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Word Count: 507
Jane Eyre is one of the most complex novels of the mid-nineteenth century offering more than progressive political content and trenchant social observation Modern readings of Jane Eyre however tend to focus on these aspects often to the neglect of the novels many other excellent qualities Jane Eyres most striking feature is its heroine who narrates the book approximately ten years after the events of the story take place In fact the first edition of Jane Eyre claimed to be an autobiography which Currer Bell--Charlotte Bronts pseudonym--was credited with editing Janes patient meticulous eye for detail her subtle understanding of the psychology of interpersonal relationships and her strong moral sense all contribute to her role as one of the first feminist heroines and underscore her critical encounters with many of Victorian Englands most snobbish and oppressive preconceptions about class and gender roles As an orphan raised by a wealthy family Jane herself is of ambiguous social standing Her status continues to lie awkwardly between poles when she becomes the governess at Thornfield as a woman she is automatically a second-class citizen of her time as a governess she is forced into a social position subordinate to Rochester and the aristocracy even though she is expected to possess the manners and education of a well-bred lady Janes struggle to integrate her love for Rochester with her desire for independence and equality and to integrate both with the ethical strictures of Christianity form the principal inner conflict of the novel That Jane is able to resolve this conflict marrying Rochester and living happily as his wife is an important and optimistic conclusion to Bronts novel love at least in the world of Jane Eyre is not incompatible with equality In addition to its social and political elements Jane Eyre cultivates a haunting atmosphere that has helped to ensure its place in the hearts and minds of readers Structurally Jane Eyre is based on
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