Abstract: On the base of the definition of stylistics, this thesis gives a detailed analysis of some the of stylistic devices used in the famous speech by the well-known American civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and then probes into the stylistic characteristics of speech as a style. Key words: Stylistics, Stylistic devices, analysis, speech. 马丁. 路德.金 《我有一个梦》的文体分析 摘 要:本文首先阐述了文体学的定义,并在此基础上对对美国着名黑人领袖马丁. 路德. 金的着名演讲 《我有一个梦》 中所使用的文体手段进行了详尽的分析,进而对演讲文体的风 格进行了简要的论述。 关键词:文体学;文体手段;分析;演讲 As an interdisciplinary field of study, stylistics promises to offer useful insights into literary criticism and the teaching of literature with its explicit aims and effective techniques. It is very useful in the analysis of various styles of writing. In this thesis, the author tries to offer a stylistic analysis of the famous speech by Martin Luther king, Jr. I Have a Dream. 1. Introduction: Definition of Stylistics and Stylistic Analysis As far as the definition of stylistics is concerned different scholars define the branch of study in different ways. Wales defines stylistics simply as “ the study of style” (1989:437), while Widdowson provides a more informative definition as “the study of literary discourse from a linguistic orientation” and takes “a view that what distinguishes stylistics from literary criticism on the one hand and
linguistics on the other is that it is essentially a means of linking the two” (1975:3). Leech holds a similar view. He defines stylistics as the “study of the use of language in literature” (1969:1) and considers stylistics a “meeting-ground of linguistics and literary study”(1969:2). From what Widdowson and Leech say, we can see that stylistics is an area of study that straddles two disciplines: literary criticism and linguistics. It takes literary discourse (text) as its object of study and uses linguistics as a means to that end. Stylistic analysis is generally concerned with the uniqueness of a text; that is, what it is that is peculiar to the uses of language in a literary text for delivering the message. This naturally involves comparisons of the language of the text with that used in conventional types of discourse. Stylisticians may also wish to characterize the style of a literary text by Systematically comparing the language uses in that text with those in another. Halliday points out, “The text may be seen as „this‟ in contrast with „that‟, with another poem or another novel; stylistics studies are essentially comparative in nature…”(1971:341). On this points, Widdowson is of the same opinion as Halliday. He says:“All literary appreciation is comparative, as indeed is a recognition of styles in general” (1975:84). Thus
, we may conclude that stylistic analysis is an activity that is highly comparative in nature. 2. Related Information of the Speech I HAVE A DREAM and Its Author Martin Luther King, jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a clergyman and the grandson of a slave. After attending several colleges
he received his Ph. D. in theology from Boston University in 1955. He led the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955-1956. As president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he then led civil rights demonstrations in many cities. In 1963 he helped organize the march on Washington, which brought together more than 200,000 people. A leader in establishing a nonviolent civil rights movement, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1964. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968, shortly before his fortieth birthday. Since then, he has become an American folk hero, and on November 2, 1983, a law honoring Dr. King was signed by President Rigan, effective January 1986, making the third Monday of January a national holiday. He is the only U. S. citizen other than George Washington to be recognized in this way. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in the United States. One hundred years after this decree was signed, however, the life of blacks was still “sadly crippled by the manacles of seGREgation and the Chains discrimination.” On August 28, 1963, a quarter of million people of all races came to Washington, D. C., to show their support for freedom and justice for all Americans, and for black people in particular. At that demonstration, Martin Luther King, jr. delivered this famous speech I HAVE A DREAM, widely regarded as the most eloquent statement of the black people‟s dreams and aspirations ever made. In his speech, Dr. King told the world, “I have a dream” that equality would come “to all of God‟s children.” He said he wanted everyone to be able to “join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro
spiritual, „Free at last! Free at last!…‟” 3. A Stylistic Analysis of the Speech (An analysis of some of the stylistic devices used in the speech) Martin Luther King‟s speech of August 28, 1963 is widely regarded as one of the most powerful ever delivered in the United States. Although this address was delivered orally, it was read from a written text composed with GREat care. It is an example of formal English with a convincing style. Here are some of the stylistic devices (which maybe considered traditionally as rhetorical devices) used by Dr King to inspire and persuade. 3.1 Repetition: Throughout the speech, Dr. King repeats words and sentence. This is a very outstanding feature in this speech called repetition. It belongs to the stylistic device of syntactic over-regularity. The term repetition is restricted to mean the case of exact copying of a certain previous unit in a text such as a word, phrase or even a sentence (L
eech, 1969), because all the over-regular features in literature are in some sense repetitious. Used in speech, repetition not only makes it easy for the audience to follow what the speaker is saying, but also gives a strong rhythmic quality to the speech and makes it more memorable. In paragraphs 8 through 16, for example, King uses the words “I have a dream” nine times. This repetition helps to achieve the function of coherence in discourse and the function of reinforcement in mood and emotion, expressing the speaker‟s strong emotion of longing for freedom, justice, righteousness and a much more
