Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Previous knowledge of the novel Essay
From your reading of Chapters 1, 2 and 26 of Ã¢â¬Å"Jane EyreÃ¢â¬ , as well as any previous knowledge of the novel you might have, write about the links you begin to see between that text and Charlotte Perkins GilmanÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ . Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892 for a number of specific purposes, including the authorÃ¢â¬â¢s desire to raise awareness of the condition post-partum depression, from which she suffered, and to illustrate her views on the patriarchal nature and the inequality of Victorian society, particularly with relation to marriage. Perhaps most importantly, Gilman wanted to expose the flaws in the male treatments propositioned for post-partum depression and other similar conditions; treatments from which she herself ailed even more than from her Ã¢â¬Ënervous disorderÃ¢â¬â¢ when waylaid in bed, much like the narrator of her novella Ã¢â¬â albeit to a less extreme end. By contrast, Charlotte Bronti Ã¢â¬Ës Ã¢â¬Å"Jane EyreÃ¢â¬ has no such definite intentions, but acts most prominently as a bildungsroman and a partial autobiography, which leads to a very different treatment of characters as constructs rather than as GilmanÃ¢â¬â¢s use of them as representations. While Bronti Ã¢â¬Ës characters in Ã¢â¬Å"Jane EyreÃ¢â¬ cannot be labelled with much more precision than Mr. RochesterÃ¢â¬â¢s standing as a Byronic hero, the characters in Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ are clearly intended for various purposes. The most obvious examples are John, the narratorÃ¢â¬â¢s husband, who embodies the Victorian male and the Victorian physician, and the narrator herself, who is intended to represent all of womankind subjected to the aforementioned Victorian male doctor. A commonality between the two novels exists in their inclusion of characters exhibiting madness. There can be drawn many similarities between the two differing presentations, including an obvious physical manifestation of insanity. In Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ , as the narrator falls into madness Ã¢â¬â and particularly at the end of the novel when she has succumbed to it entirely Ã¢â¬â Gilman depicts her Ã¢â¬Ëcreeping by daylightÃ¢â¬â¢ about her room, Ã¢â¬ËcrawlingÃ¢â¬â¢ on the floor, Ã¢â¬â¢round and round and roundÃ¢â¬â¢, after having the narrator herself earlier assert that Ã¢â¬Ëmost women do not creep by daylightÃ¢â¬â¢, therefore proleptically implying something abnormal about herself. In Ã¢â¬Å"Jane EyreÃ¢â¬ , this same physicality is used by Bronti in her presentation of Bertha Mason Rochester, as she is first introduced to Jane and to the readers Ã¢â¬Ëon all foursÃ¢â¬ ¦ like some strange wild animalÃ¢â¬â¢. Bertha is said to have Ã¢â¬Ësnatched and growledÃ¢â¬â¢, and Ã¢â¬Ëlaid her teeth to [Mr. RochesterÃ¢â¬â¢s] neckÃ¢â¬â¢, which is an animalistic image also shown by Gilman when she has her narrator say she Ã¢â¬Ëbit off a little pieceÃ¢â¬â¢ of her bed. Both authors are in this way very deliberate in creating the metaphor of their insane characters being animals; Bronti refers to Bertha through her narrator Jane as a Ã¢â¬ËbeastÃ¢â¬â¢, a Ã¢â¬Ëwild animalÃ¢â¬â¢ and a Ã¢â¬Ëclothed hyenaÃ¢â¬â¢, and besides these more obvious physical links, there are also allusions to hair Ã¢â¬Ëwild as a maneÃ¢â¬â¢, Ã¢â¬Ëa fierce cryÃ¢â¬â¢, an instance in which the woman Ã¢â¬ËbellowedÃ¢â¬â¢, and her Ã¢â¬Ëstature almost equalling her husbandÃ¢â¬â¢, who is built athletically, so this comparison therefore reinforces Bronti Ã¢â¬Ës presentation of Bertha as something of a behemoth Ã¢â¬â her name even bears a visual similarity to the words Ã¢â¬ËbeastÃ¢â¬â¢ or Ã¢â¬ËbearÃ¢â¬â¢. There are several other parallels discernable between Bronti Ã¢â¬Ës Bertha and GilmanÃ¢â¬â¢s narrator, for example in Ã¢â¬Å"Jane EyreÃ¢â¬ Bertha commits the mortal sin of suicide by jumping out of an upstairs window after burning down the house in her final act of freedom, while in Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ , GilmanÃ¢â¬â¢s narrator is far more trapped than the character of Bertha, so she can only express a desire to Ã¢â¬Ëjump out of the windowÃ¢â¬ ¦ but the bars are too strong even to tryÃ¢â¬â¢, and before that Gilman had had her narrator state: Ã¢â¬ËI thought seriously of burning the house Ã¢â¬â to reach the smellÃ¢â¬â¢. Both identical actions are used by the two authors to illustrate their charactersÃ¢â¬â¢ insanity and an implicit breaking down of social norms; and especially a desire for suicide that goes against the core of human nature in our intrinsic survival instinct, which was a deviation seen before in the presentation of the two women as animals rather than human beings. Bertha is referred to by Bronti through Jane Eyre as an Ã¢â¬ËitÃ¢â¬â¢, solidifying this idea of her insanity rendering her inhuman. However, the marked difference between the protagonist of Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ and one of the antagonists of Ã¢â¬Å"Jane EyreÃ¢â¬ is indeed the fact that Bertha has the freedom to carry out her insane thoughts, while Gilman has created in her novella such an image of imprisonment that her own character fails to complete either undertaking. This idea is crucial to GilmanÃ¢â¬â¢s message of womenÃ¢â¬â¢s entrapment in a Victorian patriarchal society, and therefore contributes to the novellaÃ¢â¬â¢s effectiveness. On the other hand, since Ã¢â¬Å"Jane EyreÃ¢â¬ was not written with such a definite intention as Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ , the actions of Bertha are designed to contribute to the plot of the novel more than to convey a message about the treatment of women, the mentally insane or the handicapped, though the latter readings could also be taken. A more obvious difference between the two novels is that it is the autodiegetic narrator we can assume to be called Jane of Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ that exhibits insanity, thereby directly demonstrating to the reader the lack of cohesion in her mind, while in Ã¢â¬Å"Jane EyreÃ¢â¬ BerthaÃ¢â¬â¢s insanity is regarded by the readers through the eyes of Bronti Ã¢â¬Ës eponymous narrator. Additionally, while the reader experiences the breakdown of the narratorÃ¢â¬â¢s mind from sanity to its loss in the former text, in the latter the only experience given to the reader of Bertha is of her already mentally degraded, with no transformation shown, and little information given about her prior to the exhibition of her allegedly genetic insanity. Bronti emphasises the fact that the reader is not given the whole story of her character Bertha through the interesting manipulation of her narrator. Despite the fact that Jane Eyre is an autodiegetic narrator, the same as that of Ã¢â¬Å"The Yellow WallpaperÃ¢â¬ , in the scene in which she is presented with Bertha, and indeed in ensuing scenes featuring Mr. RochesterÃ¢â¬â¢s first wife, Jane Eyre becomes more of a homodiegetic narrator Ã¢â¬â simply conveying the events before her but clearly on the edges of a much deeper story and a more extensive narrative than she has the ability or knowledge to recount.