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The Relationship Between Social Class and Gender in Jane Eyre - Essay Example

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The purpose of the present essay is to examine the relationship between social class and gender in Bronte's novel "Jane Eyre". The author of this study describes his thoughts on the meaning of the story by analyzing particular passages…
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The Relationship Between Social Class and Gender in Jane Eyre
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Download file to see previous pages Jane's father was a poor clergyman, on the fringes of middle class, and her mother in marrying him had lost the name and advantages of her own superior social standing, so they both lacked a well defined social status and the situation became worse as they left her an orphan. As Susan Fraiman says, both Jane's parents were "socially ambiguous, and this ambiguity is part of their legacy to Jane" (616). This ambiguous station in life leaves her open to statements like: "No; you are less than a servant, for you do nothing for your keep”. To this, the pressures of her gender add up, even the servants tend to sympathize with her less, because of her lack of good looks:
“"Yes," responded Abbot; "if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that."
"Not a great deal, to be sure," agreed Bessie: "at any rate, a beauty like Miss Georgiana would be more moving in the same condition."” (Chapter 3)
Jane is conscious of her social ambiguity and disadvantage in terms of femininity and its charms : “A Victorian woman's value resides chiefly in her femaleness” (Archibald, 8), and she seeks to overcome both through mental discipline in Lowood, where she does gain an education, only to become another socially ambiguous figure in Victorian England, a governess. This was the only respectable option open to a single woman without a family, or even money or connections enough to get suitably married
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