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“She has no will but his.” Equality and the “Woman Question” in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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This B.A. essay examines how the “Woman Question” is presented in the nineteenth century novels The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Jane Eyre, by the sisters Anne and Charlotte Brontë. The “Woman Question” was a popular topic in Victorian society where critics and novelists alike expressed their views on the subject, whether it was in favour of the patriarchal system or feminist ideas. The Brontës both side with the feminist cause, arguing for equal rights and female independence. The essay focuses on the triangular relationships that are presented in each novel: In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Helen Huntingdon’s relationships with Arthur Huntingdon and Gilbert Markham are examined, while in Jane Eyre Jane’s relationship with Edward Rochester is analysed and his relationship with his wife Bertha Mason. The novels show that patriarchy was a well-rooted ideology within Victorian society; in order for women to gain what is rightfully theirs they have to speak out and fight for what they believe in.

Birting
7.5.2010


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