Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre, is one novel that challenges and develops literary traditions of 1800’s Victorian society. Bronte develops the novel form and style as well as develops traditional concepts and perceptions of female and male equality in Victorian society. Jane Eyre is the 1847 novel explores, Jane Eyre, a middle-class woman who is fighting for freedom, rights and independency, Rich states it is not a “Bildungsroman writing …but the life story of a woman”(Rich 91).
Bronte in Jane Eyre develops novel traditions to fight for female equality. Jane Eyre shows feminist values and standards that were uncommon in Victorian England before Bronte’s novel, as for woman in the 1800’s there was a limitation of their rights and their roles were contain in Victorian Era. For Jane, although she was a woman, with no money and no status and constantly being remined that she does not belong, “you have no business to take our books, you are dependent, you have no money” (Bronte, 13), is able to challenge gender norms and brake away gender barriers, through her response to John calling him a “murder”(Bronte 13).
Rich in her essay states, “immediately, the political/ social circumstance of Janes life are established: as a female she is exposed to male physical brutality and whim; as an economically helpless person she is vulnerable in a highly class-conscious society” (Riche,92).This scene demonstrates gender and class inequalities , the significant themes of the novel as John sees Jane as inferior and Jane attempts to brake away from barriers placed on woman in Victorian England.
Bronte, represents her protagonist’s unconformity to society’s expectation of her. This this furthered when Jane proteses against her Aunty when she is called a liar by her, “I am not deceitful: if I were I should say I loved you but I declare I do not love you” (Bronte 44). She is not seen to fit into the notions of woman in Victorian society and is therefore defined as a “liar”. This is a sifnicafant development for woman in victorian era, as Jane goes against the norms of feminist ideals and responds to her aunt, and this gives her the, “strangest sense of freedom, of triumph” (Bronte 44).
This is also a significant development for novel traditions as until Bronte’s novel it was un common for a person with no status to rebell against society and even more uncommon if it were a woman. Rich states, not only, “the beauty and depth of the novel lie in part inits depiction of alternatives-to convention and traditional piety…but also to social and cultural reflexes internalized within the female psyche”(Rich 106). Bronte through the development of her main protagonist, Jane, she is able to demonstrate the development of the novel tradition in 19th century Victorian England.