother Superior and leaves all of her money to the church.
Adele is the French-speaking, scampish ward of Mr. Rochester that Jane is hired to tutor. Adèle is the illegitimate child of the opera dancer Céline Varens and an unnamed gentleman. Although she lacks discipline and intellect and suffers from many “French” traits, Adèle improves greatly under Jane’s tutelage. She studies at a school of Jane’s choosing and grows into a sensible and docile woman who becomes a good companion for Jane.
Grace Poole is Bertha Mason’s keeper at Thornfield. As the guard for the third-story prison, Grace’s fondness for gin and occasional alcohol-induced naps allow Bertha to escape and wreak havoc in the house, including setting fire to Mr. Rochester’s bedchamber, ripping Jane’s wedding veil, and causing the fire that destroys Thornfield. Jane is led to believe that the strange goings-on in Thornfield are caused by Grace Poole. It is only after Mr. Briggs and Richard Mason reveal that Mr. Rochester is already married that Jane understands Grace’s true position at Thornfield.
Diana is Jane’s cousin and the sister of St. John and Mary. Charismatic and independent, Diana is forced to work as a governess in a wealthy household because of her family’s financial difficulties. Along with her sister, Diana reveals the injustice of society’s treatment of well-bred, intelligent women who are unmarried. Diana supports Jane’s decision not to marry St. John and helps Jane to maintain her independence. She marries a navy officer.
Mary is Jane’s cousin and the sister of St. John and Diana Rivers. A strong and independent woman, Mary is forced to work as a governess after her family’s loss of wealth. Despite their misfortunes, Mary is kind and compassionate, particularly when Jane begins to live with them at Moor House. Mary and her sister both exemplify the type of independent woman that Jane desires to become. She marries a clergyman.
Rosamond is the daughter of Mr. Oliver. The beautiful and angelic Rosamond is the benefactress of Jane’s school and is overcome with love for St. John. Although he secretly returns her love, St. John cannot allow himself to marry her because of their differing circumstances and his intention to become a missionary. Rosamond ultimately marries the wealthy Mr. Granby.
Miss Scatcherd is the history and grammar teacher at Lowood. Miss Scatcherd is generally unkind to her students, but she is particularly cruel and abusive to Helen.
Female Characters of Wuthring Heights
Except Catherine Earnshaw there are five other female characters in Wuthering Heights. They are -Catherine (or Cathy) Linton,. Ellen (or Nelly) Dean, Frances Earnshaw, Isabella Linton, Mrs. Linton.
Catherine (or Cathy) Linton
Catherine marries Linton Heathcliff to become Catherine Heathcliff, and then marries Hareton to be Catherine Earnshaw) is the daughter of the older Catherine and Edgar Linton. She has all her mother’s charm without her wildness, although she is by no means submissive and spiritless. Edgar calls her Cathy.
Ellen (or Nelly) Dean
Nelly is one of the main narrators. She has been a servant with the Earnshaws and the Lintons for all her life, and knows them better than anyone else. She is independently minded and high spirited, and retains an objective viewpoint on those she serves. She is called Nelly by those who are on the most egalitarian terms with her: Mr. Earnshaw, the older Catherine, Heathcliff.
Frances Earnshaw is Hindley’s wife, a young woman of unknown background. She seems rather flighty and giddy to Ellen, and displays an irrational fear of death, which is explained when she dies of tuberculosis.
Isabella Linton is Edgar’s younger sister, and marries Heathcliff to become Isabella Heathcliff; her son is named Linton Heathcliff. Before she marries Heathcliff, she is a rather shallow-minded young lady, pretty and quick-witted but a little foolish (as can be seen by her choice of husbands). Her unhappy marriage brings out an element of cruelty in her character: when her husband treats her brutally, she rapidly grows to hate him with all her heart.
Jane Eyre – The Reflection of Charlotte Bronte’s inner turmoil
Jane Eyre is a biography of Charlotte Bronte herself. Jane’s various struggles, education ,childhood, girlhood, works and marriage have been expressed through the life of the protagonist, Jane.
