Student Question

How do the endings of Brontë's Jane Eyre and Rodale's Some Like It Scandalous compare in terms of characterization and their implications for feminism?

Quick answer:

The epilogue of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and the final chapter and epilogue of Maya Rodale's Some Like it Scandalous both represent a skip forward in time to represent a happily-ever-after as the earned conclusion of a difficult relationship. However, the two books are different in time and setting.

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Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, published in 1847, is considered a classic of romance fiction. In its focus on the emotional development of the main character, her struggles, and the satisfying conclusion of her love story with the brooding Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre's tale is a clear ancestor of today's popular romance fiction. Maya Rodale's Some Like it Scandalous, though published more than 170 years later, maintains the tight focus on main characters' emotion and ambition, as well as the growth and satisfying resolution of the love story arc. While Brontë's story is contemporary to the time and place (1840s England) that she wrote, Rodale's novel takes place in the 1880s, the Gilded Age of the USA.

The epilogue of Jane Eyre, chapter 38, begins with the famous quote "Reader, I married him." It ties up character and narrative threads with a jump forward in time by ten years, describing the slow lifting of Rochester's blindness, the happy fate of the couple's flighty ward, and the birth of their own son. "I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine," states Jane, asserting her own personhood and equality in the marriage. In Rodale's story, heroine Daisy proposes to hero Theo, taking the reins of power for herself. The epilogue skips forward five years to describe success for that pair, which means successful marketing and cosmetics practices and limited reconciliation with difficult relatives. They also have a daughter. At the book's end, Daisy is planning to become involved in the women's suffrage movement, a parallel to Jane's assertion of equality in marriage. Consider the role the characters' personalities play in the decisions they make or in what they consider to be a happily-ever-after.

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