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Student Presentation Topics

Subject Guide

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Robbie Rand
Contact:
rrand@carrollton.org
305-446-5673 x1251

Reference Books

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Seminar Expectations

In groups you will conduct a seminar on one of the topics listed below. 

Requirements

  • Seminars should be between 15 to 20 minutes long, leaving the remaining eight to ten minutes at the end for class discussion, which will be guided by you.  (Do note that points will be deducted for seminars that are significantly under or are significantly over the time allocation.)
  • All individuals in the group should share the responsibilities equally; in other words, all of you should be actively involved in the planning of the seminar, and all of you should participate in the seminar and subsequent discussion, whcih you will all facilitate.  (You can divide the responsibilities between /among yourselves, so long as each of you takes part in the planning and the seminar.)
  • Seminars should be conducted formally in the sense that you should be well-prepared (you are an EXPERT) to illustrate your points.  This will likely require at least one run-through or rehearsal (if not more), so plan accordingly. 
  • You must adhere to the topic that is assigned to you; seminars that do not conform to the topic assigned will receive a failing grade.
  • Although centered on the TOPIC, your seminar should use the language of novel analysis.  See the Essential Elements of Literature document.
  • In addition to the sources provided to you, each group will be responsible for using one additional outside source.  DO NOT USE INTERNET SOURCES unless they are printed from an online scholarly journal.  

Topic #1: Jane Eyre as female gothic

Examine the elements of the female gothic as they appear in the novel (i.e. images of confinement, doppelganger motif, spatial symbolism, etc.).  How does Bronte make use of these elements in order to make her social statements regarding marriage and the role of women in the domestic sphere?  

sources:

Heller, Tamar “Jane Eyre, Bertha, and the Female Gothic” (from Approaches to Teaching Bronte’s Jane Eyre, pgs. 49-55)

Anderson, Joan Z. “Angry Angels: Repression, Containment, and Deviance in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

 

Topic #2: Miss Temple and Helen Burns as character foils for Jane

How does each of these characters serve as a foil for Jane?  What do they illuminate about Jane’s characterization?  How do they function in terms of illustrating Jane’s journey to self autonomy?  What lessons do they offer her?

sources:

Gilbert and Gubar.  “A Dialogue of Self and Soul: Plain Jane’s Progress” (from Mad Woman in the Attic, pgs. 336-371)

Rich, Adrienne. “Jane Eyre: The Temptations of the Motherless Woman” (from Norton Critical Edition, pgs. 469-483)

  

Topic #3: Countertraditional comment on marriage as a threat to individuality (i.e. “satisfied single” or rejection of marriage)

Why does Jane reject St. Johns Rivers’ proposal?  Why/how does his particular “approach” to marriage represent a threat to her self autonomy?  What is the image he presents of what marriage to him would be like?

sources:

Rich, Adrienne. “Jane Eyre: The Temptations of the Motherless Woman” (from Norton Critical Edition, pgs. 469-483)

Diedrick, J.  Jane Eyre and A Vindication of the Rights of Women (from Approaches to Teaching Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, pgs. 22-28)

Topic #4: Bronte’s critique of “false manners” – cultural dictates for women

In both Celine Varens and Blanche Ingram, Bronte offers a critique of the type of woman that the conduct manual dictates produce.  What particular issues does Bronte address through these characters?  What is her solution or answer to the conduct manual dictates?  (In other words, what values does Bronte endorse, and what “values” does she expose as shallow?)  

source:

Clarke, Michael M. “Bronte’s Jane Eyre and the Grimms’ Cinderella” 

Gilbert and Gubar.  “A Dialogue of Self and Soul: Plain Jane’s Progress” (from Mad Woman in the Attic, pgs. 336-371)

Topic #5: Insistence on a marriage of equals/revision of the marriage plot

What reservations does Jane have about marrying Rochester (before she finds out about Bertha)?  What do these reservations indicate regarding Jane's state of mind, her beliefs/priorities?

sources 

Rich, Adrienne. “Jane Eyre: The Temptations of the Motherless Woman” (from Norton Critical Edition, pgs. 469-483)

Sternlieb, L.  Jane Eyre:  "Hazarding Confidences" (from The Norton Critical Edition, pgs. 503-515

Nancy Jane Tyson, “Altars to Attics: The State of Matrimony in Bronte’s Jane Eyre” (from The Aching Hearth, pgs. 95-103)

Topic #6: Bertha and Jane as psychological doubles

Discuss the argument that Jane and Bertha are, in fact, the same person.  How might Bertha represent Jane’s dark side?

sources:

Gilbert and Gubar.  “A Dialogue of Self and Soul: Plain Jane’s Progress” (from Mad Woman in the Attic, pgs. 336-371)

Jafari, Mortez "Freud's Uncanny: The Role of the Double in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights