2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

A New Historicist Examination of Masculinity in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea
Tracey M. Hurt
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

This paper will analyze the ways in which Nineteenth-Century British colonial society shaped the attitudes of white upper-class men, as reflected in the novels Jane Eyre (1847), by Charlotte Bronte and Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), by Jean Rhys. Edward Rochester, the primary male character of both novels, is deeply influenced by the standards placed upon him by the British nobility of which he is a part. Because of the law of primogeniture, Rochester is forced to marry Antoinette, an heiress, in order to maintain his noble status. He carries this standard of a noble gentleman into his household by asserting his dominance as the patriarch, both over Antoinette and Jane. By examining his relationships with Jane and Antoinette in the context of British imperial society, we can gain a more complex understanding of his actions, even when they sometimes seem cruel and illogical.

Keywords: Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys, Charlotte Bronte, Edward Rochester, colonialism, imperialism


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 27-4
Location: VH 1232
Time: 10:30 am

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