Becoming Jane Eyre
Getting Rid of The Androgynous Shadow
Keywords:colonization, race, class, gender, androgyny, Sex and Gender in the Victorian Novel
This article explores the parallels drawn between the characters of Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason in Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre, using Jean Rhys’ 1966 novel Wide Sargasso Sea to further this comparison. I use Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s argument that Bertha is Jane’s double, or other self, to argue that Jane and Bertha both possess a form of androgyny within their characters, Jane’s due to her class and Bertha’s due to her race. I suggest that these forms of androgyny prevent Jane, in particular, from becoming spiritually equal with Mr. Rochester, proposing that, due to their connection as doubles, Jane must be rid of both her own, as well as Bertha’s androgynous shadow, in order to enter into marriage with Rochester as his equal.
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