Abstract:In the novel Jane Eyre, Jane’s feminist consciousness can be divided into three stages which involve her lasting struggle for fundamental equality, economic Independence and freedom of love. Throughout Jane's lifetime, the author expressed the awakening of feminist consciousness which encouraged those traditional females to pursue gender equality of love and expressed concern about the liberation of women and thoughts.
Key words: Jane Eyre;feminist consciousness;exploration
1. The Overview of Jane Eyre
The issue of whether women’s social status is rising up from the past to the present time is of people's great concern. It is a general conception that in the old time Chinese or foreign countries are both experienced that so-called “male-dominated” societies,which is a motivation to stimulate women’s pursuits for independence and freedom. In the novel Jane Eyre, maybe God had not given her beauty and wealth but she has a thinking brain and honest heart, which are the true beauty in her inner mind. Further, what Jane has done not only simply represent for herself, but also a symbol of feminist consciousness which began to be waken in that period. In this essay, I will analyze Jane's personality in Jane Eyre and try to illustrate the feminist consciousness which began to be waken at that time in females' minds.
2. The seed of feminist consciousness -- rebel for fundamental equality
To my way of thinking, how the complicated changes in each stage of Jane's heart is a key line that emphasized on this novel, which runs through from the beginning to the end.At the beginning of the story, little Jane has a misery childhood which exerts a significant influence on her character. Actually, her resentful emotion towards her aunt and society are rebellious seeds which rooted in her mind state. Eventually, after confronting the abrupt beat of her cruel cousin, she decides not to endure anymore. This can be interpreted as Jane’s first resistance to the oppression. In the novel, she shouts to her aunt bravely:“ I am not deceitful: if I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed.”( Jane Eyre, 2001). In this way, to rebel for a basic right of a human, in my opinion, becomes a fundamental stage which encourage her to pursue real independence in the future.
3.The sprout of feminist consciousness--rebel for economic independence
The most important benchmark of judging whether a woman is truly independent or not, in our Chinese values, is based on her economic resources. In Victoria time, as for a woman who was brought up by an impoverished family, the exclusive approach to be wealthy in a short time is to marry a rich man for the purpose of gaining sufficient money to support themselves and families.As for Jane Eyre, that kinds of persevering and tough girl did not believe this universal belief. When Jane said yes to Rochester’s proposal, they begin to prepare for their marriage. Rochester said, "I will myself put the diamond chain around your neck, and the circle on your forehead and I will clasp the bracelets on these fine wrists, and load these fairy like fingers with rings." The first time I read these words, it reminded me of another story Pride and Prejudice, which under the similar social background. If another "Jane" hears a few of words alike, then how appreciates she will be! But beyond our expectation, Jane Eyre feels Mr. Rochester’s smile had " Such a sultan might, bestow on a slave his gold and gems had enriched". ( Jane Eyre, 2001) From my perspective, Jane is not willing to break out this principle for the reason that she does not want to be a slave of others. If we say that the former two rebellion are based on the control of emotional impulses, then the third resistance is Jane’s reflection based on rational thinking.
4. The blossom of feminist consciousness-- rebel for freedom of love
If it can be concluded that the two aspects mentioned above belong to the beginning and the development of the feminist consciousness, then there is no doubt that the third rebellion- pursuit for her true love reaches the peak of feminist consciousness. In Thorn field, Jane meets Mr. Rochester, whom she fell in love with and changed her fate. By the time she found herself fall in love with Mr. Rochester, she could not help stoping a fierce struggle in her mind. It was the first time that the plain but pure girl tasted the sorrow and happiness of love. She realized that when she faced Mr. Rochester, herself, was no longer as independent as before. It implies that in Jane's belief, independence occurs the most important role in the era of her elementary principle. Having read this, it is clear that Jane insists to stick to her own principle, which can be seen that she does not lose the sense even in love. From this section, the readers have witnessed that after undergoing lots of unfortunates. Jane is much more mature than she used to be. That is to say, the “feminist consciousness” tree produce some mature blossoms that Jane becomes an independent woman physically and psychologically.
Jane Eyre, which occupy an important position in English literature as feminists try to explain how power imbalances between man and woman in Victoria’s time. As it has been mentioned, although she has to endure so many sufferings in different period of her life, she constantly striven to become stronger and successfully gain her real independence in the end. From Gates-head to Lowood to Thorn Field, finally moved to Moor Home and Fern dean Manor, her life was filled with tears and pains. However, she ultimately gains a blissful life due to her lasting pursuit for independence and love. To every reader, it is set up to fulfill the educational function of grasping fates by our owns. That is to say, to achieve feminist independence, persistence for the rights will offer traditional females enough confidence and courage, which are the beacon over the ocean of life. The theme is to aspire the modern woman to contemplate their own careers, marriages and life so that they can enter the correct way of gaining respects and independence. This is where the practical meaning integrate with the social reality lies.
 Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre[M], Yili People’s Press,2001.
 Liu Bingham, (1993),A Short History of English Literature.Zhengzhou, Hunan People Press
 Wang Shouren. Seleted Readings in British Literature[M]. Higher Education Press,2001.