Both Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte suffer sadness and misfortune in their childhood. Jane Eyre at Gateshead is an orphan adopted by her aunt, who and whose children look down on her and treat her extremely bad. As to Charlotte at Haworth Parsonage, her father doesn’t like the children very much. Elizabeth Gaskell writes, “He was not naturally fond of children, and felt their frequent appearance on the scene as a drag both on his wife’s strength, and as an interruption to the comfort of the household.”
Besides, Charlotte’s mother dies when she is very young. And her aunt who came to take care of them is very strict. Gaskell says, “The children respected her, and had that sort of affection for her which is generated by esteem; but I do not think they ever freely loved her.”
But, on the whole, Charlotte’s childhood was much better than that of Jane’s. She is not an orphan; she is never looked down; she has her sisters and brother as her companions; she receives basic education from her father and aunt.
Their School Life
Lowood School V.S. Clergy Daughters’ School
There are a lot of similarities or even same experiences between Jane’s life in Lowood School and Charlotte’s life in Clergy Daughters’ School. They both undergo terrible school conditions: harsh study and work ethic, bad and insufficient food, awful accommodation conditions. Their schools are both stricken by epidemics. Although, there is a kind and considerate Miss Temple in both Jane and Charlotte’s school, poor conditions hasten the death of Charlotte’s two elder sisters, and take away the life of Helen, Jane’s best friend, anyway.
Even though the conditions in both schools are bad, Charlotte’s life in Clergy Daughters’ School is relatively better compared with Jane’s.
First, Charlotte goes to Clergy Daughters’ School with no accusation while Jane is sent to Lowood School with the accusation that she is deceitful and is publicly humiliated.
Second, William Carus Wilson, the kind and benevolent manager of Clergy Daughters’ School is far better than the Lowood School’s hypocritical and self-righteous Mr. Brocklehurst. Mr. Wilson, of whose life, the working of Clergy Daughters’ School is for many years the great object and interest, says：”Withdrawal, from declining health, of an eye, which, at all events, has loved to watch over the schools with an honest and anxious interest.” And even Gaskell “cannot help feeling sorry” for the censure brought up against Mr. Wilson. (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 54)
Third, poor conditions only hasten the death of Charlotte’s sisters, who have tuberculosis, but directly take away Jane’s best friend Helen’s life.
Lowood School V.S. Roe Head School and Brussels Boarding School
In Lowood, after the epidemic, Mr. Brocklehurst’s neglect and dishonesty are discovered, and new management takes over, which improves the conditions at Lowood dramatically. Then the situation is more like that in Roe Head School and Brussels Boarding School: Jane flourishes under her newly considerate teachers, and after six years, becomes a teacher herself. She also builds a lifelong relationship with her teacher and friend Miss Temple. “I availed myself fully of the advantages offered me. In time I rose to be the first girl of the class; then I was invested with the office of teacher” Miss Temple “had stood me in the stead of mother, governess, and latterly, companion” (Charlotte Bronte, 1996: 123)
Charlotte also enjoys her life and does a good job at Roe Head School and Brussels Boarding School. Just like Miss Temple at Lowood School, Miss Wooler at Roe Head School “was a lady of remarkable intelligence and of delicate tender sympathy.” Her “kind motherly nature” “made the establishment more like a private family than a school.”(Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 86, 87) And Mr. Constantin Heger at Brussels Boarding School, a “kindly, wise, good, and religious man”, “perceived that with their unusual characters, and extraordinary talents, a different mode must be adopted from that in which he generally taught French to English girls.” And “when Charlotte had made further progress, M. Héger took up a more advanced plan, that of synthetical teaching.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996:199, 209)
Charlotte studies hard both at Roe Head School and Brussels Boarding School and naturally made great achievements. “They wanted learning. They came for learning. They would learn.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 194) As shown in the following: “She was an indefatigable student: constantly reading and learning; with a strong conviction of the necessity and value of education, very unusual in a girl of fifteen. She never lost a moment of time, and seemed almost to grudge the necessary leisure for relaxation and play-hours.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 91).
Because of the excellent work Charlotte does both at Roe Head School and Brussels Boarding School, she, like Jane, also holds a position as a teacher in school later. But, there is one point that should be noticed that the academic standards in Lowood School, which may be equally high to Roe Head School, lag behind Brussels Boarding School. Thus, Charlotte receives a better education compared with Jane.