united nation of all of God‟s children. If we study the whole speech more carefully, it is easy for us to find many other examples of repetition used. ① But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro. ② is still sadly crippled by the manacles of seGREgation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. Here the phrase “one hundred years later” has been repeated three times, seemingly indicating that it is really a long time for the Negro to wait for the coming of the time of justice and righteousness. ②But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the GREat vaults of opportunity of this nation. (Par.4) the phrase “we refuse to believe that…” has been used twice to indicate the speaker‟s good hope. ③ Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of seGREgation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God‟s Children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice
to the solid rock of brotherhood. (Par.4) In this short passage, the clause “Now is the time to…” has been used four times to emphasize the fierce urgency of “NOW” and to encourage and persuade the blacks to take immediate action to rise above and gain their own rights and freedom. Other examples of repetition can still be easily found throughout the speech. In par. 7, the words “we can never/cannot be satisfied as long as…” has been used as many as five times to show the determination and persistence of the black people; in par. 17, the words “with the faith we will be able to…” has been repeated twice for the purpose of showing how strong the faith of the black people is to struggle for the brotherhood of “all of God‟s children”, and how strong the faith of the black people is to believe that they “will be free one day”. Now let‟s enjoy another example. ④And if America i
s to be a GREat nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire! Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city… (Paragraphs 19 through 25) the words “Let Freedom ring…” has been repeated as many as nine times to indicate that it is the whole of the United States rather than any part of it that should be bathed in the sunshine of freedom. 3.2 Use of Parallelism Parallelism is another syntactic over-regularity. It means exact repetition in equivalent positions. It differs from simple repetition in that the identity does not extend to absolute duplication, it “requires some variable feature of the pattern-some contrasting elements which are „parallel‟ with respect to their position in the pattern”(Leech, 1969:66). To put it simply, parallelism means the balancing of sentence elements that are grammatically equal. To take them parallel, balance nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, prepositional phrases with prepositional phrases, clauses with clauses, and so forth. In his speech, Martin Luther King uses parallelism to create a strong rhythm to help the audience line up his ideas. Here are few examples: ⑤„by the manacles of seGREgation and the chains of discrimination…(Par.2, two parallel noun phrases) ⑥“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drag of gradualism.” (Par.4, two parallel infinitive phrases: “to engage…to take…”) ⑦“there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America„”(Par. 5, two parallel
nouns joined with “neither…nor”) ⑧“We shall never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity…”(Par. 7, two parallel verb phrases) It is traditionally believed that parallelism is used for the purpose of emphasizing and enhancing, esp. in speech, the ideas expressed by the speaker (or author in written versions), thus always encouraging and inspiring the audience. We need not to be very carefully to find out many more examples of parallelism used in King‟s speech and classified as is followed: 3.2.1 parallel nouns: ⑨This not was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (Par. 3, three parallel nouns as attributive) ⑩1963 is not an end, but a beginning (Par. 5, two parallel nouns joined with “not…but…”) ⑾Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force
. (Par. 6) ⑿„have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. (Par. 6, two pairs of parallel nouns). ⒀ I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment…(Par. 8) ⒁„a desert state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be
transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. (Par. 11, two pairs of parallel nouns). 3.2.2 Parallel noun phrases: ⒂So we have to came to cash this check-a check that will give as upon demand the riches of freedom and The security of justice. (Par. 4) ⒃I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brother hood (Par. 10) 3.2.3 Parallel infinitive phrases: ⒄It would be fetal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. (Par.5, two parallel infinitive phrases) ⒅With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to straggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. (Par. 7, five parallel infinitive phrases). 3.2.4 Parallel prepositional phrases ⒆I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. (Par. 12) ⒇„, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, … (Par. 25) E. Parallel clauses:
(21) …, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and (that) their freedom is inextricably bound t our freedom. (Par. 6, two parallel objective clause) (22) I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough place will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. (Par. 6, six parallel clauses used as appositions of the noun “dream”). 3.3 Use of Similes and Metaphors As two very important types of meaning transference in literature, similes and metaphors are comparisons that show similarities in things that are basically different, which can be used to add vividness and vitality to writing. As Leech points out, metaphor is associated with a particular rule of transference which may be called the “metaphoric rule” (1969: 151). That is, the figurative meaning is derived from the literal meaning or it is, as it were, the literal meaning. Throughout the speech, King makes extensive use of similes and metaphors. In paragraph 1, for example, King compares The Emancipation Proclamation to two forms of brilliant light cutting through darkness. The first-“a joyous daybreak”-compares it to the sunrise, which (in this case) ends “the long night of captivity”. In paragra
ph 2, he speaks of “the manacles of seGREgation and the chains of discrimination,” comparing segregation and discrimination under which the Negro people live to the manacles and chains once used on slaves.
