ONE BAG, ONE WOMAN
CREATED BY LIMOR GALILI
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Mysterious and fascinating like a moonlit night
If you like the mystery and great dramatic power of the Gothic style, you will like the intensity of the ink black color of this handcrafted bag made of 100% genuine high-quality soft Italian nappa leather. Beautiful and practical, its black leather will match any outfit. Just like the heroine of a Bildungsroman improves in time, this traveler’s leather bag grows beautiful with age. It has a two roomy compartments that can house your travel necessities and a leather purse attached. Constructed to endure more than a trip around the world, its thick nylon stitching from the inside out will remove all fears of failing seams. When bags are built to last, high quality leather doesn’t come cheap but, besides offering superb value, this black bag made with long lasting real leather, offers the woman who owns it a stylish alternative to dull mainstream fake leather fashion bags.
So this trendy leather bag will bring you out of the shadow giving you a certain sensual appeal; at the same time it will make you feel like a heroine of a Gothic novel bringing you back to the atmosphere of gloomy castles, suspense and adventurous events. A kind of refined fashion, freely inspired to vintage, characterizes this black leather handbag linked to Jane Eyre, the antique heroine with a modern soul of Charlotte Bronte’s novel which brings her name. In an age when women were denied access to education and excluded from political debate, Jane Eyre was like a breath of fresh air. Her fiery independent temperament and fearless conviction make her passionate and intense, just like the deep, intense black of this fascinating black leather handbag.
THE CHARACTER : JANE EYRE
SPEAK I must: I had been trodden on severely, and MUST turn: but how? What strength had I to dart retaliation at my antagonist? I gathered my energies and launched them in this blunt sentence – ‘I am not deceitful: if I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed; and this book about the liar, you may give to your girl, Georgiana, for it is she who tells lies, and not I.’ ‘How dare you affirm that, Jane Eyre?’ ‘How dare I, Mrs. Reed? How dare I? Because it is the TRUTH. You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so: and you have no pity. I shall remember how you thrust me back—roughly and violently thrust me back—into the red-room, and locked me up there, to my dying day; though I was in agony; though I cried out, while suffocating with distress, ‘Have mercy! Have mercy, Aunt Reed!’ And that punishment you made me suffer because your wicked boy struck me—knocked me down for nothing. I will tell anybody who asks me questions, this exact tale. People think you a good woman, but you are bad, hard- hearted. YOU are deceitful!’
Jane Eyre is the quintessential Romantic heroine whose life is full of tides and emotion, in love with a dark, Byronic character. Charlotte Brontë draws on the 18th century Gothic novel clichés, but she is able to turn them into a new type of Victorian Gothic which uses poetic symbolism. The elements of fire and ice are most dominant symbols in the novel. Jane Eyre, is young, brave, and resourceful in the face of difficulty and even danger. She is rebellious in a world demanding obedient women. She speaks with perfect frankness about herself and her ideas go against the traditional portrayal of women since she the fictional character representing Charlotte Brontë, the writer who was not prepared to accept a world where women were second-class citizens.
Jane Eyre is moderately plain, not strikingly beautiful, as a girl she is lonely, “ strange”; she experiences a nervous breakdown; she can be reckless and feverish, restless and given to “ bright visions”. But she is also strong-willed and responsible for her own decisions.
In her own way, Jane rebels against Mrs. Reed, St. John Rivers, and even Mr. Rochester, the man she falls in love with. Jane’s personality contains many qualities that would be considered desirable in an English woman; she’s frank, sincere, and lacks personal vanity. But the rebel streak she has is targeted at “inequalities of society.” Jane reacts strongly when she is discredited due to her class or gender and she is deeply offended when Mrs Reed tells Mr Brocklehurst of Lowood institution that she tells lies. Jane is furious because she has been wrongly accused of lying by her aunt. She draws strength from two sources : her strong religious beliefs and her ability to endure suffering so when she finds out about Mr Rochester’s secret she is determined to leave him. She looks inside herself and at her personal moral code so she is convinced of the righteousness of her decisions. She rebels to Rochester refusing to submit to his wishes when he asks her to break “ mere human law”. This suggests that she is a strong, independent-minded and self-respecting woman and we admire her for standing by her principles even though she loves him.
Jane Eyre is a new type of woman in the English novel. She reflects a change of attitude that gradually developed into the fight for women’s rights. According to Victorian conventions, Jane Eyre, a woman and an orphan, should have passively accepted her fate. Instead, she rebels against her destiny and develops into a self-confident, strong-willed and intensely passionate woman.
‘Then I must go:- you have said it yourself
No: you must stay! I swear it—and the oath shall bekept.’
‘I tell you I must go!’ I retorted, roused to something like passion. ‘Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?—a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you,—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh;—it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal,—as we are!’
Jane Eyre is certainly not a horror novel, and its intellectually ambitious criticisms of society make it far more than a typical Gothic romance, it is Brontë’s employment of Gothic conventions that gives her novel popular as well as intellectual appeal.
When the novel opens, we learn that she has reached her goal when she says “ Reader, I married him.” The real novelty is that she doesn’t say: “ Reader, he married me.” which would have sounded more conventional. Jane is an unconventional woman who is ambitious and determined to overcome adversity and social prejudice to achieve her goals.
