The Cult of True Womanhood
During the discussion today about the values which Jane tries to live by and epitomize a true women was very reminiscent of another class I took last semester. In this class the idea of The Cult of True Womanhood was discussed. This very much follows the ideas of the time period of Jane Eyre. The Cult basically sets standards for "true" woman to adhere to. Any woman who does not adhere by these standards is not considered a true woman. These ideals are purity, piety, domesticity, and submissiveness. Jane definitely strives for purity which is evident in the way she keeps Rochester at bay during their engagement. I think that even without Mrs. Fairfax's words of caution Jane would have stuck to this ideal and not betrayed it. This is because she also possesses the next ideal: piety. She has a very strong Christian mind. She trusts in God and chooses to follow Him wherever He may lead her. She makes multiple references to her faith and belief in God throughout the novel. One of the strongest examples of this is when she is praying to God after fleeing Thornfield. She is alone, in a place she has never been to before, stranded in an empty field but her thoughts turn to Rochester and she prays for his soul. Her overall faith is represented when she states, "We know that God is everywhere, but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale…His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence" (Bronte 416). While praying for Rochester she states, "Mtr. Rochester was safe; he was God's, and by God he would be guarded" (Bronte 416). She has such tremendous faith that in this aspect she exemplifies The Cult of True Womanhood. Domesticity is another aspect which Jane also accomplishes. She demonstrates her abilities to help with the household as Mrs. Fairfax prepares for the grand party to arrive. She cleans rooms, helps in the kitchen and does whatever other tasks need to be accomplished to make the house presentable. She can sew with adequacy to make her own clothes and repair clothing. The one aspect that she may not entirely possess, however, is submissiveness. While she is completely submissive to Mr. Rochester in the beginning and understands her place in the household she refuses to give in to him during the engagement and afterwards with the subsequent failing of the marriage ceremony. She stands her ground and refuses to be tricked or manipulated into a decision that goes against her morals and values. In this aspect she is not submissive. This also goes along with her not wanting to be seen as an object and taking control of her own life. Someone who is completely submissive has no control over the decision they make for themselves. They are always at the whim of their master. Jane refuses to be someone subject in this respect. It is one thing to have a boss and obey your boss within the confines of the job but to go against morals, values and Christian ideals is not something Jane is ready to give up. She refuses to be submissive and in this aspect does not represent a true woman in accordance to The Cult of True Womanhood.