So, Lowood School is actually an integration of Clergy Daughters’ School, Roe Head School and Brussels Boarding School. Generally speaking, Jane’s former life at Lowood is more difficult than Charlotte’s life at Clergy Daughters’ School; her later life at Lowood is as happy and productive as Charlotte’s life at Roe Head School, but Charlotte is better trained at Brussels Boarding School.
Women in the early Victorian Age are at the bottom of society. To women from upper class, working is not their option. While to women in the lower class, they can only work on farms, shops, inns, factories or work as servants. To women, like Jane and Charlotte, between the two extremes, there are few work options: “they can only teach in schools, or work as a governess.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 59)
Teaching and Tutoring
Both Jane and Charlotte first choose to be a teacher in the schools where they are trained, and then they work as a governess. But, Jane is more satisfied to be a teacher and a governess than Charlotte.
First, it can be found in the reasons why they leave their post as a teacher. Jane leaves Lowood because she wants to have a change for her life and experience the world outside rather than that she hates teaching. “The world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils.”(Charlotte Bronte, 1996:125) While Charlotte leaves Roe Head School because the salary is too low, and she cannot bear the sedentary and monotonous nature of the teaching life, which may causes her nervous disturbance.
Second, Jane quite loves and enjoys the teacher position that St. John find her. She passes a lot pleasant time with her students, and the local people are very respectful to her. “I felt I became a favorite in the neighborhood. Whenever I went out, I heard on all sides cordial salutations, and was welcomed with friendly smiles.” (Charlotte Bronte, 1996:556) While Charlotte often feels depressed when she teaches English at Brussels Boarding School. The conduct of her pupils is often impertinent and mutinous in the highest degree. Mrs. Gaskell describes Charlotte’s situation as this: It must have been a depressing thought to her at this period, that her joyous, healthy, obtuse pupils, were so little answerable to the powers she could bring to bear upon them. (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 226)
Third, Jane is more delightful as a governess than Charlotte for the situation in Jane’s employer’s family is much better. In Thornfield Hall, the housekeeper Alice Fairfax treats Jane as her daughter; the student Adele Varens loves and respects Jane; and Mr. Rochester, the employer, falls in love with her. Charlotte’s first position as a governess pressed painful restraint upon her: the kids didn’t listen to her; her employer discriminated against governess; she often felt lonely. Although her second and last situation as a governess is much better, she found that her personality was not suitable for tutoring.
Running School and Writing
Since teaching and tutoring suit Jane well, Jane doesn’t have any other career plans. But for Charlotte, both of her careers as a teacher and a governess are not successful, thus she has to find another way of earning money. She prepares well for running a school, but her plan fails because no students came. She has for long thought about making writing as her career, and she writes to Robert Southey, asking for his opinion of her poems. But Robert replies: “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be.” “This ‘stringent’ letter made her put aside, for a time, all idea of literary enterprise.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996:138, 142)
After all, Charlotte loves literature. She continues her literary creation. After the ill-success of her poems, she tries writing novels. Although her first novel The Professor is rejected, her second novel Jane Eyre wins enormous success. She finally makes literature her career.
Generally speaking, Jane’s career life is much smoother and relatively plainer while Charlotte met more setbacks before she succeeds in her career.
Charlotte’s Early Attitude towards Love and Marriage
Charlotte meets her first proposal of marriage from a curate in early 1839, but she puts it on one side. And a few months later she meets a second proposal from another curate, Mr. Bruce, but she once again refuses the proposal. When she rejects the first proposal she writes in a letter: “Yet I had not, and could not have, that intense attachment which would make me willing to die for him; and if ever I marry, it must be in that light of adoration that I will regard my husband. Ten to one I shall never have the chance again” (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 149)
When she rejects the second proposal she writes “I am certainly doomed to be an old maid. Never mind. I made up my mind to that fate ever since I was twelve years old.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 159) In her letter on June 2nd, 1840, she writes “I am tolerably well convinced that I shall never marry at all.” It is obvious that before Charlotte meets Mr. Constantin Heger, she is pessimistic about marriage and in her life scheme there is no matrimony. While Jane meets no proposal till she meets Mr. Rochester.
