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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 12:30 am by M. in , ,    No comments
A couple of papers presented at a recent conference in Warsaw:
Challenging Gender-Related Binary Oppositions in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre 
Aleksandra Sobczak, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University 
Folio. A Students’ Journal   Special Issue 9(22) 2023 pp 24-34 (2nd Warsaw Literary Meetings Rising Stars,  November 2022)

Having its roots in Structuralist theory, the concept of binary oppositions has been widely applied in literary analysis. As Jonathan Culler puts it in his Structuralist Poetics, “when two things are set in an opposition to one another, the reader is forced to explore qualitative similarities and differences to make a connection so as to derive meaning from this disjunction" (1975: 17–18). In the case of the male/female distinction, the notion of binary opposition may be applied to the analysis of gender stereotypes appearing in literary works. This paper aims to determine how Charlotte Brontë challenges in Jane Eyre the Victorian, gender-related binary oppositions privileging men. Brontë does this by creating the heroine who, in the course of the story, is transformed from a victimised child into a strong-willed woman, reluctant to be subservient to a man and struggling to be in control of her own life. The genre convention of the bildungsroman entails Jane’s psychological growth: the protagonist becomes powerful and independent. This paper shows how the initial male-female opposition is inverted in favour of Jane. By analysing the ways in which the binaries are upset, the paper demonstrates how an underprivileged victim is transformed into a powerful heroine.  

Love Triangles and the Binary Literary Context of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights
Raquel Carvajal-Ariza, University of Málaga 
Folio. A Students’ Journal   Special Issue 9(22) 2023 pp 35-48 (2nd Warsaw Literary Meetings Rising Stars,  November 2022)

Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are two of the world’s greatest love stories. Apart from having been written by two sisters and published in the same year (1847), the two novels have the peculiarity that their famous love stories are constructed on love triangles. Despite their relevance, love triangles have consistently remained understudied in Brontë studies. Katherine Bubel has only recently analysed the “triangle of desire” in Jane Eyre, arguing that Jane Eyre must pass through the “deep waters” of relinquishing Mr. Rochester and experience a resurrection into the “presence” of the God-like St. John Rivers before she can make her choice of romantic partner. In Wuthering Heights, Catherine Earnshaw faces a similar conundrum, as she decides to be with Heathcliff only after she has married Edgar Linton. This paper explores how love triangles are central to both novels because, by presenting their characters with two distinct romantic choices, the Brontë sisters address the binary literary context of the early-Victorian period. Notably, these romantic triangles reflect the in-betweener status of the Brontë sisters between the Gothic and the Domestic novel genres, allowing Charlotte and Emily Brontë to develop their unique literary style.  

 
 

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