All Good Artists Seem the Same
Through the narrative technics of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, we are introduced to Jane and Emma, two nineteenth century God-fearing girls, maturing into ambitious, knowledgeable and productive women of the future. By thrusting strong hearted, risk taking, fierce female characters into the position of the protagonist in their novels, both authors helped push together the lines of inequality between men, women, the rich and the poor. Their intent to develop and reinforce the audience’s sense of class and distinction strengthened their relevance in the world of arts and education then and now. Embarking on a mission to inform their 19th century patronage of their well read, educated, and informed ideas allowed future contributors to flourish, in turn opening and inspiring minds of generations of readers to come. While Austen uses courtship and Bronte turns to the imagination, both writers call upon their intended demographic to internalize their fiction and from it grow.
Whether manufacturing herself useful towards a Harriet, or advertising in the “shire Herald” the heroin of the twentieth century novel in surging with a longing to overcome boredom. Emma lives to play matchmaker, a position that gives the author room to develop a series of interpersonal connections that expand our landscape of her world. Jane Eyre decides to reach out beyond her horizon and risks everything to unravel the mysteries of life inside the mind of Charlotte Bronte. Emma never ceases to amaze with opinions on social etiquette and class, “Dear Harriet, I give myself joy of this. It would have grieved me to lose your acquaintance, which must have been the consequence of your marrying Mr. Martin.” (52.Austen) Her deluded sense of entitlement is seen here doing a good job notifying readers of that naiveté; spoiled little girls try to enrich themselves through a vanity, that can be defined, conceived in much the same manner throughout time. Miss. Eyre isn’t found in the same aristocratic position as Austen’s hero. Bronte cleverly attributes the growth of her character to her thinking process, which she makes clear in the narrative.
I desired liberty: for liberty I gasped; for liberty I uttered a prayer; it seemed scattered on the wind then faintly blowing. I abandoned it and framed a humbler supplication. For change, stimulus. That petition, too, seemed swept off into vague space. ‘Then,’ I cried, half desperate, ‘grant me at, least a new servitude!’ (102Brontee)
Both characters are young and energetic, alive with the passions of life, a mix of characteristics that are bound to alleviate boredom and expose them to the real world, the one without boarders.
Influenced by a hierarchical environment both authors were forced to introduce ways in which their protagonist were to actualize themselves in a respectable manner. Austen’s Emma comes from money, she’s had everything she’s ever wanted handed to her on a silver platter, leaving her vulnerable to become full of herself. Fortunately for women of her day there were Mrs. Elton’s. Emma considers manners above other things,
’Insufferable woman!” … “Worse then I had supposed. Absolutely insufferable! Knightly!—I could not have believed it. Knightley!—never seen him in her life before, and call him knightley!—and discover that he is a gentlemen.(259Austen)
Mr. Elton’s wife paints us a beautiful picture of what it means to have money without class. Emma is inherently aware of how to behave and she is being scrutinized as closely as Mrs. Elton. Austen entrust the reader to realize that what makes a character great is their ability to integrate all the good virtues of humanity without manifesting any degradation to those around them. Jane Eyre is a governess materially owning next to nothing. Using her wit alone she hooks the heart of the Master of Thornfield. Yet Miss. Eyre chooses to peruse a relationship with Rochester even after she hears
’And Miss Eyre, so much was I flattered by this preference of the Gallic sylph for her British gnome, that I installed her in an hotel; and gave her a complete establishment of servants, a carriage cashmeres, diamonds, dentelles, etc. In short, I began the process of ruining myself in the received style, like any other spoony. (165Bronte)
Jane’s keen sense of her own individuality allows her to look past her boss’s predispositions to do evil, and still relate to the Noble man he is inside. Acting above the status quo is the matter in which the female protagonists raise themselves above the pre-conceived notions of their society. Allowing the reader glimpses of a bird’s eye view of the true character of the hero.
A portrait of truth that accurately defines the nineteenth century world can be directly associated within the narrative landscape of Jane Eyre and the vocalized opinions of Emma. Austen is as relevant today as she was a hundred years ago because she was very capable of depicting the irony between reality and the way we think we know it. Austen cunningly allows us into the mind of Emma.
Mr. Knightley and Harriet!- It was an odd tete-a-tete; but she was glad to see it.—There had been a time when he would have scorned her as a companion, and turned from her with little ceremony. Now they seemed in pleasant conversation. There had been a time also when Emma would have been sorry to see Harriet in a spot so favorable for the Abbey-Mill Farm; but now she feared it not. (338Austen)
Harriet is nowhere neared to a favorable spot at the Farm then Robert Martin, but in Emma’s mind they’re going to be married almost within weeks. Of course she ends up Mrs. Knightley, and Harriet Mrs. Martin. On the other hand Bronte remains so powerful to a modern audience because she insisted on exposing her nineteenth century readership to the will of Jane Eyre,
But, then, a voice within me averred that I could do it, and foretold that I should do it. I wrestled with my own resolution: I wanted to be weak that I might avoid the awful passage of further suffering I saw laid out for me; and Conscience, turned tyrant, held Passion by the throat, told her tauntingly, she had yet but dipped her dainty foot in the slough, and swore that with that arm of iron he would thrust her down to unsounded depths of agony. (343Bronte)
She leaves Thornfield that night! Here drastic leap of faith proves to pay off of course. It’s as inspiring now as it would have been a couple hundred years ago. A still found to be totally an uncommon act, to have faith in one’s inner voice, and it works. Both authors establish a firm foundation of how the human mind makes its way into salvation. Through trial and error Jane and Emma produce outcomes to their lives that we can still all relate to in the 21st century.
Looking back at Jane Eyre, we get inspired to peruse our passions, and while scrutinizing the adolescent thought process of Emma we find that we are often no better at judging where we stand then a girl raised in the 19th century British aristocracy. We all do it though, move forward in time, realizing the reasons things happen around us through experience. Female authors like Austen and Bronte defined class through individual’s, and their abilities to grow with distinction, and separate the truth from fiction. Their perseverance and drive to create content within their own individualized form separates them form the rest. Then they stood out pushing their context into modern classrooms. We are still learning about courtship and we still honor our imaginations without really understanding either. Jane Eyre and Emma allow us to experience their growth. Push us to understand our tendencies to make rash decisions, naturally, and hopefully in a way that makes us happy in the end.
Austen, Jane "Emma". London:Penguin Classics, 1996. Print.
Bronte, Charlotte “Jane Eyre”. London:Penuine Classics, 1996. Print.