Charlotte’s Affection for Mr. Constantin Heger V.S. Jane’s Affection for Mr. Rochester
When Charlotte studies in Brussels Boarding School she meets Mr. Heger, the person to whom she would die for. When Jane works in Thornfield she also finds her fall in love with Mr. Rochester. There are a lot of similarities in the two affections.
Both of their loves are not love at first sight. Charlotte gradually develops affection for the kindly, wise Mr. Constantin for he gives much help and comfort in her study and in daily life. Jane falls in love with Mr. Rochester because Jane is a good listener and can understand him well, and they can communicate with each other’s soul.
There are two main barriers in both of their love. One is the rigid social hierarchy in Victorian Age. Both Charlotte and Jane are poor, obscure, plain, and little while both of their lovers, Mr. Heger and Mr. Rochester, are mature, wealthy and respectable. What’s more, either in the teacher-student relationship and master-servent relationship, Charlotte and Jane are both in an inferior position. In Victorian Age, there is rigid social hierarchy, which makes it very hard for Charlotte and Jane to pursue their love. Another is the moral norm in that time. Mr. Heger and Mr. Rochester have already had a wife, which is the biggest obstacle. And none of them can cross it: for moral reason Mr. Heger cannot respond to Charlotte’s strong affection for him, and Jane doesn’t want to be Mr. Rochester’s mistress. For this reason, Charlotte and Jane have to leave the one they love.
Charlotte and Jane miss their lovers very much after they left their lovers. From the four existing letters that Charlotte writes to Mr. Heger after she left Brussels Boarding School we can see what deep feelings Charlotte’s towards Mr. Heger and how much she misses him. She practices French every day in case she forgets French when she sees Mr. Heger again, and she associates the language with Heger “As I pronounce the French words it seems to me as if I were chatting with you.” One year later her thoughts of love deepen:
Day and night I find neither rest nor peace – I do not seek to justify myself, I submit to all kinds of reproaches – all I know – is that I cannot that I will not resign myself to the total loss of my master’s friendship – I would rather undergo the greatest bodily pains than have my heart constantly lacerated by searing regrets.” (Harold Orel, 1997: 66)
Even two years later, receiving no reply from Mr. Heger, Charlotte still cannot forget him: “When one has suffered that kind of anxiety for one year or two, one is ready to do anything to find peace once more. I have done everything; I have thought occupations; I have denied myself absolutely the pleasure of speaking about you – even to Emily; but I have conquered neither my regrets nor my impatience.” (Harold Orel, 1997: 67, 68)
When Jane newly settles at Moor House she thinks about which would be better: to leave her lover or to be his mistress. She feels cold and dismayed when a messenger from Thornfield Hall tells her no news about Mr. Rochester. She doesn’t forget Mr. Rochester when her life at Moor House becomes better and better: “Perhaps you think I had forgotten Mr. Rochester, reader, amidst these changes of place and fortune. Not for a moment. His idea was still with me… The craving to know what had become of him followed me everywhere.” (Charlotte Bronte, 1996: 617)
When St. John asks Jane to be his wife she strongly refuses and at the very time she feels the call from Mr. Rochester. Can’t suffer the torment of Acacia anymore, Jane leaves Moor House to seek for him.
The most significant difference is that Charlotte knows from the very beginning that Mr. Heger has a wife but she cannot help falling in love with him while Jane doesn’t know that Mr. Rochester has a wife and when it is identified at her wedding ceremony she left Mr. Rochester right away without hesitation.
One obvious she writes several letters to Mr. Heger. Although she waits, pleads, or even begs for his reply, she receives no reply: “I have not begged you write to me soon…but I wish it”, “I am depending on soon having your news.” “’I have nothing for you from Monsieur Heger,’ says she, ‘neither letter nor message.’” “…day by day I await a letter…day by day disappointment comes to filing me back into overwhelming sorrow.” (Harold Orel, 1997: 64, 65, 66, 69) The results of Charlotte and Jane’s love are different. Having not received any response from Mr. Heger for a long time, Charlottle chooses to forget him, puts all her energy into her literature career. On June 29th, 1854, 11 years after Charlotte left Mr. Heger, she married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate, who loves her silently for years. Although Jane also meets a man, Parson St. John, who wants to marry her, she refuses his proposal. Only when Mr Rochester’s wife died, and Jane returns to Mr. Rochester with her big fortune and deep feeling finally.