Therefore, it is very clear that the using of similes and metaphors can definitely add vividness and vitality to writing and make it easy for the readers or audience to understand. Now let‟s cite some of the similes and metaphors used in King‟s speech. (23) One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. (Par. 2, metaphors) (24) But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the GREat vaults of opportunity for this nation (Par.4, metaphors) (25)This is no time … to take the tranquilizing drag of gradualism. (Par. 4, metaphor) (26) This sweltering summer of the Negro‟s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. (Par. 5, Metaphors) (27) …we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. (Par. 7, Similes) (28) …a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. (Par. 14, Similes) 3.4 Use of Contrast Although maybe a rhetorical device instead of a stylistic one, contrast has also been used effectively, like repetition, in this speech, achieving the function of making clear the ideas of the speaker. In paragraph l, for example, “GREat
beacon light of hope” is contrasted with “flames of withering injustice,” and “joyous daybreak” with long night of captivity.” As it is defined, contrast is used to show the difference between two things. Therefore, it is not very difficult for us to understand why the speaker king uses so many contrasts in his speech. (29) One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. (Par. 2) (30) Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of seGREgation to the sunlit path of racial justice. (Par. 4) (31) Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood (Par.4) (32) This sweltering summer of the Negro‟s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. (Par. 5) (33) 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. (Par. 5) (34) Again and again we must rise to the majestic height of meeting physical force with soul force. (Par. 6) (35) And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. (Par. 7) (36)…the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.(Par. 10) (37)…a desert state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be t
ransformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. (Par. 11)
(38)…where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. (Par. 12) (39) With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. (Par. 17) (40) With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. 4. Conclusion As we have analyzed above, stylistic devices are frequently used in the discourse of literary works especially in speech, to achieve certain specific purposes.
Thus making the style of a speech somewhat particular to the others. Generally speaking, a speech may have the following stylistic characteristics: To begin with, it must be very persuasive. Thus the sentence patterns are very well-organized, with repetitions, parallelism and contrasts frequently used. Secondly, it should be emotional so as to be convincing, because the speaker should face the audience directly and his words should not only be orderly and informative but also be expressive and inspiring.
Therefore, the stylistic devices such as similes and metaphors are often involved. Finally, in many cases, written-conversational style is usually used with not very formal diction and not very complicated sentence structure. Bibliography: . Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream, August 28, 1963 . Wang Shouyuan, Essentials of English Stylistics, Shandong University
Press, July, 2000 . Pan Shaozhang, English Rhetoric and Writing, Shanghai Transportation University Press, December, 1998 . Widdowson, H. G. Stylistics and the Teaching of Literature, Longman, 1975 . Leech, G. N. “ „This bread I break‟ Language and interpretation”. In D.C. Freeman. (ed.). Linguistics and Literature Style. New York:Holt, Rinhart & Winston. Acknowledgements: It was really a laborious task to accomplish a B.A thesis. Many people gave me support and help in the process of writing the paper.
I‟d like first to give my grate to my dear teacher, vice professor Mr. Liu Fagong, who generously gave me his kindly help and instructions during the whole process of my paper-writing. Then I‟d like to give my many thanks to my classmates who helped me a lot with my information collecting and paper-polishing. Most important of all, I want to give my thanks to my mother university and all the teachers in the English College, who educated and cultivated me to be a qualified teacher in the future. A Brief Introduction to the Author: Su Zhanghai, a student in Class One 1988 Grade, majoring in English Education, and a well-to-be teacher in Shandong Agricultural University, who whole-heartedly gives his best wishes to all the teachers in Qufu Normal University.
Jane Eyre is a realism masterpiece in 19th century, which has a strong romanticism color. The novel is titled as the first feminism novel in the literary story of England. It is also famous as one of the well-known classical works in the world’s literary history. This thesis has analyzed the characters of Jane Eyre by knowing her important stories in her life. At Gateshead, there was nobody loving her and caring about her. She also was not been cherished and respected. This environment which was filled with ignorance and excoriation lead Jane Eyre to be a rebel girl who was longing for respect and freedom. At Lowood School, Jane Eyre felt love from her friend. At the same time, she understood how cruel the society was! She became strong and never stopped pursuing equality she wanted. At Thornfield, the complicated love between Jane and Rochester successfully built a female image that was born in a poor family and lived a path winding but always kept a positive attitude which maintained independence and initiative to love and life and braved to fight for freedom and equality. The aim to write this article is through Jane Eyre, we can find a modern female who enjoys noble quality which involves self-respect, self-adamancy and self-independence.
Key words: Jane Eyre; self-respect; equality; independence; love
Jane Eyre，written by Charlotte Bronte(1816-1855)，is one of the greatest works in English literature and has been read widely. By narrating the story in the form of autobiography of the heroine—Jane Eyre; by describing the daily life of the heroine，the psyche of the heroine，the natural scenery filtered through the heroine’ s eyes and dialogues; and by tracing changes in Jane’s life experience and maturation of her mind，Charlotte Bronte successfully shows Jane Eyre’s self-respect and her love for life. The revelation of Jane Eyre’s attitude toward life has its historical and modern significance. It is an encouragement to women who strive for equality and independence not only in her day but also in this age.
