This article intends to study and compare the way Pamela, Richardson's early heroine of the novel genre, and Charlotte Brontë's romantic Jane, rebel.

A very interesting article Level  B2, C1  Advanced

 

 "  The two famous novels under consideration in this article, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded and Jane Eyre, an Autobiography are linked by the theme of rebellion, that is to say by their heroines' strong incentive to oppose authority or domination.

 

Not only does this theme demonstrate the importance of the novel as a vehicle for social protest, but it also underlines the fact that both Pamela and Jane are placed, at one point at least, in opposition to an established authority.

 

This opposition that we term rebellion is to be distinguished both from mere resistance and from an act of aggression - a condition both heroines fall into when they become harmful to themselves or to their male counterparts. While rebellion posits itself as a sensible, organised, and open manoeuvre, aggression might be associated with a loss of control. The open aspect of rebellion seems particularly telling in the context of fictional writing because, as protagonists' rebellions, they are widely exposed, which does not mean that the writers were clear about the exact nature of their claims......

 

 

.   Almost a century later, a woman, Charlotte Brontë, gave voice to Jane Eyre, whose attitude towards life and narrative challenged the norms of society. Set in the middle of the 19th century, her novel both partakes of the same tradition as Richardson's and differs from it. Lucy Hughes-Hallet rightly claims that Jane Eyre is simultaneously a "wish-fulfillment fantasy", "a romantic melodrama" and a "revolutionary text" (1991, introduction, vii). The text is romantic in the sense that it incorporates themes from romantic poetry. Jane and Rochester, that stereotypical Byronic hero, are driven by a desire to overcome their own limitations and that of society. This commitment might even result in welcoming death as a way of escape. Interestingly however, when Jane thinks about lying and letting herself die, she experiences a remembrance of God that saves her from despair. The novel thus appears as only partly and ambiguously romantic...........

 

The fusing of the routine and the romantic but also of the prosaic elements in women's ordinary, dull lives and the Gothic nightmare is revealing as far as the subversive dimension of romantic novels is concerned.

The romance genre is in fact encouraging women to be dissatisfied with inequality because it serves as an inducer for greater self-knowledge. While the genre used to be considered as dangerous mainly because of the way it distorted reality, it is the presentation of events itself which is subversive in Jane Eyre