The Victorian Woman

I first read Charlotte Brontë’s, Jane Eyre in middle school and instantly found comfort in Jane because she was a woman of her own making. Jane forged her own path and rarely questioned her ability to fly freely, like a bird without a net to ensnare her. It’s without question that Jane, like Catherine Earnshaw in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights or Helen in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was a controversial character for her time and this is where my curiosity lies. I want to learn more about the women of these novels, I want to understand their roles as it relates to their gender and class and how these factors contribute to the prospects available to women during the Victorian era. 

These interests stem from my exposure to the courses I enrolled in with Professor Beltz-Hosek that were focused primarily on the Gender and Narration in Wuthering Heights and the Brontë oeuvre. These courses offered me the pleasure to re-read my favorite novels written by the Brontë sisters while also discussing these texts in relation to one another. This semester, I am eager to compare the female representation (Nelly, Catherine I, and Catherine II) in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to the female representation in Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations, especially regarding Mrs. Joe Gargery, Miss Havisham, and Estella.

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