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In 1837 critic Robert Southey wrote to Charlotte Bronte Literature cannot be the business of a womans life and it ought not to be The more she is engaged in her proper duties the less leisure will she have for it even as an accomplishment and a recreation Gaskell 102 This opinion was not held by only one person but by many Indeed it is this attitude one that debases women and their abilities to which Charlotte Bronte responds with Jane Eyre The purpose of Jane Eyre not only the novel but also the character herself as a cultural heroine is to transform a primeval society one which devalues women and their contributions into a nobler order of civilization Craig 57 The effectiveness of Brontes argument is due to both her motivation and approach Bronte found her motivation from the experiences she had undergone while living in the Victorian era Her approach in advocating social reform is to establish Jane as a model for readers Readers are meant to examine Janes life especially the manner in which she handles problems or confrontations in her relationships and to follow her example in their own lives Just as we see Jane as a model of a woman successful in asserting her self-worth we are also given a warning about the possible outcome of failure to realize self- worth in Bertha Rochester This facet will also be discussed briefly Bronte uses the motivation of personal experiences to create the life of Jane Eyre in which we see the quest for social betterment through her relationships Bronte herself experienced the social limitations of the nineteenth century At this time respectable women had few options in life beyond marriage education of children and domestic service Magill 747 She ventured to explore her own literary abilities and wrote Jane Eyre a novel which served to articulate the new sense of self that in Brontes time was still emerging and developing against
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