Mrs. Warren's Profession

Education in Jane Eyre and Mrs. Warren's Profession 12th Grade

With the advent of sophisticated industrial machinery and colonialism on a grand scale in previously unheard lands during the Victorian period came a thirst for knowledge. Accordingly, the purpose and value of education, which involved the acquisition of knowledge and the inculcation of social values, was a major concern of Victorian writers. By examining Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs Warren’s Profession, this essay will examine three areas of similarity between the authors’ views of education. Both texts portray education as an avenue to increased social respectability. However, both texts also view this respectability as a mask for hypocrisy. Both texts also portray education as an avenue for perpetuating gender inequality.

Education was viewed as a pathway for the individual to acquire greater respectability in the eyes of society. This was because education was seen to impart the discretion and intellectual prowess necessary to interact with men and women of higher social status. This perception is masterfully demonstrated by Shaw in the polemic between Mrs Warren and Vivie. Vivie is stunned when her mother tells her that she is ‘taught wrong on purpose’ and her mother elaborates in response...

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