Beauty and the Representation of Authenticity: Women in Jane Eyre
In the novel Jane Eyre, author Charlotte Bronte places great importance on the appearance of her characters, repeatedly evaluating their attractiveness through narrative descriptions and dialogue. Her heroine, Jane, is mentioned countless times as plain, small and unpleasant looking. Jane's rival, Blanche Ingram, is described as the opposite; she is beautiful and ornate, heavily adorned with jewels and bright colors. Rochester chooses to marry Jane over Blanche, and by doing so he emphasizes the importance of a heroine's female authenticity, or worthiness of trust, belief and reliance. In Jane Eyre, Bronte uses Blanche and Jane's differences in beauty to illustrate female authenticity, or lack thereof. Jane is unadorned by jewels and fancy colors, reflecting a more genuine, direct person. It is Blanche's construction of beauty that impairs her authenticity; her ample decorations, colors and even her way of speaking are conventionally beautiful, but are merely adornments that disguise her true self.
Even in the beginning chapters when Jane is recalling her childhood, Jane's unattractiveness is clear. Jane is excluded from playing with Mrs. Reed's children unless she achieves " - a more attractive and...
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