Msnowe's Blog

Fiction Smack Down

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on September 29, 2009
Don't step to this.

Don't step to this.

“Reader, I married the bastard.” Or something…

Many feminists tell you Jane Eyre is Charlotte Bronte’s ode to early feminist ideas. What’s not to love: a headstrong, smart, independent, equality-loving poor woman who doesn’t use physical attractiveness or “wiles” to get ahead, and yet gets everything she needs and wants by the end. She was riding the tides all the way into shore before there was any thought of different “waves.” Then there’s that whole “madwoman in the attic” that feminist scholars and critics of all kinds love to deconstruct more than Bertha herself ever did to the dresses and veils she tore and set alight in Thornfield Manor. The madwoman, locked away in her tower must represent Bronte’s repressed anger at being a second-class citizen, not taken seriously as a valid writer because of her sex, sequestered from the literary parlours. Maybe. Every scene is another reinforcement of Bronte’s philosophy. Listen, m.snowe knows a little about this book. She’s spent a lot of time picking at the bones of this story like it was carrion. But can we just cut the psycho-babble for a second? This story just plain WORKS. To read the plot summary might not convince you. In fact, m.snowe spent a long time riding the fence on this one–after all, Eyre ends up marrying the blind candy-ass. But then m.snowe read Villette (quite possibly a much better example of Bronte’s feminist philosophy, if there is one to define) and her mind was made up. But aside from all that, Bronte understood and executed something more important than how to weave in ideas about women in society, more than her fierce feelings on inequality. She knew how to write characters. And that’s one of the most feminist themes any “lady” writer can display–the ability to write characters that have staying power, that speak to us, regardless of how we view them as people. Characters that stand up to the test of time just as fiercely as any other writer’s, male or female. Jane Eyre was no watered-down David Copperfield–David would be lucky to lick her Moor-worn boots. And that’s that.

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One Response

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  1. fictionadvocate said, on September 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Brontean: 9,980


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