Victorian Novel

Over time, literature has continued to evolve. The novel by Jane Eyre existed between 1832 and 1880. Jane Eyre is mostly seen as a profoundly realistic writer that ever existed. Her book has a story about how she suffered at Lowood and her struggle against the narrow role that 19th-century society allotted to women. It contains a substantial element of fantasy right from its beginning as Jane explains the story in the way of imagination. Jane Eyre was an orphan, and she was therefore raised by her cruel, wealthy aunt, Mrs. Reed. At some point, she meets Rochester where greatest fantasy was shown through myths and fairytales, even though they finally ended up together. The root cause of her fantasies is her childhood where it was her most fantastical side. This came about when she heard loads of stories woven by the Bronte children.

On the other hand, the novel ‘Great Expectations' was written by Charles Dickens and was first published in 1861. The book turned out to be a great novel and a success to the author, and It addresses issues such as social class and human worth. The narrator, Pip (Philip Pirrip) tells a story from an unspecified time in the awaited future. He grew up in Kent, under the care of her sister and her sweet-natured husband. Through the story, he meets different people including a convict and a half-mad woman who overreacted when her lover left her. This essay seeks to compare and contrast the effect of combining realism and gothic elements in the above novels; that is, Jane Eyre and Great Expectations.

In Jane Eyre's writings, the most important conflict is the division between realism and gothic (sensationalism). At the start of the narrative, the elements of realism are not only literally questionable by the differentiating gothic factors but also improbable coincidences (when Jane fortuitously ended up on the doorstep of her cousin). Besides, other notable occurrences were supernatural (for example where Jane hears Rochester calling her even though he was miles away from her), and also by the elements in the novel that are sensational which mark it out as a forerunner to the dramatic story. It is very problematic to offer an authoritative definition of sensation fiction. However, the features associated with this type of genre include a contemporary setting, the presence of villain, sometimes women known to commit crimes, a significant concern with the breach of boundaries of a traditional class, and also a great emphasis on themes such as madness, crime, marital failure, and bigamy. This genre had not been witnessed except in this case until recently when it was associated with the 1860s, with Collins's The Woman in White which was officially cited as the earliest example of the form. However, Andrew Maunder disagrees with it as he argues that the genre was a fundamental form from 1855 until 1890 (Budge, 2007).

Some characters that appear in Jane's novel to showcase this genre include; the patriarchal male authority figure and the poor governess who succeeds in breaking through the class barrier and attaining a degree of wealth and status. More mirrors of this genre can be seen through the discussed illicit affairs, illegitimate children (for example, Adele), marital conflict, bigamy, and madness. Other authors have subsequently drawn influence of this genre from Jane. For instance, Andrew Maunder's work has greatly been influenced by Jane Eyre.

The undoubtedly most famous example of a dramatic reworking by Jane Eyre is Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret. Both novels explain of a governess who was impoverished and later married into the upper class. There are also themes of bigamy and madness that have been featured in the story. In both stories, the mad woman has been used as a vital figure by feminists critics, mostly as a result of her perception about the authority of the patriarch. The rebellion showed the attempt made by the protagonist in each novel to kill the male oppressor as he sleeps, by starting a fire. However, unlike Bronte who does not relate at all with the figure of the madwoman as per the text, Braddon looks to appreciate the importance of the mad wife, and to try to mean that patriarchal structures may be to blame for her madness, and moreover, that she may have a right to get some pity from the reader. The character of Rochester would be a bigamist. As much as the behavior of the protagonist is condemned untimely, and is left to die in a mental institution, the writer makes it clear that he has a little chance of improving his life by marrying well. Even though the text about marriage almost shows that there is imprisonment and that there should be an escape, the narrative is quite damning and implies that if anyone is responsible for any ‘madness,' it is the patriarchal society (Kendrick, 1976).

The theme of bigamy seemingly takes a greater significance in the genre of sensation fiction, because bigamous marriage is avoided at the last minute, and in which, necessarily, the potential bigamist is the upper-class male, for whom sexual indiscretions were more acceptable than for the respectable Victorian woman. Therefore, bigamy got a bigger space in as a popular device in sensation fiction, and notably, the bigamy novel has been perceived as a sub-genre of sensation fiction by some critics. Janes's narrative does not anticipate the theme of bigamy so much compared to other readings and Winifred Hughes put it: “in the authentic sensation novel, … Jane no longer runs away from the would-be bigamist; she is much more likely to dabble in a little bigamy of her own,” Jane’s novel concludes the story with the marriage of the hero and the heroine.

Despite the similarities, there are significant differences, and to be specific in terms of the representation of the heroine. In Jane Eyre's narrative, the women who are considered deviant (for example Bertha Mason, Adele's mother) do not take the center of attention whatsoever, which is a different case in sensation fiction. The anti-heroine nature is a crucial element of this genre, and the appearance of Bertha Mason sparked enormou

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