Jane Eyre was first published in 1847 and is the best and most known work by Charlotte Bronte. It deals with much of what was being discussed in those times, and it is a depiction of a very particular background, in which sexism and marriage represented pillars of English society. This paper aims at comparing and contrasting two of the most important male characters of the book, Edward Fairfax Rochester and St. John Rivers, as far as their elaboration was carried out, but also dealing with symbolism. Added to that, some superficial information about setting and plot is given, in order to support the ideas more concretely.
The plot is simple, divided in five main parts. The main element is the transformation of orphan Jane Eyre into a woman, a single self, through all stages, but also discusses religion and relationships, secondarily (but not less importantly). Jane is the narrator and we feel as though we were reading the actual memories of a real individual. This has much to do with the success the novel achieved in its time.
The setting is very important in the elaboration of this specific fictional text. The time and space we are dealing with are much relevant for creating the perfect background for a heroine like Jane to live in. Culturally speaking, Gothic novels were in evidence at the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It involved a lot of stereotypes, fantastic elements, and melodrama. Yet, although some critics define Jane Eyre as a Gothic piece of literature, it is true that it ruptured several aspects to create something quite new, including characterization points that will be discussed further. As far as Victorian times go, schooling, social classes, and gender were being brought up into discussion in England, and served as inspiration for Romantic authors. Actually, much of the second part of the story deals with Jane's education, which ultimately will be fundamental for her becoming a teacher.
Symbolism and characterization are, at...