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“True Wisdom”: Functions of the Gardens in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
Chen, Eva Yin-I
The Development of Women
|Issue Date: ||2020-03-02 10:56:54 (UTC+8)|
The concept of material culture inspires me to work on this thesis focusing on the gardens in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Since the eighteenth century, accelerated industrialization and technological innovation have led to a flourish of material objects, whose influences on human beings have been acknowledged by scholars in relevant fields. Garden, a material space striding across nature and civilization, exterior and interior, as well as freedom and restraints, are of no exception. One group of critics agrees that the relations between women and the garden space contribute to women's gradual development into maturity; on the other hand, another circle of scholars values the colonial connotations of the garden space. These two schools of theories are the entry points of my readings on the gardens in Jane Eyre—that is, the topic of the garden space has generally not received sufficient attention among the scholars. After analyzing transformations of the English garden from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries in the second chapter, I focus on investigating the four gardens located in Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Moor House in order to delve deeper into how Jane's relationships with the gardens contribute to her growth. Furthermore, a garden in Jamaica arouses my interest in how Bertha's slave-like experience in England illustrates the slaves' general sufferings at that period. Both women's untamed nature are restrained by the stifling Victorian society. Jane, a deemed angel in the house, is forbidden from establishing her own school and having a relationship with a man of superior rank. Bertha, a woman personifying exotic flower, withers in England—her life is destroyed by Rochester, who is more of a patriarchal owner than a caring partner. From my observation of the overall plot-character development, Brontë may suggest that the haven-like gardens give women the freedom to prosper. However, if the female subject—Bertha, a prominent instance—is unable to adapt and adjust herself to the material culture of a particular period, then the gardens, epitomizing the materialism of the Victorian society, could also be hell-like and destructive to her. All in all, with my investigation of Jane's and Bertha's relationships with the garden space, this paper intends to shed some new light on Brontëan scholarship, especially in terms of the conflicts between women's sense of self-progression and the societal prejudice against their self-assertion at the time.
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|Source URI: ||http://thesis.lib.nccu.edu.tw/record/#G1055510061|
|Data Type: ||thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||[英國語文學系] 學位論文|
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