Tfeminist Approach on Jane Eyre
CHAPTER 1 THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING “Behind every book is a man; behind the man is a race; and behind the race are the natural and social environments whose influence is unconsciously reflected”, this we must know, if the book is to speak its whole message. In simple word, we have now reached at the point where we wish to understand and enjoy literature, and the first step toward it is to know its essential qualities as exact definition is impossible. ” -Author Unknown Introduction
When we begin the study of literature, we find it has always two aspects, one of the simple enjoyment and appreciation and the other of analysis and exact description.
Usually it happens when we go through literature in our classroom either by ourselves or by our teachers one thing matters very much and that is the importance of literature for students? Until our concept is not clear we can never understand what literature is? We need time and understanding to nurture our spirits.
In broader sense, perhaps literature means simply written records of the race, including all its history and sciences, as well as its poems and novels, and in narrower sense literature is the artistic record of life and most of our writing excluded from it. A history or a science may be a literature sometimes but only when we forget the subject matter and the presentation of facts in the simple beauty of its expression. So some such experience as this awaits us when we begin the study of literature with its two aspects of simple enjoyment and appreciation and the other if analysis and exact description.
Like when a song appeals to the ear or a noble book to the heart we discover a new world for the moment, at least, a completely new world which is very different from our own world and it sees that we are in a place of dreams and magic. Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become. ” – C. S Lewis, a British scholar and novelist. As stated in the quotation by C.
S. Lewis, literature not only describes reality but also adds to it. Yes, literature is not merely a depiction of reality; it is rather a value-addition. Literary works are portrayals of the thinking patterns and social norms prevalent in society. They are a depiction of the different facets of common man’s life. Classical literary works serve as a food for thought and a tonic for imagination and creativity. Exposing an individual to good literary works, is equivalent to providing him/her with the finest of educational opportunities.
On the other hand, the lack of exposure to classic literary works is equal to depriving an individual from an opportunity to grow as an individual. “Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?? a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips and drop of living water dashed from my cup? 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! It is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if we had both passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal? as we are! ” -Charlotte Bronte The above passage is an excerpt from the novel ‘Jane Eyre’. Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. However, there are many different kinds of feminism.
Feminists disagree about what sexism consists in, and what exactly ought to be done about it; they disagree about what it means to be a woman or a man and what social and political implications gender has or should have. Nonetheless, motivated by the quest for social justice, feminist inquiry provides a wide range of perspectives on social, cultural, and political phenomena. Important topics for feminist theory and politics include: the body, class and work, disability, the family, globalization, human rights, popular culture, race and racism, reproduction, science, the self, sex work, and sexuality.
Some forms of feminist theory question basic assumptions about gender, gender difference, and sexuality, including the category of “woman” itself as a holistic concept, further some are interested in questioning the male/female binary completely (offering instead a multiplicity of genders). Other forms of feminist theory take for granted the concept of “woman” and provide specific analyzes and critiques of gender inequality, and most feminist social movements promote women’s rights, interests, and issues. Feminism is not a single ideology. Over-time several sub-types of feminist ideology have developed.
Early feminists and primary feminist movements are often called the first-wave feminists, and feminists after about 1960 the second-wave feminists. More recently, a new generation of feminists have started third-wave feminism. Whether this will be a lasting evolution remains to be seen as the second-wave has by no means ended nor has it ceded to the third-wave feminists. Moreover, some commentators have asserted that the silent majority of modern feminists have more in common ideologically with the first-wave feminists than the second-wave.
For example, many of the ideas arising from Radical feminism and Gender feminism (prominent second-wave movements) have yet to gain traction within the broader community and outside of Gender Studies departments within the academy. For example, Radical feminism argues that there exists an oppressive patriarchy that is the root cause of the most serious social problems. Violence and oppression of women, because they are women, is more fundamental than oppressions related to class, ethnicity, religion, etc.
Radical feminists have been very vocal and active in influencing attitudes and state-wide school curriculum standards. Thus, it is not unusual for feminism to be equated with the ideas proposed by Radical feminism. Some find that the prioritization of oppression and the universalization of the idea of “Woman,” which was part of traditional Radical feminist thinking, too generic, and that woman in other countries would never experience the same experience of being “woman” than women in Western countries did.
