Movie Analysis of Jane Eyre (2011)


MovieAnalysis of Jane Eyre (2011)

MovieAnalysis of Jane Eyre (2011)

Literaryworks have always been designed to critique the ways of life in thesocieties within which individuals live. It is well acknowledged thatliterary works are primarily aimed at depicting the manner in whichthings are done in a particular society and calling on individuals tochange the course of history by changing the aspects beingcriticized. It is, therefore, not surprising that quite an immensenumber of social revolutions have been triggered by literary works(Dooley, 2011). Of particular note is the fact that the messages ofthe authors and creators of literary works are passed via themes andthe actions of the characters. One of the most explored themes in thecontemporary human society remains the place of women in the society.This is the case for the movie Jane Eyre (2011). While there may bediffering opinions, it is evident that the movie is simply adepiction of Jane Eyre`s journey of self-discovery through resistingmale dominance in her quest for independence and identity viaremaining true to herself.

Thismovie is one of the latest adaptations of Charlotte Bronte’s novelnamed Jayne Eyre, which was originally published in 1847. In spite ofthe passage of time, the novel remains one of the major and popularworks of English fiction. Given the gothic nature of the novel, it isunderstandable that the tension would be generated through having avirginal girl attracted to an extremely dangerous man (Lundén &ampSrigley, 2009). The heroine is supposed to be idealistic, proud andbrave at the same time, while her attraction to the dangerous and(often) ominous hero has to be founded on pity rather than fear, inwhich case the hero must be deserving of her idealism. Thesequalities are perfectly understood in the movie alongside theincorporation of a landscape and architecture that embodies thegothic element. The movie opens with protagonist Jane Eyre fearfullyescaping across the bleak moors, where her luck is challenged even bynature itself. It incorporates numerous flashbacks that tell theviewer or audience about the protagonist’s girlhood, life in thesadistic boarding school, her cruel and brutal aunt, as well as herdesire to become a governess despite the fact that she was a girlwith no means.

Inher childhood, Jane seems to be a lonely child who has no sense ofbelonging and who craves for kinship. Indeed, she is persistentlyreminded that she was never part of the Reed family while she wasliving in the Gateshead Hall. Of particular note is the fact that shewas not allowed to take part in the activities of her aunty Mrs.Reed, as well as her children despite the fact that the aunty hadpromised Jane’s uncle (Mr. Reed) that she would bring up Jane asone of her kids. However, the aunty noted that Jane was to remain anoutsider until such a time when she became “endeavoringin good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition,a more attractive and sprightly manner – something lighter,franker, more natural”.In spite of her awareness that did not fit the character of a prettylittle girl and was invisible on the outside, Jane was a fiery firethat was burning and ready to fuel or trigger her desire forindependence and identity.

Onthe same note, Jane endures oppression and harassment from John Reed.Of particular note is the fact that she was punished after resistinghis abuse. John sees the house where they live and everything in itas his simply because he is a man. He knows that he will get awaywith the constant harassment and oppression of his younger cousin notonly because he is male but also because he has the support of hismother. At one time, John knocks her down with a book, which causesher to finally stand up to him and give him a piece of her mind,where she calls him a murderer and slave-driver, while also drawingcomparison between him and Roman emperors. In this regard, she isattempting to form an identity for herself and at least to stand upagainst what she sees as oppression of the highest order from a mansimply because she was a woman. Of particular note is the fact thather act of self defense is seen as a deviation from the acceptednorms, since a woman’s place is supposed to be in the kitchen, andshe is supposed to be calm and demure, even being respectful enoughto endure oppression from her male counterparts (Phillips, 2009).

Onthe same note, Jane stands up to Mr. Brocklehurst, a male characterwho comes off as the Victorian super-ego. Mr. Brocklehurst controlsthe Lowood institution, a girls’ educational institution whosefunding emanates from donations. However, he uses religion to oppressnot only the girls but also the teachers who he aim at putting themin their place and repressing their identity and individuality. Inthis regard, he reminds the girls that “naughty girls will end upin hell where they will burn for eternity”. It is worth noting thatJane is seen as a naughty girl particularly by her aunty. Herstanding up against Mr. Brocklehurst comes up when she tells him thatshe must remain in good health and avert the possibility of herdeath, a quote that underlines her desire to stand up and assert heridentity and sense of self.

Inconclusion, literary works always aim at highlighting the ills in thesociety and inspiring individuals to change their mindsets so as tocreate better societies that would offer every person an equalopportunity for a fair shot in life. One of the most highlightedaspects in movies is oppression of women and their struggle to asserttheir identity (Gilbert &ampGubar, 1984). This is the case for JaneEyre (2011), a movie that explores the life of the protagonist Janethrough varied stages of her life, in her struggle to assert heridentity in spite of the immense challenges from her malecounterparts. Of particular note is the fact that she is not onlyoppressed by men but also women and the society at large. Even ininstances where she gathers the courage to rise up and stand up tothe abuses, humiliation and oppression, she is eventually subdued bythe societal norms which prescribe varied characteristics or traitsfor particular genders. It is these social norms that propagate theoppression of women in both the long-term and the short-term, seeingas women are not allowed to speak out or oppose abuses from theirmale counterparts as that is part of their job (Dooley, 2011).


Gilbert,S. M, and Gubar, S (1984). Madwomanin the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteen Century LiteraryImagination,second edition, New Haven London Yale University Press

Lundén,R &amp Srigley, M (2009). Ideas and Identities British and AmericanCulture 1500-1945, Lund: Student literature

Phillips,W. H. (2009). Film:An introduction(4th ed.). New York, NY: Bedford/ St. Martin’s.

Dooley,L (2011). “Psychoanalysis of Charlotte Brontë, as a Type of theWoman of Genius”, TheAmerican Journal of Psychology,Vol.31, No. 3 (Jul.,1920), pp.221-272, University of Illinois Press,