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Could someone please give me some interesting essay questions for Charlotte Bronte's...

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sanmi | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted July 5, 2009 at 3:57 AM via web

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Could someone please give me some interesting essay questions for Charlotte Bronte's novel "Jane Eyre"?

thank you!

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 5, 2009 at 7:34 AM (Answer #2)

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The following is a list of personally created and already created essay topics.  The enotes feature on the novel gives several essay topics broken by chapter and it is worth examining.

1. Discuss Jane as a narrator and as a character. What sort of voice does she have? How does she represent her own actions? Does she seem to be a trustworthy storyteller, or does Brontë require us to read between the lines of her narrative? In light of the fact that people who treat Jane cruelly (John Reed, Mrs. Reed, Mr. Brocklehurst) all seem to come to unhappy endings, what role does Jane play as the novel's moral center?

2. In what ways might Jane Eyre be considered a feminist novel, critiquing the time period? What points does the novel make about the treatment and position of women in Victorian society? With particular attention to the book's treatment of marriage, is there any way in which it might be considered anti-feminist?

3. What role does Jane's ambiguous social position play in determining the conflict of her story? What larger points, if any, does the novel make about social class? Does the book criticize or reinforce existing Victorian social prejudices? Consider the treatment of Jane as a governess, but also of the other servants in the book, along with Jane's attitude toward her impoverished students at Morton.

4. Compare and contrast some of the characters who serve as foils throughout Jane Eyre: Blanche to Jane, St. John to Rochester, and, perhaps, Bertha to Jane. Also think about the points of comparison between the Reed and Rivers families. How do these contrasts aid the development of the book's themes?

5. Conflict is a recurrent theme in literature. Often it is between an idealistic character and a character who views life more pragmatically or realistically. Analyze the reasons for a conflict which occurs and its effect upon the idealist character and on the realistic character.

6. Jane Eyre is a protest against all that would stifle or repress the individual- against the inhuman treatment of human beings. Trace how/what/why Jane protests in the first four locations of the novel.

7.  How is woman’s voice authenticated in Jane Eyre?  Explain how what it means to “be a woman” is shown in three specific instances from Jane Eyre.

8. Many works of literature not readily identified with the mystery or detective genre nonetheless involve the investigation of a mystery. In these works, the solution to the mystery may be less important than the knowledge gained in the process of the investigation. Identify the mystery Jane Eyre confronts and explain how the investigation illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole.

9.  Christine DePizan has suggested that when men and women break free from "socially stratified roles," this is when they will be seen as equals.  After reading Jane Eyre, is this assertion affirmed or negated.  Substantiate your thinking with four examples from the novel.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 5, 2009 at 9:25 AM (Answer #3)

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Another topic that you can explore in addition to the excellent ones already suggested is the gothic aspect of "Jane Eyre." After listing some of the characteristics of Gothic literature, perhaps a questions could be worded in this way:

  • Which of the Gothic elements apply to "Jane Eyre"?  Explain with details from the novel.

(Below is the enotes site for gothic elements)

For many more questions go to the site listed below in order to find a  long listing of possible topics for essays and discussion. 

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sanmi | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted July 15, 2009 at 12:40 PM (Answer #4)

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The following is a list of personally created and already created essay topics.  The enotes feature on the novel gives several essay topics broken by chapter and it is worth examining.

1. Discuss Jane as a narrator and as a character. What sort of voice does she have? How does she represent her own actions? Does she seem to be a trustworthy storyteller, or does Brontë require us to read between the lines of her narrative? In light of the fact that people who treat Jane cruelly (John Reed, Mrs. Reed, Mr. Brocklehurst) all seem to come to unhappy endings, what role does Jane play as the novel's moral center?

2. In what ways might Jane Eyre be considered a feminist novel, critiquing the time period? What points does the novel make about the treatment and position of women in Victorian society? With particular attention to the book's treatment of marriage, is there any way in which it might be considered anti-feminist?

3. What role does Jane's ambiguous social position play in determining the conflict of her story? What larger points, if any, does the novel make about social class? Does the book criticize or reinforce existing Victorian social prejudices? Consider the treatment of Jane as a governess, but also of the other servants in the book, along with Jane's attitude toward her impoverished students at Morton.

4. Compare and contrast some of the characters who serve as foils throughout Jane Eyre: Blanche to Jane, St. John to Rochester, and, perhaps, Bertha to Jane. Also think about the points of comparison between the Reed and Rivers families. How do these contrasts aid the development of the book's themes?

5. Conflict is a recurrent theme in literature. Often it is between an idealistic character and a character who views life more pragmatically or realistically. Analyze the reasons for a conflict which occurs and its effect upon the idealist character and on the realistic character.

6. Jane Eyre is a protest against all that would stifle or repress the individual- against the inhuman treatment of human beings. Trace how/what/why Jane protests in the first four locations of the novel.

7.  How is woman’s voice authenticated in Jane Eyre?  Explain how what it means to “be a woman” is shown in three specific instances from Jane Eyre.

8. Many works of literature not readily identified with the mystery or detective genre nonetheless involve the investigation of a mystery. In these works, the solution to the mystery may be less important than the knowledge gained in the process of the investigation. Identify the mystery Jane Eyre confronts and explain how the investigation illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole.

9.  Christine DePizan has suggested that when men and women break free from "socially stratified roles," this is when they will be seen as equals.  After reading Jane Eyre, is this assertion affirmed or negated.  Substantiate your thinking with four examples from the novel.

Thank you very much for such a wide variety of subjects I could look into. I was wondering, how would I show the similarities and differences between Jane and Bertha,(thats what I have decided to do) I am sure if its going to be a essay i would need quite a few sub-topic to write about. Would you be so kind to hint a few...?

But please not too much info i wanna do something my self!!

 

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