When it comes to literary heroines, Jane Eyre and Emma Woodhouse are two of the most famous and well-loved characters. Both are strong-willed, intelligent women who take charge of their own lives. However, there are also some key differences between them.
For one, Jane Eyre is much more passionate than Emma Woodhouse. She is quick to feel intense emotions, whether they be love, anger, or sorrow. This makes her a more relatable character for many readers. Emma, on the other hand, is more level-headed and rational. She rarely lets her emotions get the better of her.
Another key difference is that Jane Eyre is an orphan while Emma Woodhouse comes from a wealthy family. This means that Jane has to fight for everything she has, while Emma has always had a privileged life. This makes their respective journeys all the more interesting to read about.
Women have fought for their place in society throughout history, and some of the first women to do so were literary pioneers like Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. These two authors differed in their views on a woman’s role is society, as Austen showed in her book Emma and Bronte portrayed through the character of Jane Eyre.
Emma is a book about a women who seems to have it all, she’s beautiful, has great wealth, and excellent breeding. Austen uses Emma to display how even though someone may have everything they could want in life they can still be unhappy. Bronte on the other hand wrote Jane Eyre as a story of an underdog. Jane is poor, plain, and has no family to speak of. Even with all her disadvantages she manages to make something of herself. In Emma and Jane Eyre both authors show that women come from different walks of life but in the end can find happiness.
Austen displays the role of women in society by showing that even though Emma has everything she could ever want she’s still not happy. Emma is beautiful, has great wealth, and excellent breeding; however, she’s not content. Austen goes on to say, “She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was every thing but prudent.
Emma knew so little of men himself, that he did not like to acknowledge his want of knowledge: for though he had read more than many of his sex..he looked with some awe towards those of superior information” (Austen 16).
Austen is saying that even though Emma has all these advantages she doesn’t know anything about men. This lack of knowledge causes her to make poor decisions when it comes to love. Emma is a great example of how women were perceived during this time. They were supposed to be seen and not heard. As long as they looked the part they were doing their job.
Jane Eyre is a book about an underdog. Jane is poor, plain, and has no family to speak of; however, she doesn’t let that stop her from achieving her goals. Bronte goes on to say, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will…Which I now exert to leave you” (Bronte 83).
Jane is saying that even though she may not be the prettiest or have the most money she’s still a human being and she has a will of her own. Jane is an excellent example of how women were starting to be seen during this time. They were no longer just property; they were human beings with their own thoughts and feelings.
Jane Eyre is an orphan who comes from a poor family. She is raised by her aunt Sarah Reed, where she constantly endures teasing and torture from both the aunt and the rest of the family. She is not very pretty and does not have much social status.
Emma Woodhouse, on the other hand, is a beautiful young woman with financial stability. She was raised by her mother’s father. The primary element in Emma is Emma Woodhouse’s search for the perfect boyfriend.
Jane Austen’s Emma is one of the best examples of a well-bred young lady. She has excellent manners, is very well read and is extremely intelligent. However, she does not always use her intelligence wisely. For example, she meddles in other people’s affairs and often makes poor judgments about character.
Austen presents Emma as a flawed but likable heroine. In contrast, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is an orphan who grows up in poverty and suffers many hardships. As a result, she is a much more sympathetic and relatable character than Emma Woodhouse.
While both novels focus on the lives of young women, they offer very different insights into the female experience. Austen’s Emma is a classic story of a young woman coming of age and finding love, while Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a more gritty and realistic portrayal of a woman’s struggle to find her place in the world.
Emma’s ability to control those around her slowly transforms into self-deception as she goes further along in the text. Since she was young, Emma has had to take care of her father and because of this, she still enjoys managing things and people. However, everyone succumbs to her manipulation except for Mr. George Knightley.
Emma sets out to be a matchmaker for her friend Harriet Smith, and ends up trying to match herself with Harriet’s suitor, Mr. Elton. Emma is convinced that she is in love with Mr. Elton, even after he becomes engaged to another woman. Emma’s self-deception is so complete that she does not realize she loves Mr. Knightley until he finally tells her so himself.
“Jane Eyre” is the story of an orphan girl who grows up to be a governess at a grand estate called Thornfield Hall. Jane falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester, but discovers that he is already married to a madwoman who keeps him locked away in the attic. When the madwoman sets fire to Thornfield Hall, Jane is forced to flee, and finally comes to realize that her true love is not Mr. Rochester, but the poor, humble clergyman, Mr. St. John Rivers.
Though both “Jane Eyre” and “Emma” are stories of young women coming of age, they differ in a number of ways. For one thing, Emma is set among the upper class of English society, while Jane Eyre is about a girl from a lower social class.
Emma is also a much more light-hearted novel than “Jane Eyre,” which is darker and more serious in tone. Finally, the two novels have different endings: Emma ends up happily married to Mr. Knightley, while Jane Eyre chooses to marry Mr. Rivers and live a life of simplicity and service.