Masters Thesis

The Nineteenth-century woman's modern reflection: female ego formation in Charlotte Brontë's Villette

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a celebrated classic, and it is often the first favorite classic among young women who identify with the heroine and indulge in her fairy-tale romance with Edward Rochester. However, as Jane Eyre is the fairy tale of the Victorian woman’s life, which portrays the heroine happily married to her dour master, Villette is the mimetic portrayal of the Victorian woman and her true quest for love, acceptance, identity, and above all liberation from her masters. It is this story of a spinster set adrift in a male-supremacist society that has captivated critics. Prominent critics, from the nineteenth-century literary critics Susan Gilbert and Susan Gubar to the well-known feminist writer Kate Millett, insist the story of Lucy Snowe is an important psychic drama that portrays the real effects of female deprivation in Victorian society.

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