Monday, December 12, 2016

"In Our Time" podcast- Emily Burnside

~Very informative on Bronte's life
~Compared Jane Eyre to other literature
~Explained topics such as courtship in depth
~Helps listeners understand Bronte's reason for writing the way she did

~Was very long and lost my attention
~Sometimes unclear when the topic being talked about changed

What captured my interest:
One thing that really stood out to me in this podcast was the emphasis on Jane's plainness and especially her fear.

Image result for jane eyre

Bronte repeatedly brings up Jane's plainness of looks, character, and life throughout her novel. The podcast once again brought it to my attention and made me think about why it was so important. Bronte herself was an average woman, but her circumstances made her a strong feminist. She expresses her views on a male dominated society through Jane, who is boldly straight-forward and independent. It was crucial that her main character was as average and relateable as possible to other women in society, because it portrayed they didn't have to have a high status or be important to make a difference.

As I read Jane Eyre, I continued to see Jane's growing independence, but never put much thought into why she continued to be like this. The podcast described how much fear Jane had, which likely stemmed from her early childhood. Jane was very self-aware and afraid of her circumstances overcoming her. In everything she did, she made boundaries in order to protect herself. She demonstrates this when she and Mr. Rochester begin to fall in love, by not openly showing her affection for him, even when it becomes obvious he doesn't want another. Before the planned marriage, Jane rarely expressed her feelings, and constantly protected herself. When Bertha Mason came between the couple, Jane was broken-hearted. However, her fear saved her. If she had given all of herself to the relationship, she would have suffered much more than she did and wouldn't have been able to stand up to Mr. Rochester.

Ultimately, common women of the Victorian Era may have been inspired by Jane, but to fearful to voice their opinions. However, Jane turned her fear into a tool that helped her be more independent, and women could see that in her. Because of her writing, Bronte has helped change society to what it is today.


  1. I do agree with Bronte's idea for a plain heroine. The reader sees Jane as just an average joe, and they read about Jane standing up for herself and standing up against men, and I would agree that it makes for every day women to believe they can make changes in their lives, and ultimately, change society.

  2. I never really thought to much about Bronte mentioning Jane being so plain. Now that I think about it, I can look back and see a strong, independent women who can make her own decisions be considered plain to others in the story. I agree that having a heroine that is plain and simple makes women today and in the past be more independent because they realize they don't have to be extraordinary to change their life.


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