In summary, both Charlotte and Jane’s love could resolve the social hierarchy related problems, but the moral problem still right stands there. Compared with Jane’s happy marriage, Charlotte’s affection for Mr. Heger is a bitter unrequited love.
Moreover, Charlotte’s mother died when she was very young. To some extent, in Haworth Parsonage, her father is not up to standard, and her aunt cannot play the role of a good mother, which makes young Charlotte value her sisters and long for a complete and harmonious family. When she is young she usually writes diary with her sisters and even exchanges each other’s diary every four years. When they grow up they often share their thoughts on literature: “The sisters retained the old habit…of putting away their work at nine o’clock, and beginning their study, pacing up and down the sitting room. At this time, they talked over the stories they were engaged upon, and described their plots.”(Elizabeth Gaskell, 1996: 280)
When Charlotte’s dear sisters and brothers dies in succession, Charlotte’s longing for a family enhances. Although she tries to diverse all her energy into writing, she cannot resist the longing. She finally marries Mr. Nicholls and forms a family. The orphan Jane is excluded from the Reed family at Gateshead, where she first has the longing for a family. When Jane’s teacher and friend Miss Temple marries and leaves her, Jane’s longing deepens. At Thornfield Hall, being regarded as her mother by Adele Varens and courted by Mr. Rochester, Jane is only one step away from having a family. At Moor House, Jane finds her relatives and quite enjoys being with them: “The more I knew of the inmates of Moor House, the better I liked them.” “I liked to read what they liked to read: what they enjoyed, delighted me; what they approved, I reverenced.” “Indoors we agreed equally well…Thought fitted thought; opinion met opinion: we coincided, in short, perfectly.” (Charlotte Bronte, 1996: 540, 541) At the manor-house of Ferndean, Jane, together with Mr. Rochester, forms a family and later has a baby.
Charlotte’s way of keeping and seeking for a family doesn’t have a happy ending: her mother, two elder sisters die when she was young; her brother brings tremendous pains to the whole family; her aunt, brother, and two younger sisters die when she grows up. And she herself only enjoys nine months of family life with Mr. Nicholls, dies with her unborn baby. Compared with Charlotte’s way of losing family members, Jane, on the contrary, finds relatives. And at the manor-house of Ferndean Jane enjoys her happy family life for a long time.
Both Jane and Charlotte experience a bitter childhood, but Jane’s childhood is more miserable than that of Charlotte. When they go to school, both of the schools’ conditions at first are very bad, but Jane’s situation in Lowood School is much worse than Charlotte’s in Clergy Daughters’ School. When conditions in Lowood School are greatly improved, Jane’s later life at Lowood is as happy and productive as Charlotte’s life at Roe Head School, but Charlotte is better trained at Brussels Boarding School.
Due to the rigid social hierarchy in Victorian Age, both Jane and Charlotte have few choices when choosing a career. Jane is more satisfied to be a teacher and a governess than Charlotte, and her career life is much smoother and relatively plainer. Compared with Jane, Charlotte met more setbacks in carrying out her ambitious career plans, but she wins greater success.
Both Jane and Charlotte meet many similar barriers in their marriages such as rigid social hierarchy and moral problems, because of which Charlotte’s love for Mr. Heger finally turns out to be a bitter unrequited love. But Jane is unbelievably lucky. All the barriers in her love are swept away, and she finally marries her beloved Mr. Rochester.
Although there is some likeness in their family life, e.g. Jane’s life at the Moor House is much alike Charlotte’s life with her two younger sisters and they both long for a family, there’s big difference. Charlotte continuously loses her family members while Jane gradually finds more relatives. And Jane enjoys much longer happy family life with Mr. Rochester than Charlotte with Mr. Nicholls.