Some radical feminists advocate separatism—a complete separation of male and female in society and culture—while others question not only the relationship between men and women, but the very meaning of “man” and “woman” as well. Some argue that gender roles, gender identity, and sexuality are themselves social constructs Other feminists believe that there may be social problems separate from or prior to patriarchy; they see feminism as one movement of liberation among many, each affecting the others.
In this section, we will explore some of the main schools of feminist thought. In addition, feminist literary theory is a complex, dynamic area of study that draws from a wide range of critical theories, including psychoanalysis, Marxism, cultural materialism, anthropology, and structuralism. Feminism brings many things to philosophy including not only a variety of particular moral and political claims, but ways of asking and answering questions, constructive and critical dialogue with mainstream philosophical views and methods, and new topics of inquiry.
Feminist philosophers work within all the major traditions of philosophical scholarship including analytic philosophy, American Pragmatist philosophy, and Continential philosophy. Entries in the Encyclopedia appearing under the heading “feminism, approaches” discuss the impact of these traditions on feminist scholarship and examine the possibility and desirability of work that makes links between two traditions. Feminist contributions to and interventions in mainstream philosophical debates are covered in entries in this encyclopedia under “feminism, interventions”.
Entries covered under the rubric “feminism, topics” concern philosophical issues that arise as feminists articulate accounts of sexism, critique sexist social and cultural practices, and develop alternative visions of a just world. In short, they are philosophical topics that arise within feminism. Although there are many different and sometimes conflicting approaches to feminist philosophy, it is instructive to begin by asking what, if anything, feminists as a group are committed to.
Considering some of the controversies over what feminism is provides a springboard for seeing how feminist commitments generate a host of philosophical topics, especially as those commitments confront the world as we know it. The term ‘feminism’ has many different uses and its meanings are often contested. For example, some writers use the term ‘feminism’ to refer to a historically specific political movement in the US and Europe; other writers use it to refer to the belief that there are injustices against women, though there is no consensus on the exact list of these injustices.
Although the term “feminism” has a history in English linked with women’s activism from the late 19th century to the present, it is useful to distinguish feminist ideas or beliefs from feminist political movements, for even in periods where there has been no significant political activism around women’s subordination, individuals have been concerned with and theorized about justice for women. So, for example, it makes sense to ask whether Plato was a feminist, given his view that women should be trained to rule (Republic, Book V), even though he was an exception in his historical context.
Although feminist literary theory is often described simply as the use of feminist principles and techniques to analyze the textual constructions of gendered meaning, feminists’ definitions of gender and of feminism have undergone a number of significant alterations since the early 1970s. By adopting already existing feminist insights and applying them in new ways, literary theorists transform them, thus creating an increasingly diversified field of study. The researchers prefer to conduct this study because of their personal choice and interest. They selected this kind of tudy due to the fact that it seems to prove of real value to them. Definitely this subject of study is the thing that they always wanted to learn more about. Since the researchers are all feminine this chosen study allows them to find out why most of the women have played a subordinate role to men in human societies. Also, to discover how women’s lives have change throughout history and to understand why women’s experience is different from men’s. Conceptual and Theorethical Framework It is through reading such great literary and poetic works, that one understands life.
They help a person take a closer look at the different facets of life. In many ways, it can change one’s perspective towards life. Lives of brilliant achievers and individuals who have made a valuable contribution to society, are sketched in their biographies. These works give the readers an insight into the lives of these eminent people, while also serving as a bible of ideals. True, languages are the building blocks of literature. But the study of literature cannot be restricted to only studying languages. In fact, literature cannot be confined to an educational curriculum.
A degree in language and literature is perhaps unable to provide one, with everything that literature can offer. Literature, is definitely, much more than its literary meaning, which defines it as ‘an acquaintance to letters’. It, in fact, lays the foundation of an enriched life; it adds ‘life’ to ‘living’. According to Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Mary Wollstonecraft’s ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)’ “presents the first fully elaborated feminist criticism of misogynist images of women in literature, as well as the fist sustain agument for female political, economic and legal equality.
