The Patriarchal Struggle In Jane's Jane Eyre

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Jane finds her world, her ability to see and define the 24 world on her own terms, slipping from her as Rochester now dominates her ability to see the world. Wanting to maintain Rochester’s love and to please the man she loves, Jane finds herself struggling with the oppression she strongly fought against previously. Rochester attempts to impose an identity on Jane, something she is able to resist at her prior homes, but struggles with as her wedding day approaches. Jane resists Rochester’s attempts to dress her, name her, and confine her throughout their engagement; he is suffocating her sense of herself by imposing identities on her that she has not yet consented to: “Mr. Rochester had written himself the direction, “Mrs. Rochester,- Hotel,…show more content…
Rochester! She did not exist” (275). While prior to their engagement Jane and Rochester seem to relate to one another honestly and as equals, once engaged, Rochester threatens Jane’s sense of selfhood by attempting to affix an identity on her. Jane’s emotional strength guides her when she is tempted to remain with Rochester despite his being already married to Bertha; such a relationship threatens Jane’s individualism as Jane believes it would take on the power dynamic of the patriarchal structure. Jane seems to be guided by an inner voice that demonstrates her emotional strength and her personal integrity in staying true to herself. Rochester loves her, and Jane is tempted to stay because this love is something she has never experienced before; she asks herself, “who in the world cares for you? Or who will be injured by what you do?” (317). Though she is tempted by his love for her, her love for herself trumps his as she responds to her own question, “I care for myself” (317); she knows that “the more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself” (317). Jane finds herself empowered by her individualism here, finding that her 25 inner voice supports her: the “voice within [her] averred that [she] could do it”

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