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LIT 4386 British and American Literature
by Women


Class 11


Reading Assignment:

    Jane Eyre (468-784), through Moorhouse section (chapter 35)
    POST #5 Group A


    Class Objectives:

  • To review the effects of patriarchy in the text
  • To analyze Jane's decisions


Notes and Discussion Questions:

1. Leaving Thornfield

Recall the role of patriarchy (rule by men) and the influence that male control of money has on a woman’s general behavior, economic function, sexual roles.

How does a woman gain independence?

What kind of independence would Jane have gained through legal marriage with Rochester?

What kind of dependence would she suffer through concubinage?

What kind of independence does she gain by leaving?

What sort of patriarchal authority does Rochester try to exert?

What methods does he try to use to keep Jane there and why don't they work?

Examine the passage on p. 690 "Still indomitable was the reply -- 'I care for myself.'" In what sense is the break in narrative that follows significant? What happens to Jane when she leaves?

2. Moorhouse

Examine the scene where Jane looks at the family hearth from the cold outside – page 700; and her exclusion on 702. How does this scene mirror the earlier scenes of her exclusion from the family hearth? What is different?

Recall one method to independence is inheritance: Jane recieves inheritance of 20,000 pounds and a family! Examine page 737: What is the impact of Jane's inheritance?

In this section, Bronte engages the Evangelical movement of the nineteenth century -- it was a strong social force that had an effect on the moral arrangement of the family -- giving women an authoritative role. Jane sees evangelicalism as a potential for her to be a moral agent. How does this differ from Jane's view of her reforming role in Rochester's life?

Why does St. John want to marry Jane? p. 749

Examine his response to her conditional agreement p. 751-54

Why doesn't Jane want to marry St. John?

Why does she agree to go to the missionary with him?

What is their shared conception of "duty"?

Jane comes face to face with evangelicalism's contradiction for a woman -- her spiritual equality (see p. 752) and social subordination (see p. 753).

What is the outcome of this event? How does St. John treat her?

Examine next confrontation -- p. 756-57

Why is St.John shocked at Jane's language and proposal?

How does Jane view her role in life?

What must she do before she sacrifices her life?

Sum: How does Jane’s confrontation with patriarchal authority in the figure of St. John Rivers compare with that in Rochester, at Lowood and at Gateshead? What is similar? What has changed?


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