A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Jane Eyre: Model Feminist in the Eyes of Wollstonecraft? College

Fifty years before the publication of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Mary Wollstonecraft released The Vindication of the Rights of Women, a predominate piece of feminist philosophy, and one of the first of its kind. This piece works to analyze popular enlightenment ideals and sentiments that were being discussed by leading intellectuals and apply those same ideas to women. She argues that women are rational beings capable of complex, interesting thoughts, but have faced many barriers in being able to develop those thoughts fully. She also states that if men think that women are simplistic beings it is only because society has crafted them to be simplistic and care about frivolous, shallow matters. She pays special attention to the power of education to change this pattern for the better, stating that if given the same opportunities as men within the educational sector, women would be fully capable of rising to the same intellectual capacity as men. In Jane Eyre, Bronte furthers this argument that women are capable, rational beings through the narration of Jane, the protagonist, a strong female who obtains equality through education in spite of her social class and gender.

Jane, after arriving at Thornfield, has a scene within...

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