Jane Eyre Chelsea Sy “The struggle to achieve dominance over others frequently appears in fictio

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Jane Eyre Chelsea Sy “The struggle to achieve dominance over others frequently appears in fictio

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Jane Eyre

Chelsea Sy


“The struggle to achieve dominance over others frequently appears in fiction.” Such a struggle for dominance occurs in

Jane Eyre


Write an essay showing for what purposes the author uses the struggle.

Do not merely retell the story.


Literal Meaning

How does the struggle for dominance impact the novel?


Relevancy to the Novel

Dominance plays a major role in the novel as a whole.

For example:

the Reed family’s dominance over Jane in the beginning of the novel


abuse of power over Jane and the girls at


Jane’s relationship with Edward Rochester throughout the novel


Examples of the Prompt

“No; you are less than a servant, for you do nothing for your keep. There, sit down, and think over your wickedness” (Bronte 7).

When Jane is put into the red room, Miss Abbott and Bessie order Jane to stay in there, behave, and reflect on her “wickedness.” This portrays the maids’ dominance over Jane. Although the maids may not agree to Mrs. Reed’s harsh punishment, they’re just following orders which also portrays Mrs. Reed’s dominance as the “master” of




Examples of the Prompt Cont’d

“‘…do you agree with me that I have the right to be a little masterful, abrupt, perhaps exacting, sometimes, on the grounds I stated, namely, that I have battled through a varied experience with many men of many nations…while you have lived quietly with one set of people in one house’” (Bronte 141).

Rochester declares his dominance over Jane after he interrogates her about her life.


Literary Devices


“All John Reed’s violent tyrannies, all his sisters’ proud indifference, all his mother’s aversion, all the servant’s partiality, turned up in my disturbed mind like a dark deposit in a turbid well” (Bronte 9).

This best applies to the prompt because it shows how cruel the Reed family was to Jane simply because they believed they were more dominant and above Jane.


Literary Devices Continued


“ Miss Temple had looked down when he first began to speak to her…and her face, naturally pale as marble…especially her mouth, closed as if it would have required a sculptor’s chisel to open it” (Bronte 63).




was not only intimidating to the girls at

Lowood, he was intimidating to everyone. This quote portrays Brocklehurst’s dominance.


Literary Devices Continued


“And I am a hard woman

impossible to put off” (Bronte 416).

- Toward the end of the novel, Jane finally asserts dominance over others. This is especially crucial because she had been following the orders of others for so long. Now, Jane has this newly discovered confidence.



Mrs. Reed orders Mrs. Abbott and Bessie to send Jane into the red room.

Brocklehurst forces Jane to stand on a stool as her peers watched.

Rochester interrogates Jane about her life when they first officially meet.

St. John proposes to Jane

Jane goes to


to be with Rochester


Alternative Prompt

“One of the strongest human drives seems to be a desire for power. Discuss how a character in the novel struggles to free himself or herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others. Be sure to demonstrate how the author uses this power struggle to enhance the meaning of the work.”


The main point of the novel is the fact that Jane overcomes her submissiveness. This is a key component because she has lived her life under the impression that she should remain subordinate to her male counterparts. One of the most impressionable parts of the story is the part where Jane feels empowered. After Thornfield was destroyed, Jane gains power over her male counterparts by having control of her own decisions, such as rejecting St. John’s proposal. As the novel continues and each institution changes for Jane, she begins to have more freedom over her life.


Pivotal significant moments

Jane being sent to the red room

- The first unjust punishment stated in the book, caused by the Reed children’s condescending nature toward Jane.

Jane’s introduction to Rochester

- Rochester is introduced as an intimidating “higher figure”



Jane’s struggle of control over her life led up to the main purpose of the novel as a whole. By showing Jane’s constant battle between her and various authoritative figures, the audience witnesses Jane grow to be independent: have an independent mind and control what she does and does not want to do… (after basically being controlled and restricted her whole life)


Works Cited


, Jane E., and Charlotte Brontë. 

Jane Eyre

. Random House, 2005.

Violette, Jane. “(Writing) About Literature.” 

Writing About Literature

, writingaboutliterature.web.unc.edu/2015/01/23/male-dominant-relationships-in-jane-eyre/.

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