The heroine’s common and uncommon life experiences attract a large number of readers，and the spirit glowing in it strikes us deeply. It is about a girl’s process of growths and struggle. Her name is Jane Eyre. The story is set on the 19th century’ England when and where the Inheritance of Property and the charity schools were popular. With the vivid description and inviting arrangement of plot，Charlotte Bronte，the author of this novel，secretly and silently presents a kind of upward and independent spirit which directs the growth and maturation of heroine’s life attitude in her work. That is to be self-respect, and then to be full of love toward life.
The paper analyzes characters of Jane Eyre who was independent，self-respect and self-abased at the same time. The three important stages of her life was the key course of the thesis: Gateshead, Lowood and Thornfield. Jane Eyre shows us her growing-up and her more and more mature characters. Jane sets a good example for females and she lights the road of feminist. As a modern girl, I can learn a lot from the heroine. No one can worth your tears and no one has the right to decide your life. Attitude is everything! Your dreamy future is decided by yourself.
Part One Positive Characters of Jane Eyre
1.1 Never stop pursing dignity and freedom of inspirit
The heroine Jane Eyre is a very poor and undistinguished girl but in her temperament, she strives for dignity and freedom of inspirit for good.
At Gateshead, she was an orphan adopted by her uncle because she had lost her biological parents. There is nobody really caring about her after her uncle’s death. Though here was not a paradise, she also found some joy from a plenty of books. Book was her best friend and only friend. The only thing she could do to escape solitariness was bathed herself in the books. For her, the life without books in Gateshead was like the life without happiness in her world. John, her cousin, just like a monster, always ridiculed her and abused her. One day, he found her everywhere just for idling away his time. The miserable girl finally was found behind the curtain, concentrating on the book. John said: ―The book belongs to me, rat!‖ And he quickly snatched is from Jane with a successful and contemptuous smile.
The contemptuous smile aroused Jane’s rage which had been restrained a long time. She felt a deep sense of contempt to her. So she loudly argued, ―It belongs to my uncle Reed!‖ John, the capricious monster, used the book to heavily hit on her forehead. The blood was bleeding. The sense of contempt lead to her angry, even the undignified beating! Jane bravely began to fight back so that they disturbed everyone to come here. There was no doubt that the result was very terrible. The fighting case led her be sent to the horribly red room and was the blasting fuse of being driven to Lowood School. Her school will let her get far away from Gateshead a good while, to some extent, nearly forever. Indeed, no one took care of her and do her a little favor. No matter how she begged the aunt, nobody helped her and took notice of her inner feelings. Her revolt brought too much scold and unacceptable punishment. She was so lonely, poor and lowly. No one knew what feelings in her heart. The environment full of rejection and discrimination shaped Jane as a solitary, rebellious and eccentric girl in Gateshead family’s eyes. The environment also made Jane became brave and strong to pursue her dignity and freedom. She could not stand John’s smile with
contempt because she did not be respected and treated as a sister. She knew her dignity to being neglected but she could not let it go on. She fought with John for her dignity, for her freedom, for her own space. In her mind, she desired to get dignity and regarded her as a girl who was the John’s sister and a family member. She was longing for her own space to read or think. For her, John’s provocation was a disrespected beaver to her dignity. He disturbed her time, too. If she’d like to be respected, she must fight for it. No one will initiatively show his or her respect to you till you try. Her rebellious spirit started to come into being. The punishment of being sent to school was cruel but she bravely learned to take the result of pursuing dignity and freedom.
At Lowood School, she spent eight years here. Her rebellion became more mature. Environment decided one’s personality. Personality was shaped by the concrete environment. The death of Helen, her best friend, let her be more lonely and helpless, but made her know how to go for dignity. So she had been a teacher in Lowood School for two years.
At Thronfield, she had completely fallen in love with Mr. Rochester. But when the bad news that Mr. Rochester had a wife-in-law was coming, she decisively did not get him a chance and chose to leave. She could not accept to be a mistress and no deserved status. Through her whole life, she valued her dignity and safeguarded her dignity and never stopped perusing her dignity and her freedom of inspirit. The rebel woman eventually possessed dignity and freedom.
1.2 Never stop pursuing equality and independence
Different environment brings up people who have different personality. Jane Eyre not only was a rebel girl who goes for dignity and freedom, but also was a girl who runs after equality and independence. She has her own ideas and thoughts. Refusing to be a coward and a parasite is totally showed by her.
