2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Social and Economic Control over Women in 19th Century Western Society as Portrayed in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea
Matthew J. Welker
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In 19th century Great Britain and its territories, repression and cruelty marked the treatment of lower class women. Through childhood experiences and education, women were taught that they had little worth and their opportunities were limited. The conditions for those in the West Indies were further exacerbated by the perception of the Creole population as a lower class, regardless of actual economic standing. This classism was exacerbated for women of low socioeconomic status, who were subjected to ridicule and abuse at the hands of the entire community. This essay analyzes the sexist and classist societal norms in both the British West Indies and in England, and how women’s lives were shaped and determined largely by these conventions through the study of a feminist work, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847) and a postcolonial work, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966).

Keywords: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, Jean Rhys, Postcolonial, Feminist, Socioeconomic , Wide Sargasso Sea


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 37-3
Location: VH 1304
Time: 1:45

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