Women and Social Status
Social class ,social rules, gender discrimination, males dominantive impact, social rules – all these aspects are significantly focused on in these novels.
Women and social status in Jane Eyre
Life in 19th-century Britain was governed by social class, and people typically stayed in the class into which they were born. Both as an orphan at Gateshead and as a governess at Thornfield, Jane holds a position that is between classes, and interacts with people of every level, from working-class servants to aristocrats. Jane’s social mobility lets Brontë create a vast social landscape in her novel in which she examines the sources and consequences of class boundaries. Even anyone is paid employee, he or she is treated as a servant, though he or she belons to aristrocate society. Thus, Jane remains penniless and powerless while at Thornfield. For instance, class differences cause many problems in the love between Jane and Rochester. Jane must break through class prejudices about her standing, and make people recognize and respect her personal qualities. She chastises Rochester:
Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. (JE 281)
However, the novel does not entirely endorse breaking every social rule. Jane refuses, for instance, to become Rochester’s mistress despite the fact that he was tricked into a loveless marriage. Jane recognizes that how she sees herself arises at least partly out of how society sees her, and is unwilling to make herself a powerless outcast for love.
In 19th-century England, gender roles strongly influenced people’s behavior and identities, and women endured condescending attitudes about a woman’s place, intelligence, and voice. Jane has an uphill battle to become independent and recognized for her personal qualities. She faces off with a series of men who do not respect women as their equals. Mr. Brocklehurst, Rochester, and St. John all attempt to command or master women. Brontë uses marriage in the novel to portray the struggle for power between the sexes. Even though Bertha Mason is insane, she is a provocative symbol of how married women can be repressed and controlled. Jane fends off marriage proposals that would squash her identity, and strives for equality in her relationships. For its depiction of Jane’s struggle for gender equality, Jane Eyre was considered a radical book in its day.,
Jane articulates what was for her time a radically feminist philosophy:
Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”(JE 125)
Religion and spirituality are key factors in how characters develop in the novel. Jane matures partly because she learns to follow Christian lessons and resist temptation. Helen Burns introduces Jane to the New Testament, which becomes a moral guidepost for Jane throughout her life. As Jane develops her relationship with God, Mr. Rochester must also reform his pride, learn to pray, and become humble. Brontë depicts different forms of religion: Helen trusts in salvation; Eliza Reed becomes a French Catholic nun; and St. John preaches a gloomy Calvinist faith. The novel attempts to steer a middle course. In Jane, Brontë sketches a virtuous faith that does not consume her individual personality. Jane is self-respecting and religious, but also exercises her freedom to love and feel.
Feeling vs. Judgment
Just as Jane Eyre can be described as Jane’s quest to balance her contradictory natural instincts toward independence and submission, it can also be described as her quest to find a balance between passionate feeling on the one had and judgment, or repression of those feelings, on the other. Through the examples of other characters in the novel, such as Eliza and Georgiana, Rochester and St. John—or Bertha, who has no control over her emotions at all—Jane Eyre shows that it’s best to avoid either extreme. Passion makes a person silly, frivolous or even dangerous, while repression makes a person cold. Over the course of the novel, Jane learns how to create a balance between her feelings and her judgment, and to create a life of love that is also a life of serious purpose.
The Precariousness of Social Class in Wuthering heights
As members of the gentry, the Earnshaws and the Lintons occupy a somewhat precarious place within the hierarchy of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British society. At the top of British society was the royalty, followed by the aristocracy, then by the gentry, and then by the lower classes, who made up the vast majority of the population. Although the gentry, or upper middle class, possessed servants and often large estates, they held a nonetheless fragile social position. The social status of aristocrats was aformal and settled matter, because aristocrats had official titles. Members of the gentry, however, held no titles, and their status was thus subject to change. A man might see himself as a gentleman but find, to his embarrassment, that his neighbors did not share this view. A discussion of whether or not a man was really a gentleman would consider such questions as how much land he owned, how many tenants and servants he had, how he spoke, whether he kept horses and a carriage, and whether his money came from land or “trade”—gentlemen scorned banking and commercial activities.