At Gateshead, she just lived the life like a dog. Every one could satirize her and played a trick on her. It was her plain appearance that made her sisters dislike her and
stay away from her. She tasted the loneliness and was hunted by inferiority. Beside inferiority, she had a strong wish that was to be equally treated, no matter how she or he was ugly or bad. A cat looks like a king. It’s my life that I have the right to decide what it was. I also could dress well and make up even if I am plain. I could make friends with creditable man even if I am from a poor family without reputation, too. I could learn as huge numbers of knowledge as rich girls and become a woman with elegant connotation. Jane’s most time was taken by reading books. She knew knowledge had the magic to change her life. She wanted to leave and did not be a parasite any longer. She had a strong emotion of study because she cherished that knowledge could give her independence. She was eager for independence and standing on her own feet. Jane thought that a man without independence was hardly looked as a respectable and equal man. For her aspiration, trying her best to learn is of importance. The Aunt Mrs. Reed told Mr. Brocklehurst: ―I’m sorry to say that her worst fault is that of deceit.‖ After the schoolmaster leaving, Jane said with strong anger, ―You said I was a liar. I’m not. If I were, I should say I love you, and I don’t. I dislike you worse than anybody in the world. People think you are good, but you are bad and hard-hearted. I’ll let everyone know what you have done. ‖ She was so brave and angry that Mrs. Reed was shocked. I can not believe that a little girl could say these! She could put up with Mrs. Reed’s slander and anything she’d done to ruin her reputation. Her equality was deprived. She yearned for equal rights to express her idea and equal rights to protect herself from being hurt, so she ignored nothing to argue with Mrs. Reed. The reality brings her up into a sensitive, obstinate and independent girl. She cherries her rights and dignity as a human, especially when she was only a little girl, she uses a pair of eyes of early-maturing child and a pure heart to observe and judge good or bad around. She has a rich but sentimental inner heart. To be equal gives her a powerful strength to become more independent.
At Lowood School, firstly, she thought it was a paradise but in fact a hell. Bad food, thin clothes, two girls live in one small bed, six persons use one basin. People could not receive timely cure if they catch a cold, so pestilence was spreading. If you couldn’t bear this, you would die soon.
Everyone in there dared to express what it was in inner heart. She had only friend, Helen. The most comfortable and lucky thing was Helen here. But miserable Helen went to heaven quickly, Jane could not accept the reality that the only friend passed away and she would be lonely a longer time. Under the solitary and helpless situation, Jane overcame every barrier and got through the pestilence. Jane suffers molestation of spirit and body continuously, but the unceasing study and independent spirit makes her survive in difficult environment. During school life, Jane becomes more mature in mind and she makes a further development of her self-independence and self-consciousness. The last two years in Lowood School, Jane served as a teacher who had from a students to a woman. The first day she came to school, the schoolmaster said to everyone: ―Children, I exhort you to shun her, exclude her, shut her out from this day forth. Without the hand of friendship and deny your love to Jane, the liar. ‖ Jane’s self-respect was deeply hurt by the unreal judgment. She felt inequality from the forced bad personality. She fearlessly refuted Mr. Brocklehurst but a strict punishment for her was coming. She was willing to be punished for her dignity and her quality. She thirsted for equality from other students and teachers. She rebel the undeserved punishment! The little girl proved the lie through her independence and her kind-hearted help. We can see that no one can slander you but yourself! A man who insisted on his concept ultimately will win his fame.
At Thronfield, Jane could not help being in love with Mr. Rochester. Though she was plain and no good shape, she chose to follow her true love. Though she was a poor girl without celebrated extraction and eminent status, she still chose to follow her love. Jane throughout believed that we are equal on spirit. When Mr. Rochester pretended to marry the girl form noble family, Jane said with rage, ―Do you think I am poor, obscure, plain and little. I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! It is my spirit that address your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet equal!-as we are!‖ We can understand that, for Jane, to get equal status on spirit and self-dignity is the basis on development of love. Love without equality is not the love of Jane’s. When she knew Mr. Rochester had a wife before their wedding, she left Thronfield without hesitation and she did not take any valuable
things. She had no money and suffered a series of difficulties. She would rather bear hungry than be subject to Mr. Rochester’s love without equality. Her independence had become more mature than before. She had her own concept of love and marriage. It’s not money could afford.
1.3 Never stop pursuing true love
Love is everyone’s right. One beautiful sentence can describe love: ―To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.‖ To Mr. Rochester, Jane is the world; to Jane, Mr. Rochester is her life. In modern society, men pursue love without restriction of money, age and family background. But in the Victorian Age, when you choose your lover, you need to consider whether you are matching on status and family background.
