Jane Eyre and the Mad Angel in the House
『ジェイン・エア』 ト カテイ ノ キョウジョ
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) is one of the most famous works of English domestic fiction, a genre that was established in the late 18th century and became popular during the 19th century. The central theme of domestic fiction is how a young woman, forming a modern family through a love marriage, becomes an angel in the house, a woman good for her husband and wise for her children. What this means is that domestic fiction served the function of reinforcing domestic ideology, which is a system of middle-class ideas created in order to maintain English national identity under capitalism and imperialism. Domestic ideology idealized the deeroticized woman in the domestic sphere as the moral center for the nuclear family and the nation-state while positioning the woman outside the home and state as its structural other. In doing so, this ideology played an important role in domesticating capitalism and justifying the expansion of the British Empire. At first glance, the narrative development of Jane Eyre seems to follow the logic of domestic fiction. As this paper argues, however, Jane becomes the angel in the house in the ending of the novel by losing herself in the madly intense sexuality that is supposed to be tamed by domestic ideology. Thus, what the author attempts to do in this novel is to deconstruct domestic ideology.
広島国際研究 = Hiroshima Journal of International Studies