PART I: INTRODUCTION
Assignment on English and American Literature JANE EYRE IN “JANE EYRE”’S CHARLOTTLE BRONTE
There are many changes in the world in the 19th century.It was characterized by sharp contradictions and was an age of progress:railways and steamships were built,great scientific discoveries were made,education became more widespread,but at the same time it was an age of profound social unrest,because there was too much poverty,too much injustice,too much ugliness,and above all,fierce exploitation of man by man.Owing to the growth of scientific inventions,industry was mechanized,wealth was increased but only the few was enriched at the expense of the many.For example,England became the richest country in the world towards the middles of the 19th century with the conditins of life for the workers in the growing industries such as:dirty factories,inhumanly long hours of work,child labor,exploitation of both men and women workers,low wages,slums and frequent unemployment.
Moreover,by the thirties of the 19th century English capitalism had entered a new stage of development.England had became a classical capitaist country,a country of industrial capitalism.The Industrial Revolution on gathered force as the 19th century progressed,and worked profound changes in both the economic and the social of the country.In addition,there were many theories created by bourgeois ideologists.The attempts of the bourgeois to solve social contracdictionts amt to turn aside the attention of the workers from political struggle ended in failure.But the workers fought for their rights.Their political demands were expressed in the People’s Charter in 1833.The Chartists introduced their own literature,which was the first attempt to create a literature of working class.The Chartist writers tried their hand at different genres.They wrote articles,short stories,songs,epigrams,poems.Their leading genre was poetry.They describes the struggle of the workersfor their rights,they showed the ruthless exploitatiion and the miserable fate of the poor.
In fact,the ideas of Chartism attracted the attention of many progressive-minded people of the time.many prominent writers became aware of the social injustices around them and tried to picture them in their works.Thus this priod of fierce class struggle was mirrored in literature by appearance of a new trend,that of Critical realism.The greatest novelists of the age are:Charles Dicken,William Makepeace Thackeray,charlottle Bronte,Elizabeth Gaskell.They use the novel as a mean to protest against the evils in contemporary social and economic life and to picture the world in a realistic way.They introduced a new characters inti literature:the working class.They expressed deep sympathy for the working people,described the unbearable conditions of their life and work,voiced a passionate protest against exploitation and described their persistent struggle forr their rights.The greatness of these novelists lies not only in their truthful description of contemporary life,but also in their profound humanism.Their sympathy lies with the ordinary labouring people.They belived in the good qualities of the human heart.
PART II: DEVELOPMENT
Charlotte Bronte was born in Yorkshire,England on April 21, 1816 to Maria Branwell and Patrick Bronte. Because Charlotte’s mother died when Charlotte was five years old, Charlotte’s aunt, a devout Methodist, helped her brother-in-law raise his children. In 1824 Charlotte and three of her sisters—Maria, Elizabeth, and Emily—were sent to Cowan Bridge, a school for clergymen’s daughters. When an outbreak of tuberculosis killed Maria and Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily were brought home. Several years later, Charlotte returned to school, this time in Roe Head, England. She became a teacher at the school in 1835 but decided after several years to become a private governess instead. She was hired to live with and tutor the children of the wealthy Sidgewick family in 1839, but the job was a misery to her and she soon left it. Once Charlotte recognized that her dream of starting her own school was not immediately realizable, however, she returned to working as a governess, this time for a different family. Finding herself equally disappointed with governess work the second time around, Charlotte recruited her sisters to join her in more serious preparation for the establishment of a school.
Although the Brontes’ school was unsuccessful, their literary projects flourished. At a young age, the children created a fictional world they named Angria, and their many stories, poems, and plays were early predictors of shared writing talent that eventually led Emily, Anne, and Charlotte to careers as novelists. As adults, Charlotte suggested that she, Anne, and Emily collaborate on a book of poems. The three sisters published under male pseudonyms: Charlotte’s was Currer Bell, while Emily and Anne wrote as Ellis and Acton Bell, respectively. When the poetry volume received little public notice, the sisters decided to work on separate novels but retained the same pseudonyms. Anne and Emily produced their masterpieces in 1847, but Charlotte’s first book, The Professor, never found a willing publisher during her lifetime. Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre later that year. The book, a critique of Victorian assumptions about gender and social class, became one of the most successful novels of its era, both critically and commercially.
Autobiographical elements are recognizable throughout Jane Eyre. Jane’s experience at Lowood School, where her dearest friend dies of tuberculosis, recalls the death of Charlotte’s sisters at Cowan Bridge. The hypocritical religious fervor of the headmaster, Mr. Brocklehurst, is based in part on that of the Reverend Carus Wilson, the Evangelical minister who ran Cowan Bridge. Charlotte took revenge upon the school that treated her so poorly by using it as the basis for the fictional Lowood. Jane’s friend Helen Burns’s tragic death from tuberculosis recalls the deaths of two of Charlotte’s sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, who succumbed to the same disease during their time at Cowan Bridge. Additionally, John Reed’s decline into alcoholism and dissolution is most likely modeled upon the life of Charlotte Bronte’s brother Branwell, who slid into opium and alcohol addictions in the years preceding his death. Finally, like Charlotte, Jane becomes a governess—a neutral vantage point from which to observe and describe the oppressive social ideas and practices of nineteenth-century Victorian society.