Jane is a great girl who was bravely showing her love and deciding on her own marriage. It’s not easy for her to fall in love with Mr. Rochester. When she came to Thronfield, she experienced dignity，respect and kindness. For her, here is the real paradise. The master Mr. Rochester was handsome, charming and mature even though his temper was capricious. After a long time, they gradually loved each other. Mr. Rochester was attracted by Jane’s reality and frankness, rebellion and insistence, and braveness and independence. But there were some barriers between them. Mr. Rochester was a nobleman from a big family and famous in the upper society of England. Too many parties and beautiful ladies in his life, he lived a rich life that he never suffered hungry, cold and thirsty. However, Jane’s life was filled with starvation. The hard time made her more independent and tough. For Mr. Rochester, when he was a child, he got everything he wanted. He possessed so much wonderful things which had never been seen by Jane. On the other hand, Jane came from a humble family. And when she was a child, she lost her parents and lived in uncle’s home. She was abused if she soundlessly read books, so how could she feast on wonderful dress or something special. To Mr. Rochester, he was fostered by advanced education from a child and he was well-educated and sensible. While Jane almost learned by herself
and she had no a good studying environment. The hard and miserable experience trained the girl who was rebel, independent and studious. Their different characters just like a magnet which linked them tightly. How different persons they are! How hopeless love it is! For this situation, Jane was a little short of confidence. She struggled and lastly kept her mind to pursue her true love, Mr. Rochester. When Mr. Rochester asked her: ―Am I handsome?‖ She was so frank that she directly answered ―NO‖. In her heart, Mr. Rochester was not a cool man who had a cheesy face and light skin, but he had a charming disposition that fascinated her causelessly. Confront with her beloved man, she did not choose to say a lie in order to cater him but say what it was. Of course, we are equal on spirit for Jane, so why I need to flatter you with some fraudulent words. I just am who I am! Mr. Rochester was surprised to her answer and buried himself in loving her rebellion and reality. How special girl she is! She was different from any girls he met. She asked equality of love so she refused to play a sycophant. She always showed a pure and sincere heart to Mr. Rochester. When she realized they couldn’t be together, she said to Mr. Rochester: ―I tell you I must go. Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I an a automation----a machine without feeling? And can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my tips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? You think wrong! I have much wealth; I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. ‖ She bravely showed her love and did not mask her opinions at all. She wanted an understanding feedback from Mr. Rochester. She thirsted for his comprehension and acceptance. She could not bear their love without the basis of dignity and equality. The bad news came here and she was shocked by it—he had a wife. Now, if she married him, she was just like a mistress. She was not his legal wife and their love was not equal! Jane understood how Mr. Rochester loved her and he could not think his life without Jane. If Jane would like to say ―I do‖, she would be a rich woman right now. High position and rich wealth could not bond her because the only thing she caring about was Mr. Rochester’s love. But she couldn’t persuade herself to be subject to rich life at the cost of losing her equality. She was utterly sad for the reality. But she could not bear herself to be an attachment of love so she left her Mr.
Rochester. At the end of the story, she still deeply loved Mr. Rochester and came back to Thronfield. After the fire disaster, Mr. Rochester lost home and all the estates and he had become a blind, old and poor man. Jane took good care of him, her beloved man. She did not look down upon him but love him more than before. She actively mentioned: ―I’d like to marry you.‖ Trough uncountable setbacks, they finally had a happy ending. Jane bravely decided her marriage. She was the new woman in Victoria Age. Never stop pursuing her true love made her become a wonderful woman. In the years of Thronfield, she gradually became more mature, brave and independent. Love made her complete.
Part Two Passive Characters of Jane Eyre
2.1 Inferiority of Jane Eyre’s inner heart
Jane Eyre’s common and uncommon life experience attract a large number of readers and the spirit glowing in it strikes us deeply. She was independent, rebel and tough. She struggle for her dignity, equality and love for life. But every coin has two sides. She has inferiority complex just like a common woman. The feeling of inferiority had haunted her whole life and it had been a part of her personality. Although she tried her utmost to get rid of it, she was still puzzled.
At Gateshead, she was self-abased because her plain appearance and her stout shape. It’s the nature that hero loves beauty in the story. She envied sisters’ good looking in her inner heart. Plain girl always lacked others’ compliment and suffered mock and ridicule for no reason. She fought for equality but she was hard to get away from sense of inferiority from beginning to ending. Lacking of confidence to her appearance made her hesitate so many times on her way to go for love. She worried that Mr. Rochester would look down upon her because of her looking. She worried that she was not a couple of his tea. She worried that others would suspected her behavior just for money and laughed at her over-confidently. She would rather huff and puff than be laughed at others. Her self-dignity was so important to her that no one could hurt it a little. Just her meticulous protection reflected her sense of inferiority. She was too sensitive to escape it. The more she protected her dignity, the more she was wrapped by inferiority. But she is a brilliant girl who knows how to cover it and express it in an ingenious way.
At Lowood School, Jane’s inferiority gained day by day. The school master told everyone that she was a liar and asked everyone to exclude her. She hoped that a new environment could let her begin a new life and forgot what all the miserable life in Gateshead, but in fact, school was another hell for her. Everyone excluded her, hate her and abused her. The tender heart was not strong enough to bear these and counterattack these. She did fought for it, but a little girl had no the ability to turn the table. No one really walked into her heart except Helen and on one regards her as a
good girl except Helen. The excluding environment fomented her inferiority to be deeper rooted. She thought no one liked her so that she wanted to end her life. These ideas were just caused by inferiority complex.
