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The Representations of the Various Women in the Novel Jane Eyre: A Descriptive Analysis.

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Weslane de Oliveira Silva

Acadêmica do curso de Letras Inglês – (UFT)


Jane Eyre, published on 16 October 1847, is a novel wrote by Charlotte Brontë, considered one of the most famous English books of century XIX and of the Victorian age. Also, it is the most famous work of the author. The book is divided into 38 chapters, contains various autobiographical[a] aspects and presents many themes, such as, socials, religious, Gender relations, among others. There are, in the novel, seven important women in Jane’s life, they are: Mrs. Reed, Miss Temple, Céline Varens, Blanche Ingram, Bertha Mason, Diana Rivers and Mary Rivers. This essay objective is discuss the representation these women in the novel and describes what Jane learns about proper feminine behavior from each of their.


Jane lived in Gateshead Hall with her aunt Mrs. Reed and her cousins. Jane describe Mrs. Reed like “A woman of robust frame, square-shouldered and strong limbed, not tall, and, though stout, not obese: she had a somewhat large face, the under jaw being much developed and very solid; her brow was low, her chin large and prominent, mouth and nose sufficiently regular”. (BRONTË, 1847, pg. 61).

Mrs. Reed was a woman that reproduced a patriarchal model of family. Maybe that would be one of her reasons for hating Jane, an orphan that would never be considered of the family, while, she had promised for her brother Mr. Reed, on the deathbed, take care of Jane Eyre as her daughter. Jane also didn’t like her aunt, because Mr. Reed always treated her very badly with contempt, arrogance, and inferiority. The excerpt bellow shows such feelings:

Well might I dread, well might I dislike Mrs. Reed; for it was her nature to wound me cruelly; never was I happy in her presence; however carefully I obeyed, however strenuously I strove to please her, my efforts were still repulsed and repaid by such sentences as the above. Now, uttered before a stranger, the accusation cut me to the heart; I dimly perceived that she was already obliterating hope from the new phase of existence, which she destined me to enter; I felt, though I could not have expressed the feeling, that she was sowing aversion and unkindness along my future path. (BRONTË, 1847, pp. 57-58).

After Mrs. Reed sends Jane to the charity school (Lowood), she only appears again in chapter 21, when was almost dying. Jane learned, even indirectly, that should not resent her aunt. This shows the maturity that Jane achieved, even after having suffered severely with the maltreatment of her aunt. Jane has become a strong, resilient woman. She represented Jane's life first negative female role model.


Miss Temple was Jane's favorite teacher during the time she was in Lowood. The Miss was also superintendent from school, she was very kind, gentle, generous, honest, intelligent, and very attentive with all girls of school; but she had a special fondness for Jane and Helen Burn. In one of the first conversations with Jane, Burn describes a little bit the personality of Miss Temple. “Miss Temple is full of goodness; it pains her to be severe to anyone, even the worst in the school: she sees my errors, and tells me of them gently; and, if I do anything worthy of praise, she gives me my meed liberally”. (BRONTË, 1847, p. 102).

Miss Temple was very important for personal and emotional development of Jane. She encourages Jane to apply herself to her education. Jane also learned to be patient and have principles about the truth. Miss Temple was almost a maternal figure to Jane, a female reference she had. The excerpt bellow shows the admiration Jane had for her.:

“Miss Temple had always something of serenity in her air, of state in her mien, of refined propriety in her language, which precluded deviation into the ardent, the excited, and the eager: something, which chastened the pleasure of those who looked on her and listened to her, by a controlling sense of awe”. (BRONTË, 1847, p.135).

Jane followed the steps of Miss temple and became a teacher in Lowood; she was a teacher for eighth years there. When Miss Temple married, Jane felt prepared to leave Lowood.


Celine Varens was a French opera dancer with whom Rochester once had an affair. In Chapter 15, Rochester tells Jane about his past affair with Adele's mother, and how he came to be Adele's guardian, Rochester admits to Jane that he and Celine Varens were lovers and that he had what he called a "grande passion" for her.

He then said that she was the daughter of a French opera-dancer Celine Varens, towards whom he had once cherished what he called a “grande passion.” This passion Celine had professed to return with even superior ardor. He thought himself her idol, ugly as he was: he believed,


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