Considerations of class status often crucially inform the characters’ motivations in Wuthering Heights. Catherine’s decision to marry Edgar so that she will be “the greatest woman of the neighborhood” is only the most obvious example. The Lintons are relatively firm in their gentry status but nonetheless take great pains to prove this status through their behaviors. The Earnshaws, on the other hand, rest on much shakier ground socially. They do not have a carriage, they have less land, and their house, as Lockwood remarks with great puzzlement, resembles that of a “homely, northern farmer” and not that of a gentleman. The shifting nature of social status is demonstrated most strikingly in Heathcliff’s trajectory from homeless waif to young gentleman-by-adoption to common laborer to gentleman again (although the status-conscious Lockwood remarks that Heathcliff is only a gentleman in “dress and manners”).
Jane Eyre & Wuthering Heights – A comparative study
Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre are both products of the Victoria era, written by ladies of the same family, who were sisters. The former was written by Emily Bronte and the latter by Charlotte Bronte. Both explore the theme of deep passionate and love triumphing against all odds, involving manly, brooding, heroes, with a past. But Charlotte Bronte brings out magicism on an earthly level and an imagined union beyond all bondages and Emily Bronte traces to divine, mainly Christian basis human moral codes of marriage, particularly of the Victorian era, and a satisfied fulfillment of this, on earth itself. Due to this factor, the characterizations are also different. In Jane Eyre, the heroine of the same name, is gentle, plain, completely unnoticeable, yet with a dignified, clear, indomitable bearing and will. She is an orphan, who undergoes indignities right from childhood, sufferings as an adult , till getting true love. Catherine or Cathy, heroine of Wuthering Heights, is playful, wicked, loveable, confused and uncontrolled. She tries to capture everything, from a comfortable childhood to an advantageous marriage and love in there, to true love of her childhood, but only meets with death at the end. But her heart and soul are shown untainted with her honest love, her loved one dying later, so that both can get reunited, beyond this earth.The heroes, although both of a brooding, tough, melancholic, Byronic temperament with, complications in life, are essentially different in character, due to a difference in their background, status, environment, settings and upbringing.
Mr Rochester of Jane Eyre is a country gentleman, controlled in interaction, curt yet kind, specially as a master, flawed in principles application as per circumstances, yet with innate developmental strength in character, humane rule operation, even under the most adverse circumstances. He is never avenging, no matter how much he has been harmed. Heathcliff is an orphan, with no background as known, brought up as a dependent, continually mistreated, and ultimately not getting his lady love, is shown by all this to become a revengeful, diabolical spirit to the extreme, to many others. His raw elemental manliness type energy is there, but without any character or scruples. The storyline of Jane Eyre is linear, progressing from present to future, childhood to adult. Happenings and narration coincide, except when Rochester reveals his past life of a miserable marriage to Jane. The whole story is written in the first person narrative, from a heroine’s point of view of narration. Wuthering Heights has a cyclical and zigzag time-line, going from the present to the past, and then back to the present again. The present is in the first person narrative, who figures in no way in the actual story. The actual story is the past itself, narrated in the third person, again not directly by the main people concerned.
Love, beauty, nature, emotion, all of these elements are considered essential elements in a romantic novel, and the Bronte sisters used them all. Romantic thinkers tend to believe in the power and splendor of nature, and the power of love to conquer. The Bronte sisters’ romantic beliefs are displayed in their novels through their characterization. Especially, the female characters in their novels became their way to reveal their thoughts, passions and feelings.
By using this writing style, the two authors in their time period were able to write the pieces of literature that were different than the normal rational line of thought pieces being produced. Bronte sisters- Emily and Charlotte became famous for their novels Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
No wonder there are many resemblances between the two novels. This is because, the two writers had the same life experience, same study experience, same environment of living. Yet, their writings project the same aspects of human passion, society and life as a whole from two different sides.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. London: Penguin, 2006.
Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. London: Penguin, 2009.
Critics on Charlotte Bronte & Emily Bronte. Ed. Judith O’Neill. Miami: University of Miami Press, 1979.
Eagleton, Terry. The English Novel: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
Karson, Jill. Readings on Jane Eyre. CA: Green Haven Press, 2000.
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