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The status of books in Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre and books in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Dual aspect of books

-books as guides and mentors, companions and friends

part of her identity

part and parcel of her inner self as opposed to the outer one

the inner space : that of the line or path she decided to follow, part of the destiny she wants for herself

implies the idea of liberty but also life “within”

helping the narrator in giving her a composure: during the feast given by Mr Rochester

a social stance in a world in which she does not fit

the “duty” aspect of the governess: the social étiquette( the governess is recognizable by the fact that

she is dressed in a more sober and unattractive manner than the “ladies” of  the good society of the times

books stand as  a “vindication” of her status

(not unlikely the Brontës may have read Mary Wollstonecraft’s


help her with her duties as a governess as well as the drawings done for others and being done by others

under her command

books as escapism or the Madame Bovary syndrome

existential aides in times of turmoil :

– with Helen at school: drawing on a sketch  book is a way of liaising and soothing the hardships of the rules

-a space for liberty and belonging to a different social sphere

implying dreamland of fantasies with all their dangers and pitfalls

as an orphan, books have been a refuge for her

the first book she might have been introduced to was the Bible

through the readings at her aunt’s house

and later on at school

books with a constraint and a moral

– last but not least: Jane Eyre’s message is a narcissistic one : “the best book is the book I am writing”

it outstrips and excells the book of books (namely the Bible) the word is mine ‘See Reader, how cute and intelligent!’ style

I am over the mass of my times: I will be published and read, I the writer, I the cretaor

I stand as the truth , that of the disguised writer  under the quill of a governess  to give my contemporaries

and all the generations of readers my piece of mind on

man without the kindness attached to mankind

still expecting my own recognition

(hence the act of auto-biographical writing)

further reading (with a fee) on GradeSaver

notes and texts by students


January 2010

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