Jane Ere emerges with a unique voice in the Victorian period for the work posits itself as a sentimental novel; however, it deliberately becomes unable to fulfill the genre, and then, it creates an altogether divergent novel that demonstrates its superiority by adding depth of structure in narration and character portrayal. Joan D.
Peters’ essay, Finding a Voice: Towards a Woman’s Discourse of Dialogue in the Narration of Jane Ere positions Gerard Generates theory of convergence, which is that the movement of the fiction towards a confluence of rotating and narrator, is limited as the argument does not fully flesh out the parodies that Charlotte Bronze incorporates into her work.
I will argue that in the novel the perceived narrative discourse as well as inner voice necessarily convey to its audience a restriction in design; however, this limitation in narrator does not diminish a literary work, rather the struggle between the narrative discourse and the inner voice expands the genre. Through the examination of characters which are centrally focused on the physical restraint of expression over passion, for instance hen Helen Burns calmly accepts her punishment and Jane verbally lashing out at Mrs..
Reed, are deprived of any seminal moment, and, therefore reduces them. Bronze subverts the narrator’s voice in the Implicit scene as well as the scene discussing Bertha with Jane and Rochester, to demonstrate that these moments are rupturing the traditional type of fiction in order to assert a superior form. Finally, I will analyze how the inner voice and narrative discourse converge in the final scene of Jane and Rochester discussing the past, in order to create a more fluid, intelligent, trial emotional Jane Ere.
Helen Burns is characterized as long-suffering, in contrast with Jane Ere who is passionate and at times incapable of containing her emotions, which demonstrates the sentimental style of the novel form, that creates a parodist rebellion, by which Jane needs to elevate herself in order to develop into a substantial character who has an eloquent inner voice and narrative control. Bronze portrays Jane as passionate to a fault at Gathered for she is incapable of containing her emotions, and as a result, this leads to her momentary frenzied state. How dare l, Mrs.. Reed? How dare I? Because it is the truth. You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so: and you have no pity. I shall remember how you thrust me back – roughly and violently thrust me back – into the red-room, and locked me up there, to my dying day, though I was in agony, though I cried out, while suffocating with distress, ‘Have mercy! Have mercy, Aunt Reed! ‘ And that punishment you made me suffer because your wicked boy struck me – knocked me down for nothing.
I will tell anybody who asks me questions this exact tale… You are bad, hardhearted. You are deceitful! ” (44) Jane is all emotion as she speaks with Mrs.. Reed. She has no ability to restrain her emotions as she focuses on how she was physically assaulted and violently pleaded for mercy, in order to articulate a reasonable argument that may be handled by Mrs.. Jane Ere By validated Reed in a more refined fashion. Ere demonstrates that the ‘bathetic sentimental novel’ is a type of narrative form which necessarily reduces the voice to rage without the fluidity of intelligence.
In these words, she is incapable of restraining raging anger to make a point; she is consumed by the anger and misses the argument she desires to engage with Mrs.. Reed. Peters declares Bronze is parodying the conventional form to demonstrate the fallacy of it being a form of high art. Bronze shifts to Helen Burns to continue revealing the limits of the sentimental novel. When Helen and Jane are discussing the refinement of character, Helen is conveyed as mild-mannered and devoid of emotion Juxtaposed with Jane who is inept at voicing an astute rationale for her thoughts. Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and dispiritedly use you. ‘Then I should love Mrs.. Reed, which I cannot do: I should bless her son John, which is impossible. ‘… ‘is not Mrs.. Reed a hard-hearted, bad woman? ‘She has been unkind to you, no doubt, because, you see, she dislikes your cast of character, as Miss Starched does mine; but how minutely you remember all she has done and said to you! What a singularly deep impression her injustice seems to have made on your heart!
No ill-usage so brands its record on my feelings. Would you not be happier if you tried to forget her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited? (69) Helen communicates in an elegant restrained form to the protagonist that all of Cane’s passion is omnivorous as this perspective lacks insight in contrast with Jane who impulsively voices contempt to Helen for being deficient in natural passion. Her dialogue speaks of love and blessing that should be returned to individuals that desire to harm her.
She uses questions in this passage to suggest her superior language skill set. Burns may quote the Bible, may hold in high regard Miss Starched and may espouse the stereotypical masculine traits of a novel, such as, well-polished diction, restraint of feeling, an emphasis on action, and a strong, seemingly objective, often directly interposing, ‘authorial’ narrative command” (Peters 224), yet she loses her natural voice. Moreover, Burns’ voice becomes stilted as it has discarded the poignant beauty of language in favor of intellect.
Hellene voice is a wonderful trope in the sentimental novel for it portrays the female character as having achieved a refinement of argument and self that is valued, as Helen observes Miss Starched desires to inculcate values that she believes will allow Helen to survive outside of Elwood. Yet, Bronze parodies the ‘masculine’ voice as a result of its limitations and vocalizes another form of narration for consideration. This new form of narration in the characters is the pinnacle of the sentimental and the restrained classical styles of discourse merging to an elevated form of art.
The protagonist and the narrative discourse move towards a harmonious path as the work moves from Elwood into Threefold. The narrator in chapter XSL begins to distance herself from emotion and is moving towards restraint. “and when I draw up the curtain this time, reader, you must fancy you see a room in the George Inn at Implicit, with such large-figured papering on the walls as inn rooms have; such a carpet, such furniture, such ornaments on the mantelpiece, such prints… Reader, though I look comfortably accommodated, I am not very tranquil in my mind… ND when I asked a waiter if anyone had been to inquire after a Miss Ere, I was answered in the negative: so I had no resource but to request to be shown into a private room. ” (1 1 1) The narrator’s evolution is established by lucidly and authorial deciding what information is necessary for the reader; there is no connection made between the called down description of the room and the alienation she is feeling. The narrator displays control via naming what is in the room at the Inn, not reveling in detail or emotion; she asserts what is relevant to her based on purpose which is, to convey me to Threefold’.
