Her opinion of the upper class and their attitude towards those of lower distinction is exposed through the characterization of Brochures and his hypocritical actions and the reactions of the girls of Elwood to these actions. Balance Ingram is a striking symbol of Bronze’s disinterest in the appearance and social standing of an individual if they lack depth and positive traits, which is a common practice Of the people Of her era. Mrs.. Fairfax describes Balance as ‘Tall, fine bust, sloping shoulders; long graceful neck… Bole features.
” Here Mrs.. Fairfax represents Bronze’s observations regarding the view of society in that era; beauty and elegance were of high social regard. Mrs.. Fairfax description lacks any mention of Blanches personality, mirroring he poor attention or interest shown by the general populous in that era to a person’s disposition. Also, by comparing Balance to the jewels she possess, “eyes… As brilliant as her jewels”, Bronze hints at the superficial and materialistic nature of the character.
The lush description of Ms Anagram’s beauty is contrasted by Cane’s assessment, identified her as “decidedly not good natured” with a and hard eye”. Through Jane, Bronze critically assesses Balance, noticing her sharpness of tongue and “haughtiness”, both of which are most prevalent in the first scene in the sitting room with Rochester, his guests and Adele. “The habitual expression of her arched and haughty lip”. The negative light Balance is portrayed in demonstrates Bronze’s dismissal of what some people of her times believed was important; social class and beauty without regard to depth of character.
Bronze emphasizes the irrelevance of physical beauty in the moral quality of one’s identity and the unimportance of social class through the characterization of Mr… Rochester and his development as well as the events he encounters through out the novel. “My masters strong features… Were to beautiful according to rule: but they very much were to me”. Here, Bronze uses “features” with two meanings, combining the general high regard for physical beauty (as in features of the face) with in upper class society, with Cane’s appreciation for Mr…
Rochester’s self-assured manner (as in the features of his character) in that he is assertive and does not conform to social norms when they come between him and his passion (his love for Jane). By pairing the novel’s protagonist and ultimately Bronze’s strongest voice in the Story, Bronze displays her approval of Rochester and his character. Rochester has en physically damaged by the fire in his house as a direct result of a good deed, as he was attempting the rescue Bertha from the fire when he was injured. “You are no ruin sir, no lighting-struck tree: you are green and vigorous”.
That Jane willingly accepts him in his crippled state in turn enforces once again the value Bronze places on the goodness of ones character over the attraction of their aesthetics. Bronze’s views of the corruption of the upper class are expressed through Mr.. Brochures. Bronze’s description and the imagery associated with Mr.. Brochures describe him as a “black column” who’s long stride “measured he school room”. The sharp and oppressive images are menacing, and set a tone of power and control over the girls.
Jane continues to depict Brochures as “looking longer, narrower and more rigid than ever”. Here Bronze extenuates severe and stern manner, painting him as a logical and calculating man. This therefore accentuates the ridiculousness of his hypocrisy later in the passage as his own family appear in the most luxurious and extravagant of attire in the midst of the schoolmaster pressing his intentions of “mortifying’ the girls into “shamefacedly” and “modesty’ with lain clothes and straight or no hair.
This event highlights Bronze’s view of the corruption and hypocrisy present in the upper class during her era. More importantly, the actions of the girls that Jane observes represents the opinions of the lower classes (the students) towards the higher. “… Whatever he may do with the outside of the cup and platter, the inside was further beyond his interference than he could imagine”. Jane explains that whilst Brochures may have control over the girls in terms of their appearance and general behavior at the school, he could not force them into sharing their levels or respecting him.
The girl’s disregard of Brochures reflects not only Bronze’s view of the importance of earning the respect and not demanding it on principle, but also the disrespect she feels was displayed by people of higher social status to those who were beneath them, which she condones through the negative exposition of Brochures Bronze strongly enforces the value of the genuine character of a person, and disregards the significance her society places on looks, wealth or social status.
Balance Ingram is a clear example of Bronze’s condemnation of beauty and social class being the limiting factors defining a person’s quality, critiquing Balance through Cane’s eyes and finding her rude and harsh. The characterization of Mr.. Rochester depicts the author’s deeply ingrained value of character over appearance, defying social constrictions by falling in love with and proposing to Jane, disregarding social Status and appearance.
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