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The Quest for Inner Beauty in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

The Quest for Inner Beauty in Jane Erye

The beauty of a woman is usually classified into two categories: superficial, or physical, beauty and inner, or intellectual, beauty. In the Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Erye, the protagonist rejects her own physical beauty in favor of her intelligence and morality. This choice allows her to win the hand of the man she desires. Jane values her knowledge and thinking before any of her physical appearances because of her desire as a child to read, the lessons she is taught and the reinforcements of the idea appearing in her adulthood. During the course of the novel she lives at five homes. In each of these places, the idea of inner beauty conquering exterior appearance becomes a lesson, and in her last home she gains her reward, a man who loves her solely for her mind. She reads against her cousins wishes as a child at Gateshead, learns to value her intelligence as a child at the Lowood Institution, her mind and humility win the heart of Mr. Rochester at Thornfield Manor, she earns St. John’s marriage proposal at Marsh’s End, and in the end she wins her prize of Mr. Rochester’s hand in marriage at Ferndean Manor.

Jane Erye spent the beginning of her childhood at her Aunt’s house, where she struggles to become more intelligent by reading books. Jane wants to learn, even though her cousin insists: “You have no business to read our books; you are a dependent” (pg. 42). Shortly after being struck for reading, she lays in bed and requests: “Gulliver’s Travels from the library. This book I had again and again perused with delight” (pg. 53). Her ambition to read and better herself meets opposition from her cousins, yet she continues to struggle to read when she can. The family she lives …

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…e Place of Love in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

David Lodge, Fire and Eyre: Charlotte Brontë’s War of Earthly Elements

Fraser, Rebecca. The Brontes. 1st ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1988.

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 3rd ed. New York: The Modern Library.

Bronte, Charlotte. “Charlotte Bronte’s Letters”. New York: W. W. Norton

Escape Mechanisms in The Glass Menagerie

Escape Mechanisms in The Glass Menagerie

In Tennessee Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie, all four members of the Wingfield family have chosen to hide from reality. Amanda tries to relive her past through Laura, and denies anything she does not want to accept. Laura is terrified of the real world, and choses to hide behind her limp, her glass menagerie and the victrola. Tom hides from his reality by going to the movies, writing poetry, and getting drunk. Mr Wingfield hides from his reality by leaving his family and not contacting them after he has done so. Each member of the Wingfield family has their own escape mechanism which they use to hide or escape from the real world.

Amanda has chosen to hide from reality by trying to relive her past. She is living in the unreality of her youthful memories and sees herself as still being as young as Laura when she says to her, ‘No, sister, no, sister – you be the lady this time and I’ll be the darkey’ (p 237). She reminisces about ‘one Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain’ (p 237) when she received seventeen gentleman callers, and then tries to relive this through Laura. She arranges for Tom to bring home some nice young man…

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…1987. 85-94.

Levy, Eric P. “‘Through Soundproof Glass’: The Prison of Self Consciousness in The Glass Menagerie.” Modern Drama, 36. December 1993. 529-537.

Rasky, Harry. Tennessee Williams: A Portrait in Laughter and Lamentation. New York: Dodd, Mead

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