Controlled or Independent?

Women have been controlled by men, almost becoming enslaved. In the image to your left your attention is focused on three individuals. Cupid, a well-dressed man and a female reflecting a smile. My Fair Lady is the subject heading for the current photo based off a musical that was adapted from a play titled Pygmalion. The main repository of the current play was normally held in a music division. The Osio Nye Teater version of My Fair Lady was presented in 1959, which was held in Norway. In the musical My Fair Lady the man took in a woman from a broken home and helped her develop into a better person. In the image to the right “The Irish Domestic Servant”. Sadler Bessy Conway’s photograph captures the central narratives in the Irish immigrant life. Domestic service was by far the most popular career choice for single women. An overall debate can be held if you felt Jane Eyre was persuaded by a man or her environment made her vulnerable. Is there a correlation that can be determined between the photographs and the story?

Let’s focus our attention on the image on the right “The Irish Domestic Servant”. Irish domestic servants were single women who migrated alone without their parents similar to Jane Eyre who happened to be an orphan. In search of an opportunity for a better future or an official career path. The servants were paid wages in addition to room and board. Had no expenses and their main concerns was accomplishing their job duties. Becoming a domestic servant allowed the women an opportunity to marry for love. Before being able to find love the servants were actual servants. Working long hours and performing strenuous physical labor. In Brontë’s novel character Jane became a governess teaching a young child knowledge she can grasp throughout her life journey. Jane’s main characteristic throughout the novel was an educator. Always respectful and helping children.

Focusing your attention to the image on the left Cupid is a mythological god of desire. In other words, the god of love. Present in the image cupid is controlling a man as a marionette puppet and the man is doing the same with a female. Cupid may be identified as “marionettist” out in the open as he wishes for the man to act on his command. Prior knowledge: “string puppets were often used to depict biblical events, with the virgin Mary being a popular character” (Wikipedia). Displaying women as an inferior. Cupid has chosen this couple because the women is innocent and pure. The couple is united because cupid the god of love has created their path. To be determined if it was in fact lust or love. In correlation to Jane who is also young, pure and innocent. Putting her in the direction of a man that can tame her.

Jane Eyre signify a woman on a quest for love. Ready to embark on her own journey.  Charlotte Brontë created Jane Eyre in 1847 which conformed to her society’s expectations of women but to an extent. While the novel was expressed from a first person female’s perspective. Jane Eyre captured a female searching for her own path of self worth but, at times become distracted within her own thoughts. The novel’s style also represents a naturalism style. Naturalism: “a style and theory of representation based on the accurate depiction of detail” (Dictionary).

Brontë expressed the disadvantaged position’s of women who were made to be attractive in a man’s eyes. Present between the photograph on the left and Jane Eyre the women is displayed under the man dangling from string.  Quoted from the novel “Seeing Rochester among his high-class houseguests, Jane realizes that he has more in common with her than he does with them” (2.2 Brontë). The image on the right show’s a domestic servant, taken from the novel Jane’s occupation was a governess and nothing more, she got granted permission to see her employer in a different atmosphere. Brontë already changing the normal perspectives of what takes place in a private home. Brontë begins removing Jane from her normal element and allows her to explore different opportunities. Even though Jane was considered an employee of Rochester and they were in fact in a different economic class she felt a chemistry between her boss and her. Allowed to see Rochester in a different atmosphere allowed Jane to develop different feelings for her superior. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will” (2.8 Brontë). From the following quote you would assume this was Jane’s Pivotal moment, overcoming being an orphan and being mistreated by her aunt. She no longer wants to be a caged bird, she would rather be free and released into the world giving herself the proper introduction into the world. Taking from the same chapter Jane is conflicted between her emotions. Wanting to be a free bird no longer caged but, seeing her boss in a different atmosphere willing to become a caged bird once again for love. Allowing to be dangled from wires as expressed in the image.

“I cleared up the mistake of supposing Mr. Rochester’s movements a matter in which I had any cause to take a vital interest. Not that I humbled myself by a slavish notion of inferiority: on the contrary, I just said you have nothing to do with the master of Thornfield, further than to receive the salary he gives you for teaching his protégée, and to be grateful for such respectful and kind treatment as, if you do your duty, you have a right to expect at his hands” (2.2 Brontë). Was Jane wrong for believing her and Mr. Rochester can be together? Did Rochester persuade Jane into falling for him with the conversations or was it the home and money that in fact made Jane feel accepted to her current lifestyle. She felt she belonged in his world. As a women distance herself from a broken lifestyle anything that might lead them on a fresh path can become a dream come true. It wasn’t Rochester’s intentions to pursue Jane, he wasn’t the one to hire her. He just had something to offer and she was determined to find out what it was exactly.

Reflecting back to the image on the left, recited from Eyre “Feeling . . . clamoured wildly. “Oh, comply!” it said. “. . . soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?” Still indomitable was the reply: “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man” (chap 27 Brontë). Here Jane is arguing with herself asserting her strong sense of moral integrity over and against her intense immediate feelings towards Rochester. But allowing herself to be controlled by a man as she indicated I have respect for myself but it’s the law given by God which happens to be a man to be given permission to be controlled by another man. Even with questioning her own decisions Jane remained loyal to herself not allowing herself to feel enslaved by following her better judgment. Feeling as she belonged in his world but she refused to join that world without the following conditions being met. Conditions a real sense of connection and understanding there is no one else he wanted or needed in his world. Someone who also maintained a wealthy background. As expressed in the beginning Brontë conformed to her society’s expectations of women because, Jane Eyre was written before the Victorian era but became published during the stated era. Brontë captured evidence that women were capable of adjusting their social class and roles.