At Thronfield, she was deeply attracted by the master, Mr. Rochester. But the great differences between them made her hard to choose. Jane had no elegant parentage, no outstanding status and no noble friends. She was helpless, lonely and lowly. Living in the society which people was judged and decided by money, Jane knew how poor a man without money. All kinds of bitter experience in her childhood made her recognize that money was of significant importance. However Mr. Rochester had noble parentage, outstanding status and honorable friends. He was well-informed, well-educated and well-known. The rich manor obviously showed his wealth. Jane knew the differences that would stop her step to pursue her love. When she knew the existence of Mr. Rochester’s wife, she decisively left him without any money. She gave up the hands-down love just for her poor dignity and equality. To leave not only showed her will of dignity, but also presented her inferiority. She just used a positive way to masterly cover it. It did exist no matter how she masked. The sense of inferiority was reflecting Jane’s weakness and the common women’s weakness.
2.2 Jane Eyre’s surrender to traditional marriage concept
The Victorian Age was men centered and men controlled times. Women were discriminated against by men at that time. Men’s authority was everything. In the 19th century, women did not have any status. They were conceived of as people inferior to men. Although women’s colleges were established at Cambridge in 1869 and at Oxford in 1879, women could not take degrees at the university until 1920-1921. At that time, almost the only occupation open to women of good families was serving as governess in a private family. Now we see that Jane is a lucky girl who found a good job. The Victorian moral code for women was that they should remain ignorant and uneducated. The society background was cruel and depressive to women. It made
every woman obsequious, numb and thoughtless in their all the life. It must be strange and unimaginable if some women wanted to win over her rights in the men’s world. Jane was the new woman in the Victoria Age, but she still could not get away from the judgments from the society.
Every youth who love their life will not satisfy with one kind of formularized life. They aspired to freedom and outer world unknown by them. Jane is no exception. She went to Thronfield as a governess to her will. Love is human’s eternal theme of human being. Thronfield is Jane’s love paradise. Someone has said that people will give up their self-respect before love. Jane was an exception. She was braver than most people on love. she showed us how the charm of self-respect in her heart gained her love and then how it faces the love. But I have to say that everyone has his own defaults that he was stiff to overcome entirely. Jane was included. She was the new woman in the Victoria Age, but she still could not get away from the judgments from the society. Jane also surrendered to traditional marriage concept to some context.
At Jane and Mr. Rochester’s wedding, she knew that he had a wife who was insane and was his wedded wife. Hearing of the startling news, Jane retreated. No matter how she loved the master, she could not cast her dignity to fight for her love with a woman who had the lawful status. She could not stand that she was disgusting mistress who must be unacceptable. For society moral code and her pitiful dignity, she chose to leave her love. Her cruel-hearted behavior deeply hurt Mr. Rochester. She thought herself negligible and unqualified to get a married man’s love. She was rebellious but she lost motivation for love. Her self-esteem did not permit her to be a mistress. Her strong sense of equality did not allow her to be a woman who could not be acknowledged by the society. Her stubborn independence did not admit her to be a woman who enjoyed high status and rich wealth depending on lover. But in this part, we can feel that all she did to pursue dignity and equality just was reflecting her avoiding and surrender to traditional marriage concept. Face to the facts, she played a role of deserter in the love game and give up her love’s oaths. The testing of marriage let Jane destroy their love and made Mr. Rochester sink into endless sufferings.
Jane was really a new woman in the Victoria, but she was also a common
woman in the Victoria. What the age gives to her causes the brave girl not brave enough to strive for her marriage. In my own opinion, this part of surrendering to traditional marriage concept shows us a more real Jane who is sentimental, complicated and emotional.
Part Three Enlightenment from Jane Eyre
3.1 Spirit of Jane Eyre on modern females
The modern society is different from the Victoria Age. Now it’s more civil and democratic. A large number of women like Jane Eyre are emerging. Jane is undoubtedly an outstanding women’s declaration of independence and love. It’s Jane’s female consciousness that awakens women and voices women’s aspiration for liberation. What can we learn from Jane Eyre?
First and foremost, we need to fight for own rights like Jane. In modern society, more women work back in business. She can get some high-paying, powerful and responsibility-demanding jobs like men. It is really a important change on equality and sex discrimination. Women’s rights were caught more attention, but we also see that a huge number of jobs limited male. Women are excluded, no matter how you are capable and qualified. In fact, everyone knows that sex discrimination still exists.
We can earn money off our own bat, and we also can live a rich life without men’s financial help. So we are independent and strong. We can work like men, earn money like men and undertake responsibility like men. We voice that no sex discrimination at all!
Secondly, we need to be more independent and smart like Jane. Just like mentioned above, we become more independent. But we often hear of the news like marrying a millionaire or divorcing from a rich family with millions of money. It is not a new phenomenon because it has thousands of years story. People always attach too much financial relationship to marriage. Heavy and complicated benefit based relationships usually turned into the killer of marriage. Love should be pure and simple just like two innocent hearts get together. We can stand on our own feet without men and we need to arm ourselves with a clever brain. I like the sentence: the smart women are the most confident and pretty. The new age, we also can make great contribution to the development of society by our particular ways of thinking.
Last but not least, we need to be well-educated and knowledgeable like Jane. At her age, to be a governess is a great job for women. While for us, we have a lot of
choices to hunt for our beloved jobs. In the high-technological world, everyone must learn more and more knowledge and experience lots of works. If you do not improve yourself, the society must eliminate you. We can’t just like a cute cat waiting for others’ caring and help. Adopting yourself to the new environment and bravely push yourself to the new job, you will win your expected life.