No longer is the narrator living in emotional states; she has matured in diction and imagery as can be surmised by her distinction between a stopping point of Implicit and a destination of Threefold. The narrative discourse expresses discomfort of the mind in a refined manner so as to convey intent without exaggerated emotion. At Threefold, Jane mimics Hellene language skills; this allows her to develop into an ardent protagonist and narrator.
Jane has developed, through the discourse with Rochester concerning Bertha, a refinement of emotion counterbalanced with a fluid form of narration, so that she is able to have a meaningful conversation. “Sir, your wife is living: that is a fact acknowledged this morning by yourself. If I lived with you as you desire?I should then be your mistress: to say otherwise is sophistical?is false. (350)… Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt! May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart- wrung tears as poured from mine.
May you never appeal to Heaven in Prayers so hopeless and so agonized as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love. ” (370) The emphasis on the sophistical intertwined with the heart represents what is valuable and epitomizes the inner voice of the protagonist. Cane’s language exhibits reserved emotion with dignified restraint. Her commentary to the reader is no longer trite nor adding to the convoluted misery; rather, her words attempt to make sense ND give shape to the circumstance.
The voice of the childish protagonist has been replaced with a calm one that is interested in facts not merely the heart; moreover, this reduces the distance between the narrator and the protagonist, in turn, this allows the distance between the reader, the narrator as well as the protagonist to shrink. However, there remains the distance between the protagonist’s inner and outer monologues which become burdensome as Bronze reduces them to the mundane for effect. Muff must put it, the first opportunity you have, into the post at Litton” (103).
The minutia weighs down the protagonist’s skill to weave seamless thoughts together. Bronze has parodied the protagonist’s words to demonstrate the need to exalt the narrative to a complex form. The text migrates to Moor House to parallel the transformation Jane underwent to obtain an eloquent inner voice that is conveyed in the narration. The protagonist’s voice and the narrator’s voice merge to become one harmonious communicative story-teller. Jane demonstrates when she is speaking with Mr.. SST John, her mastery in telling her story for she is honest, credible and in control. Oh! I will give my heart to God,’ I said, You do not want it. ‘ I will not swear reader that there was not something of repressed sarcasm both in the tone in which I uttered this sentence, and in the feeling that accompanied it. I had silently feared SST John till now, because I had not understood him. He had held me in awe, because he had held me in doubt. How much of him was saint, how much mortal, I could not heretofore tell: but revelations were being made into his conference: the analysis of his nature was proceeding before my eyes. I saw his flexibilities:..
The veil fell from his hardness. (468) Jane majestically and naturally confers with SST John her rationale why she will not marry him. This time she does not yell at someone who she disagrees with, like in Gathered; she calmly espouses her position and the narrator glades in so seamlessly that it appears both are speaking simultaneously: for in one breath, the protagonist is speaking with SST John and in the next breath, the narrator is conversing with the reader. Jane is analyzing what she is saying, while she is uttering the words, which is vastly different than other times in the text.
As she comprehends his liabilities, she is also able to speak with SST John as an equal in the fullest sense of the word. This is the seminal moment for the protagonist as she has mastered her emotions and begun to convey her feelings. Her diction is polished thus affording SST John to engage in disputation and the flow of thoughts are mutually conveyed and understood. The novel symbolically wrangles with the lack of women’s voices and liberties in the Victorian age of widening manufacture and trade in order to distinguish something that is authentically female. Educational and employment opportunities for women were limited” (Victorian 1032). Jane Ere situates itself as a distinct voice to mirror the different concerns of the period. Women now needed to have their voice distinguished from the male voice; this is the period women begin to fight for the right to divorce, to keep their property and to vote (Victorian 1032). As these issues are occurring, is when this novel emerges; wherein there is a distinctly female voice, unfettered by male conventions.
Correspondingly, the closing moments of Jane Ere which transport us to Ferdinand, wherein Rochester and Jane are conversing in the garden, are vital to the character and narrator?for they are critical o the female voice of the Victorian period. Had the novel ended at the Moor House, it would not have definitively portrayed the concerns Charlotte Bronze and her female contemporaries were struggling with at the time. With this intention in mind, when Rochester and Ere are speaking, it is Jane simultaneously as narrator and as protagonist who takes control of the narration.
The dialogue denotes maturity and confidence as can be seen by the voluminous amount of pages of dialogue that occur in the end of the novel as opposed to the beginning or middle of the work. When Jane says, “Reader, I married him,” (517). This demonstrates the final shift Jane made from the inner voice plus the narrative discourse to Jane with one voice. It is this genuinely female voice that is left; the female voice has emerged to articulate its relevancies devoid of intrusions or flawed weaknesses.
Mrs.. Jane Rochester is a voice to be reckoned with in the text for she is an intellectual and compassionate individual that perceives and simultaneously expounds on her thoughts. Jane Ere is a complex and rich character that subsumes the various personae of painter, wife, employee, friend, cousin, and confidante with ultimate educational empowerment that organically elevates the roles of females in the sentimental novel, while mirroring the concerns women in the Victorian era were therein contending.
Bronze married the female issues of the period with the issues of a female character. As women struggled for a voice in society, likewise, Jane wrestled for a voice for herself. Jane created a platform wherein she wrestled with developing a voice that is respected and uniquely hers within a male centered world; she is no longer restricted by language, rather she commands language and plays with it for her own purposes.