To start out my comparison the two young ladies are both orphans. They were both sent to live with an Aunt or an Uncle, and they were both destined to become outsiders from the beginning. The character Jane is not accepted by her Aunt Reed. Her aunt was really cruel to her, along with her cousins. She didn’t want to live in an unloving environment. This is almost true of the character Fanny, Fanny came from a low class family, she moved to Mansfield Park, there her cousins thought she was a not so intelligent person. She too was an outsider, because everything her cousins did or went too, she was not allowed to go too.
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Fanny’s character is different from Jane’s character because Jane is an independent individual from a young child/ Fanny is much more reserved and independent while Jane has a more outspoken personality. Jane fights to resist those around her from changing her. Her self-devotion causes her a lot of sufferings, but she survives those obstacles and becomes a stronger woman. Jane grew up in the Victorian period, where women in that era were not seen as equals with men. As I mentioned before she was born an orphan into a family that really had no more room to love another child. Jane faced so much resentment in that household, but being a strong minded person that she is, she confronts her Aunt Reed, she says “I am not deceitful: for if I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare that I do not love you: I dislike you worst of anybody in the world” Jane as a child grows up questioning people higher than her. She is an independent soul with an independent mind. She thinks for herself, she does not allow anyone to think for her. She would not accept anyone to walk over her. She shows a lot of her strength in aspects of her life, including falling in love with Mr. Rochester. Returning to the fact she was an orphan shows us that the absence of her mother contributes to her internal strength and independence.
In Mansfield Park, Fanny, can be seen as an orphan as well, she is sent to Mansfield Park to live with her Mother’s sister and brother- in law, the Ms. Lady Bertram and Sir Thomas Bertram, this is because her mother is not in a fit position to take care of her. She grows up at Mansfield Park as an outsider among her four cousins. She is very independent, but she is not as outspoken as Jane Eyre was. She only finds a friendship with Edmund, the youngest of Sit Thomas Bertram sons. She fights in the beginning to overcome her homesickness, and trying to contact her brother. Edmund is the only person that sees what she is going through.
Even though she is not as opinionated as Jane, she is a very strong- minded individual. She knows what she wants, and if she could stand up for herself, she can achieve it. Her determination helps her to gain strength. Self- Respect dominates the theme of Jane Eyre, but in Mansfield Park the story deals more on social class and family. In Jane Eyre, the idea of gender and class structure is very obvious between the characters Jane and Mr. Rochester. Jane’s relationship with Rochester is shows a constant struggle for her to maintain her own individual identity. She plays the role as a servant, but makes it perfectly clear to him that she does not consider herself below him in terms of spiritual qualities. She lets him know that she is more than her social status saying “Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! I have as much soul as you–and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you” (Bronte) (Pg. 255). When Rochester refers to her as equal and likeness, it appears that Jane has made headway in asserting her equality with the master.
In Mansfield Park, Fanny’s interest in Edmund also tests society, for any kind of interest in each other during that time. The novel itself tests society in different ways of the characters going against the duty of their lives. For example, Edmund is jumping out of the lineage of following his father’s footsteps in wanting to become a clergyman. Also he being attracted to his cousin Fanny, and she being attracted to him was considered back then to be immoral, because they were related. Going back to the character Jane, we can see how society felt about her relationship with Mr. Rochester and the relationship being wrong. But we can see that even Jane is independent enough to leave him when he threatens her beliefs. Mr. Rochester’s betrayal throws her into the depths of despair, this was when she found out Rochester was still legally tied to Bertha, and by marrying him she felt that she would be sacrificing her integrity for the sake of emotional gratification. This shows that she remains true to herself, no matter what, even when that means spending three days wandering around and almost dying for her choices. One theme that both novels have in common is that both of the books defy the norms of society.
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In Mansfield Park, the characters go against all duties and the idea of the structure of the family. The theatrical in the book even furthers their attempt to do everything against what is right. In Jane Eyre, there are some problematic issues with gender and class structures. Through both of the novels, Jane Eyre and Fanny Price remain true to themselves. They both struggle with a lot of difficult issues, although both novels detect the strength and independence of the characters. Jane Eyre to me as turned out to be the stronger woman; she is bold and outspoken from the beginning of the novel. Fanny Price on the other hand, did not show any sign of independence, she was much more quiet, she kept her thoughts to herself.
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