Supporting her theory of her novel that allows a female to gain her own power she wrote “This young girl, who stands so grave and quiet at the mouth of hell, looking collectedly at the gambols of a demon. I wanted her just as a change after that fierce ragout. Wood and Briggs, look at the difference! Compare these clear eyes with the red balls yonder—this face with that mask—this form with that bulk; then judge me, priest of the Gospel and man of the law, and remember, with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged!” (2.11 Brontë). What image is interpreted of Mr. Rochester, is he a good man or dominate man? We met Rochester’s wife Berta Mason during chapter 26. We have come to learn that Rochester kept his mental wife locked in the house on the third floor. Makes sense to all the noises and weird encounters that took place in the home. In the following quote Mr. Rochester was trying to defend himself as to why he was trying to commit bigamy. Bigamy: “the act of going through a marriage ceremony while already married to another person” (Dictionary). Has cupid in fact deceived Mr. Rochester with his first marriage with Berta. As well with Céline? After suffering from numerous failed relationships, Brontë displayed Rochester in the opposite position in which society displayed males during the time. Now he wants a younger woman he was able to understand for a few years now, also knowing he can manipulate and control her. Allowing him to suffer before placing him on the right path.

In volume three a new character is introduced St. John. St. John is older than Jane and starts instructing her to do things to fit his lifestyle as a clergyman. For example, asked her to stop learning German and learn Hindustani. Jane started wanting to please St. John now, her environment has changed and now she’s playing puppet to the next man at a higher ranking then herself. “Consent, then, to his demand is possible: but for one item one dreadful item. It is that he asks me to be his wife, and has no more of a husband’s heart for me than that frowning giant of a rock, down which the stream is foaming in yonder gorge. He prizes me as a soldier would a good weapon; and that is all. Unmarried to him, this would never grieve me; but can I let him complete his calculations, coolly put into practice his plans, go through the wedding ceremony? Can I receive from him the bridal ring, endure all the forms of love (which I doubt not he would scrupulously observe) and know that the spirit was quite absent? Can I bear the consciousness that every endearment he bestows is a sacrifice made on principle? No: such a martyrdom would be monstrous. I will never undergo it. As his sister, I might accompany him not as his wife: I will tell him so” (3.8 Brontë). Jane never considered her own feelings towards St. John she only mentioned she couldn’t marry him because he wasn’t in love with her. But, in fact if St. John did love Jane would she had jumped out the window and married him despite her own feelings. In reference to “The Irish Domestic Servant” image, it was indicated that servants looked forward to being able to marry for love and were also thrilled that they had been giving the opportunity to have income and shelter provided from the male. Who’s to say that love wouldn’t had been able to come further down the line? Shouldn’t the females have been in love with the idea of the income and shelter? That’s the lust presented with cupid’s image. Allowing a male to feel superior over a female because he’s able to provide her with a new since of direction of a new life. Able to offer her the dreams she might have once imagined.

In conclusion Osio Nye Teater’s image for “My fair Lady” displays a women being controlled by a man as she wears a smile proudly. Jane Eyre displayed a woman differently from what society had in store. A strong woman was presented being able to make her own life choices. “The Domestic Servants” also represented strong woman able to determine their futures. Domestic servants were able to migrate on their own on the path to new beginnings. Leaving home at a young age leaving family behind, working numerous hours while being provided with hospitality. During Jane’s time as a governess she never asked for much. Unfortunately, when Jane took on the role as a governess she appeared as a paid slave but once feelings accumulated for her boss, she was taking the proper steps to remove herself from her current situation. Breaking free from any money and shelter that was being provided to her. Still searching for her own path she was granted numerous opportunities but opposed once love wasn’t a factor. “In youth, it was a way I had, to do my best to please. And change, with every passing lad, to suit his theories. But now I know the things I know and do the things I do, and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you” (Dorthy Parker). The following poem correlates with the character Jane. As a young orphan girl Jane had certain guidelines to follow, even being employed by Rochester she had to maintain a certain image. Once Rochester opened the door for her communication it allowed her the opportunity to become vocal for once. Once Rochester proposed to Jane and they finally married she became in charge of pleasing him and herself. Whichever way she felt it suited their relationship.


Work Cited

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Oxford, 15 May 2008. Print.

Dictionary. Neutralism. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/naturalism

Oslo Nye Teater My Fair Lady. Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/muslarsschmidt.200221716/>.

“Poem for the Independent Woman”. Dorthy Parker. https://www.google.com/search?q=poem+for+the+independent+woman+dorothy+parker&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS710US730&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=SVPmi60BrMmvEM%253A%252CsU75gpeQlcVLmM%252C_&usg=AI4_-kREh7lhSQlsM-rNChp9U0WyRm4M4w&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjSlIKV35PfAhWNuVkKHQYTC6kQ9QEwAnoECAMQBA#imgrc=SVPmi60BrMmvEM: (web). 09.12.18

The Irish Domestic Servant