Ompare and contrast the Representations of Femininity in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
The essay has to be a theory based with my primary texts showing the different representations of Femininity which are connected to the historical context of the time the novels were written. Jane Eyre written in the nineteenth century depicts the way in which middle class women were expected to act within society, which alludes to angel of the house ideal, although Jane steps out of the stereotypical role aligned to her to show her assertiveness and disregards feminine traits like being dressed in jewels etc etc…she still conforms to societys expectations of feminine, by becoming a governess suppressing her anger and learning through other characters of what they see as feminine qualities, I think it is important to say and show other characters representations of femininity because it is these that she learns from, (Miss Temple, Bertha, St John, Rochester and the Reed family and headmaster of the school. Bertha has to be mentioned. in contrast the characters from Rebecca also influence (Mrs De Winter 2nd) stating how beautiful Rebecca was and how she upheld the running of the house which alludes to societys expectations, in influencing the narrator she imitates Rebecca believing that this is what Max wants her to be like, however Max tries to keep her child like, It is all about how the other characters represent femininity/feminine ideals and try to influence them on the protagonists.. the introduction has to state what I will be doing and how it will be done using a specific theory to inform the thesis, when using a quote I have to sign post it then back it up in my own words. I didnt really have an argument as such I was going to conclude with how although the texts were written nearly 100 years apart and historically society had changed with the emancipation of women concerning the full voting rights and other acts women should have been seen differently but dont know if this will work due to differing ways in which femininity is portrayed.
i do want to say that femininity is a social construct in which individuals follow and explain why they follow it, however although some of the characters step out of the stereotypical role aligned to them they still render themselves subordinate to the patriarchal society because of marriage, this backs up a quote where simone de beauvoir says something like women will never be able to overthrow the patriarchal society when they succumb to marriage… both the protagonist gain equality through marriage, Jane gains economical equality and goes back to Rochester becoming his equal, although he is now dependent on her due to his disablement. and Mrs De Winter becomes Max equal through the shared knowledge of the murder of his first wife, but he is also dependent on her as he becomes in a kind of catatonic state… I need historical context relating to both novels, the essay needs an introduction main body and conclusion,as i said above the thesis needs to be theory based but this theory needs putting in the introduction to state how it will inform the essay. thank yo
Simone De Beauvoir (the second sex, any publication)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte, any publication)
Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier, any publication)
The Mad Woman in the Attic, The woman writer and the nineteenth Century Literary Imagination (Gilbert & Gubar, 1984, second edition)
any historical references that will back up my thesis, like the social construction of the Angel of the house”