Wollstonecraft’s critique of the disparity between the types of obedience to God expected on Adam and Eve in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is a prime example of this. She says, “Men appear to me to act in a very unphilosophical manner when they try to secue thr good conduct of women by attempting to keep them always in a state of childhood,”an observation that she uses to support her claim that men are not, as was the prevailing notion during her era, inherently more reasonable? and therefore better suited to philosophy and the creation of art? than women.
In A Room of One’s Own [Shakespeare’s Sister] (1929), Virginia Woolf highlights the gap between the broad range of women depicted in English literature “from about 1470” to the renaissance ( 1377 ) and the lack of women creating English literature. She says, “if women has no existence save in the fiction written by men, one would imagine her a person of the utmost importance; very various; heroic and mean; splendid and sordid; infinitely beautiful and hideous in the extreme; as great as man; some think even better. But this is woman in fiction” (1378).
Woolf explain that this is because although “some of the most profound thoughts in literature fall from her lips; in real life she could hardly read, could scarcely spell, and was the property of her husband”(1379). She then constructs a fictional sister, Judith, for William Shakespeare and speculates on the ways in which the Bard’s equally talented sister might come to an unfortunate end (1380-1381) in order to illustrate that the absence of women writers in the literary canon is symptomatic of a lack of opportunities and education for women, not a lack of talent in women.
These two issues- misogynist representations of women in literature and the obstacle faced by female authors (which lead to the recovery of texts by female authors )? have continued to be important touchstones of feminist literary theory and criticism. Feminist studies as an academic field arose from the second? wave feminist movement in the 1960, and often came into conflict with New Criticism, which was the period’s primary mode of literary analysis (Messer-Davidow 304). Social phenomena Images of Women Education Culture and Beliefs
The Roles and Images of Women in the Society Research Paradigm Figure 1. Statement of the Problem This study focused on the roles and images of women in the society as presented in the novel “Jane Eyre”. It sought to answer the following problems: 1. How did the following factors contribute in shaping the image of the female character in the story: a. Social phenomena b. Culture and beliefs c. Education 2. What traits of the female character are depicted in the story? 3. How does this traits affected the other characters in the story? 4.
What is the implications of the roles of the characters to the following factors: a. Family b. Modern women c. Racism Research Methodology The researcher use the descriptive method of research, which describes and interprets what is. It is concerned with conditions of relationships that exist; practices that prevail; beliefs, processes that are going on; effects that are being felt, or trends that are developing. According to Leedy, this is a method that simply looks with intense accuracy the phenomena of the moment and describes precisely what the researcher sees.
The researcher apply the descriptive method of research particularly in literary criticism, which deals with different dimensions of literature as a collection of texts through which authors evoke more or less fictitious worlds for the imagination of readers. The researcher make use of the descriptive research in literary criticism along with the feminism approach, is an approach about ideas or beliefs from feminist point of view and women’s subordination, individuals have been concerned with and theorized about justice for women. Significance of the Study Literature not only pleases us but instructs us also.
The authors who attain to the eminence of the classics are those who exercise their imagination on the serious problems of life and explain or elucidate them through fiction. Such are the problem of the good and evil in life, love, duty, beauty, truth, etc. the reader too in the course in his life comes to grips with one or the other of these problems. She is baffled and perhaps would give up but for the guidance from the classics. They give her not a tangible solution but the heroic temper that enables her to pass through the ordeal and survive brutal shocks.
Our tragedies show us how to preserve the emotional balance which is the sign of a healthy woman. In this respect biographies and authobiograpies are most useful. If we fail to find a kindred soul in actual life we can find any number of them amongst the dead. Literatures thus widen our contact and we enjoy life more abundantly. Literature provides a common platform for discussion and exchange of thoughts and social or political reforms through exposition those writings with the purpose have played their part in the eradication of a number of ills to which we are heirs.