The narrator in the novel is an older Jane remembering her childhood when she was an orphaned, isolated ten-year-old, living with a family that disliked her. The novel opens on a dreary November afternoon at Gateshead, the home of the wealthy Reed family. A young girl named Jane Eyre sits in the drawing room reading Bewick’s History of British Birds. Jane’s aunt, Mrs Sarah Reed and her children. Her female cousins, Georgiana and Eliza, tolerate, but don’t love her and their brother, John, is always bullying. John chides Jane for being a lowly orphan who is only permitted to live with the Reeds because of his mother’s charity. One day he is angered to find Jane reading one of his books, so he takes the book away and throws it at her. Finding this treatment intolerable, Jane fights back. Mrs. Reed holds Jane responsible for the scuffle and sends her to the “red-room”—the frightening chamber in which her Uncle Reed died—as punishment. The red room is a symbol of what Jane must overcome in her struggles to find freedom, happiness, and a sense of belonging. There she experiences for the first time strange dreams : she thinks she sees her uncle’s ghost and begs to be set free. Her Aunt Reed refuses and when the door to the red-room is locked once again, Jane passes out. She wakes back in her own room, where the kind physician, Mr. Lloyd, advises Mrs Reed to send Jane away to school, because she is obviously unhappy at Gateshead. So Jane is sent to Lowood School, a charity institution for orphan girls, run by Mr. Brocklehurst a mean-hearted minister who provides the girls with starvation levels of food, freezing rooms, and poorly made clothing and shoes. Despite the difficult conditions at Lowood, Jane makes two new friends: Miss Temple who teaches her proper ladylike behavior and compassion and Helen Burns who gives Jane a more spiritual focus . Unfortunately the school’s damp conditions, combined with the girls’ near-starvation diet, produces a typhus epidemic, in which nearly half the students die, including Helen Burns. Following this tragedy, conditions become more acceptable since Brocklehurst is deposed from his position as manager of Lowood, and, after six years of hard work, Jane becomes an effective teacher. Following two years of teaching at Lowood, Jane is ready for new challenges. She places at advertisement for a governess position in the local newspaper and She finds work as a governess at Thornifield Hall, a comfortable three-story country estate, Jane is warmly welcomed. She likes both her new pupil, Adèle Varens, and Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper, but is soon restless. The country estate is owned by Mr Edward Rochester a dark-haired, moody man in his late thirties. Although he is often taciturn, Jane grows fond of his mysterious, passionate nature. He behaves mysteriously, as if there was a dark secret in his life.
Soon Jane discovers that Thornfield harbors a secret : from time to time, she hears strange, maniacal laughter coming from the third story. Mrs. Fairfax claims this is just Grace Poole, an eccentric servant with a drinking problem but, one night, Jane smells smoke in the hallway, and realizes it is coming from Rochester’s room. She races down to his room, discovering his curtains and bed are on fire. Unable to wake Rochester, she douses both him and his bedding with cold water.
Jane, who gradually falls in love with him, suspects that this may have something to do with a mad woman who is kept locked on the third floor of the house. Strange things continue to happen in the house and the sense of mystery deepens. “I tried again to sleep; but my heart beat anxiously: my inward tranquillity was broken. The clock, far down in the hall, struck two. Just then it seemed my chamber-door was touched; as if fingers had swept the panels in groping a way along the dark gallery outside. I said, ‘Who is there?’ Nothing answered. I was chilled with fear. A dream had scarcely approached my ear, when it fled affrighted, scared by a marrow freezing incident enough. This was a demoniac laugh—low, suppressed, and deep—uttered, as it seemed, at the very keyhole of my chamber door. The head of my bed was near the door, and I thought at first the goblin-laugher stood at my bedside—or rather, crouched by my pillow.”
Rochester too begins to love Jane and finally asks her to marry him. Two nights before the wedding, a frightening, dark-haired woman enters her room and rips her wedding veil in two. The day of the wedding, while Jane and Rochester stand at the altar, taking their vows, suddenly a strange man announces there’s an impediment to the marriage: Rochester is already married to a woman named Bertha Antoinetta Mason, the stranger’s sister whom he had married in Jamaica 15 years before. Bertha Mason is a complex presence in Jane Eyre’s life since she impedes her happiness, but also catalyses the growth of Jane’s self-understanding. Rochester rushes the wedding party back to Thornfield, where they find his insane and repulsive wife locked in a room on the third story. Bertha was the mad woman in the attic responsible for the strange laughter and violence at Thornfield. Rochester tries to convince Jane to become his mistress and move with him to a pleasure villa in the south of France but her sense of self-respect forces her to leave him and, half mad herself at the news, she leaves Thornfield and goes to the north of England. There St John’s Rivers, an Anglican priest who is leaving for India, asks her to go along with him as his wife. Jane, though, refuses when she hears Mr Rochester calling her in a dream. She goes back to Thornfield to find the house burned down by fire : the crazy woman has set it on fire and died in the flames. Rochester has become blind in trying to rescue his insane wife. Jane, who has decided she cannot live without Rochester, finally agrees to marry him. However when she comes back to the blind and infirm Rochester, who is now living at Ferdnean, even if he welcomes her as his true love and his only hope for the future, Jane, though kind to him, does not given him any sign that she has forgiven him yet. Jane appears as a mature, independent, young woman in whose personality, passion and rationality mingle. In fact, she goes back to Rochester only when she feels strong enough to do so, end even then the dialogue between her and Rochester shows the woman teasing the man and leading the game rather than mildly surrendering to him. On the contrary, Rochester, clearly modeled on the Byronic hero, is at first described as a powerless, sad invalid who has to depend on others, but he wants to live again when his passionate nature comes to the surface, stung by jealousy. His feelings are so powerful he can hardly speak quietly to Jane as when he suddenly clasps her, exclaiming :“cruel, cruel deserter!” or when he expresses the necessity to get married instantly. Symbolically, it’s as if Rochester’s lies and passions have finally exploded. Now, he can change, with the help of Jane, and be the perfect husband. Ten years later, Jane writes this narrative. Her married life is still blissful; Adèle has grown to be a helpful companion for Jane; and Rochester has regained partial vision, enough to see their first-born son.
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