3.2 Spirit of Jane Eyre on me
Jane’s characters deeply impressed me. She was not a beauty but she has a gracious soul; she was not a girl from a rich family but she is independent and to earn money; she is plain and inappreciable but she is brave to pursue her true love. I admire her and I am lucky that I knew her and made friends with her. Of course, I learned lots of from her.
There are two important points I must mention. On the one hand, I need to be more confident. I am not a pretty girl and I feel self-abased like Jane now and again. I am afraid that who are talking about my appearance or my shape. I completely have confidence to my appearance and shape. This idea like a monster made me more and more self-abased and yellow-bellied. One day, a friend’s compliment made me awake. She admired my good shape. That is incredible to me. But her word made me to pay more attention on myself. It occurs that I am not ugly if I am confident to myself. I could have a plain looking but I could have a beautiful heart. I need to believe myself that confident girl is the most beautiful one! Inferiority complex never makes you beautiful, so cast it away! No one can degrade you expect yourself, that if I am worthy, no influence can defeat me. From now on, to be a confident girl!
On the other hand, I need to be more independent. I am a girl of my self-respect. I do not live a life like a parasite. One day, I will leave parents and walk into another family to live my own life. I must make money by myself to support my little family. No one will save money to my credit card month after month. One day, I will be a mother and I need to learn how to feed on him like my parents taking good care of me. No cooked dish waiting for me .And now I am a mother so I should cook a table of
dishes to wait for my parents just like when I was a child. One day, my parents will be older. They will forget lots of things and lose their temper like an angry child. I know it’s the time to look after them in return. I must be independent and learn lots of by myself. If I do not arm myself with knowledge and ability, how can I better my life; if I cannot better my life, how can I take good care of my beloved family members. From now on, don’t be lazy! Try your best to handle with your staff by your own; you will be more independent and capable.
Jane Eyre is Charlotte Bronte’s representative work in 19th century and it is such a great novel that it holds an important position in the history of British literature. Our eyes were caught by her words which struggled for equality and freedom. Charlotte Bronte created successfully a new woman, Jane Eyre, who was plain but constantly strived to become stronger, she had courage to fight continuously for freedom and equality in the male word. We can see that she was absolutely a vanguard in Victoria Age.
This thesis represents us a complicated Jane who was independent when she was a little girl. At Gateshead, she just liked a seed which has broken through soil. At Lowood, she has possessed two delicate leaves. At Thronfield, she has been a little tree which was full of strength and grew up quickly. Thronfield was a turning point of her life. She bravely pursued her love no matter status, appearance and property. She was braver than girls in that age, but she also liked others in some sides. She has a deep inferiority complex and struggled between her love and traditional marriage concept. There was no a balanced scale which weighed inner love and people’s scorn. Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is never enough for music. Overlooking people’s thinking, Jane eventually harvested her true love.
For us, everyone has his advantages and disadvantages. Confront with your defeats, you will win your life. The spirits of Jane encourage us to be strong, independent and successful. No one can help you a whole time. Throw away all the support, you can find your ability and be a confident and successful man.
(1) The three cardinal stages: Gateshead, Lowood School and Thornfield. The five
constant virtues: self-confidence, independence, self-respect, equality and true
(2) Victorian Age: chronologically the Victoria period roughly coincides with the
reign of Queen Victoria who ruled over England from 1837 to 1901. The
period has been generally regarded as one of the most glorious in the English
(3) Charlotte Bronte: English writer(21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855) noted for
her novel Jane Eyre (1847), sister of Anne Bronte and Emily Bronte. Jane
Eyre is Charlotte Bronte’s representative work in 19th century. On the basis of
Jane Eyre, she established her position of English literature.
(4) ―Do you think I am automation----a machine without feeling? And can bear to
have my morsel of bread snatched from my tips, and my drop of living water
dashed from my cup? You think wrong! I have much wealth; I should have
made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave
you.‖(Charlotte Bronte 2010: 435)
(5) ―You said I was a liar. I’m not. If I were, I should say I love you, and I don’t. I
dislike you worse than anybody in the world. People think you are good, but
you are bad and hard-hearted. I’ll let everyone know what you have done. ‖
(Charlotte Bronte 2010: 66)
(6) Inferiority complex: An inferiority complex, in the fields of psychology and
psychoanalysis, is a feeling that one is inferior to others in some way. Such
feelings can arise from an imagined or actual inferiority in the afflicted person.
Unlike a normal feeling of inferiority, which can act as an incentive for
achievement (or promote discouragement), an inferiority complex is an
advanced state of discouragement, often embedding itself into one's lifestyle,
and sometimes resulting in a retreat from difficulties.
(7) Feminism: a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and
defending equal, political, economic, and social rights for women. Feminism
seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.
A feminist is a "person whose beliefs and behavior are based on feminism."
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