Literature does not openly preach like the man in the pulpit. Literature elevates our minds, and ennobles our character. It is a criticism of life and its high seriousness servers to mould our minds. From the pettiness of life we pass over to the natural beauties or the domain of fundamental emotions mirrored in the lyrics, the pure and spontaneous forms of literature. Our goal here is not to survey the history of feminism — as a set of ideas or as a series of political movements — but rather is to sketch some of the central uses of the term that are most relevant to those interested in contemporary feminist philosophy.
The references we provide below are only a small sample of the work available on the topics in question; more complete bibliographies are available at the specific topical entries and also at the end of this entry. Very broadly, then, one might characterize the goal of feminism to be ending the oppression of women. But if we also acknowledge that women are oppressed not just by sexism, but in many ways, e. g. , by classism, homophobia, racism, ageism, ableism, etc. , then it might seem that the goal of feminism is to end all oppression that affects women.
Moreover this study was conducted to provides a wide range of perspectives on social cultural, education and political phenomena highlighting the issues about feminism. Likewise, the aim of this study is to discuss the impact of these traditions on feminist scholarship and examine the possibility and desirability of work that makes links among the different aspects of life of a woman. Scope and Delimitation of the Study The emergence of feminist literary criticism is one of the major developments in literary studies in the past thirty years or so.
This article attempts to give an overall view of feminist literary criticism, its discovery of early women novelists and feminist readings. Since feminist literary criticism has re-discovered the forgotten texts, from the 17th century onwards, written by women whose contribution to the emergence of the novel genre is undeniable, and included them in the critical evaluations, it is quite important to present them both in a historical and literary perspective. Thus the first part of this article is largely devoted to the literary achievements of these early women writers.
The second part of the article mainly concentrates on the most recent phase of feminist criticism by trying to offer a theoretical perspective so that the reader is provided with a broad view of its developments. It would, however, be an incomplete discussion of feminist literary perspectives if feminist readings were excluded from the argument. Therefore the third part of the article deals with feminist readings of texts, showing their crucial differences from the male readings. The major strategy in this part is to point to a comprehensive perspective by using the deconstructive critical approach.
In fact, throughout this article the deconstructive approach plays an important role, not only in arguing how the dominant discourses are challenged and disrupted, but also in demonstrating that there can be no universal and privileged meanings and values in literary traditions. Instead, there are only multiple meanings. To exemplify this view, the article concludes with a deconstructive reading of a postmodern text. This study focused on the novel entitled ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte. In the century and a half since Jane Eyre was first published it has been cast as everything from a garden variety romance to a feminist tract.
Jane Eyre is a tremendously romantic book, and Jane’s love story is absolutely central to the tale. In the best sense it is a book about survival, about a girl with nothing but her wits, her determination, her powerful sense of justice and honor, who survives and even finds happiness. The choice of stories is dependent upon the following points: 1. ) a novel that reflect aspects of feminism; 2. ) it was written by female writer; 3. ) it was written in English; 4. ) it has an interpretation of issues concerning feminist theory and approach. Definition of Terms
To provide a clearer and better understanding of the present discussion, the following terms were defined conceptually and operationally: Literature- written works with artistic value written works such as fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism that are recognized as having important or permanent artistic value. Feminism- belief in women’s rights: belief in the need to secure, or a commitment to securing, rights and opportunities for women equal to those of men. Racism- belief in racial superiority: the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior.
Culture- people with shared beliefs and practices: a group of people whose shared beliefs and practices identify the particular place, class, or time to which they belong. Beliefs- acceptance of truth of something, acceptance by the mind that something is true or real, often underpinned by an emotional or spiritual sense of certainty. | | Misogynist-hatred of women, the hatred of women as sexually defined group. Sexism- sex discrimination, discrimination against women or men because of their sex.
Classisism-discrimination because of class, discrimination or prejudice based on social or economic class. Perspective- particular evaluation of something, a particular evaluation of a situation or facts, especially from one person’s point of view. Holistic-relating to a whole, including or involving all of something, especially all, of somebody’s physical, mental, and social conditions, not just physical symptoms in the treatment of illness. Ideology- system of social beliefs, a closely organized system of beliefs, values and ideas forming the basis of a social,