Timeline: CCU MAW ENGL 628

Collective timeline for ENGL 628 SP 2022.


Chronological table

Displaying 1 - 33 of 33
Date Event Created by Associated Places
circa. 1501 to circa. 1846

Ivory and Miniatures

Image Work Cite:  Invaluable. 1805, www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/portrait-miniature-of-a-gentleman-henry-williams--470-c-563b9c5b5c. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.
An example of an Ivory Miniature

            On multiple occasions, the term "Ivory" is used in relation to draw, art, and creative talent. Up through chapter twenty-two, we receive an ivory mention six times. This is interesting because drawing seems to be a tell-all talent on character and wit within Jane Eyre. Today, drawing isn't as highly regarded as it was in the 1800's. The reason could be from technology, or it could be because for society, becoming an artist seems easier to claim than back then. The concept of ivory miniatures stood out with the way Jane uses art to express her feelings and heartache as she longs for Mr. Rochester. In one scene, it says, "An hour or two sufficed to sketch my own portrait in crayons; and in less than a fortnight I had completed an ivory miniature of an imaginary Blanche Ingram" (172 via Kindle). While she is processing her loss of her beloved Mr. Rochester to soon be married to somebody else, she deems herself idiotic for thinking there could be anything more.

            Jane would be considered a miniaturist while she did most of her paintings and drawings out of the spotlight. She drew many people including herself as full figures, portraits portraying them, and used details to highlight features (The Met). While most people were using these to replicate oil paintings with the watercolors, it seems like Jane was using it "to remind herself that she is not good enough to aspire to the love of Mr. Rochester" (Mimi). Painting on Ivory was not easy because it was hard to control (Sotheby's). Knowing these facts about miniature painting and ivory is influential on how reader's look at Jane. She was talented is creating miniatures even though some thought of her as talentless, reader's see that is not the case. Also, Jane used painting miniatures as a creative expression of her feelings which is interesting because she makes it a point to tell Mr. Rochester that she is not without feelings (167 via Kindle). Finally, it shows that Jane's character is thoughtful and steady as she can create these miniatures while they are difficult to make. The miniatures on the ivory show readers that Jane approaches art with ease even though to most it is difficult.


Work Cited:

Barratt, Carrie Rebora. "American Portrait Miniatures of the Nineteenth Century." The Met,

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oct. 2004, www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/mini_2/hd_mini_2.htm. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Griffith-Jones, Mark. "Windows Onto Lost Worlds, a History of Portrait Miniature Painting."

Sotheby's, 24 Apr. 2020, www.sothebys.com/en/articles/windows-onto-lost-worlds-a-history-of-portrait-miniature-painting. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Matthews, Mimi. "Miniature Portraits in the Works of Radcliffe, Austen, Brontë, and Dickens." MimiMatthews, Mimi Matthews, 9 June 2015, www.mimimatthews.com/2015/06/09/miniature-portraits-in-the-works-of-radc.... Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Image Work Cite:

Invaluable. 1805, www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/portrait-miniature-of-a-gentleman-henry-         williams--470-c-563b9c5b5c. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Hope Smith
circa. 1510 to circa. 1590

The Prosthetic Hand

As Jane returns to Thornfield, she learns from an inn’s host about the tragedy that has befallen upon Mr. Rochester. Not only has she learned that Thornfield has been destroyed in a fire caused by Rochester’s wife, but also that Mr. Rochester suffered injury from the crash of the mansion around him, causing him to be blinded and for one of his hands to be crushed. The host recounts that “‘one hand [was] so crushed that Mr. Carter, the surgeon, had to amputate it directly,’” thus rendering Rochester a “cripple” (Bronte 382). 

After his hand is amputated and his home destroyed, Rochester secludes himself from nearly everybody. When Jane first sees Rochester, he appears to be hiding his missing limb inside his jacket (Bronte 384). And then when Jane finally reconnects with Rochester, he appears ashamed of his missing limb, telling her, “‘I thought you would be revolted, Jane, when you saw my arm and cicatrised visage,’” (Bronte 388). Although it is unclear when the novel Jane Eyre takes place, the option to have an artificial limb or prosthetic limb was available mostly to the wealthy in the 19th century (Armfield para 6). In fact, as far back as the 16th century there were ideas about the prosthetic limb, the hand in particular, with Ambroise Pare, a French military surgeon, creating the first design of a prosthetic hand (Zuo and Olsen para 5). With advancements being made in the Victorian era, the prosthetic limb became a more viable option. 

Mr. Rochester was considered wealthy and seemed to have the concept of a prosthetic hand at his disposal, and yet there is no mention of him getting one. Instead, he simply has no left hand and Jane helps assist him where needed. He explains the situation to her in the words, “‘...to bear my infirmities, Jane: to overlook my deficiencies,’” (Bronte 396). Whatever his reason for not getting a fake limb, I think it says something about his character. Knowing these options might have been available for Rochester, we can perhaps assume it was a thing of pride. He might not have wanted to feel worse about his condition with the addition of a limb that probably didn’t look as realistic as it might have now. Understanding Rochester’s character, this might have been his reasoning. Seeing how, after the accident, he isolates himself from everyone, he might have felt a shame that only would have been made worse by getting a prosthetic hand to replace his lost one; especially as the whole accident was caused by his wife, someone who continually brought shame to Rochester. 


Works Cited

Armfield, Julia. “Without a Leg to Stand On – Victorian Prosthetics.” Untold lives blog, https://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2013/10/without-a-leg-to-stand-on-victor.... Accessed 27 January 2022.

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre, edited by Deborah Lutz, 4th ed., New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.

Zuo, Kevin J, and Jaret L Olson. “The evolution of functional hand replacement: From iron prostheses to hand transplantation.” Plastic surgery (Oakville, Ont.) vol. 22,1 (2014): 44-51.

Image Citation

Pare, Ambroise. Hand with mechanical apparatus. National Library of Medicine, Jean Le Royer, 1564, https://collections.nlm.nih.gov/catalog/nlm:nlmuid-101448278-img?sort=Ti....

Nicole Conner
circa. 1590 to circa. 1592

The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew is an article, designed to be comedy, written by William Shakespeare in five-acts (Bevington). It’s framed as a play within a play where a joker is used to tell the tale. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the closest definition of how this comedy uses “induction” is “[t]hat which introduces or leads on or in to something; an introduction. Now rare.” Shakespeare has used this tactic in other works too like A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Wikipedia contributors). Since this element is rare to implement, it’s easier for readers to see knowing this why it would be abnormal for Christopher Sly to waltz into a bar telling the tale he only knew how to do. In this world, every reference mentioned collides to bring a new “normal,” but from the beginning, there’s an absurdity to how the world’s rules work. While on this journey to discover truth and find answers, many literary references were made, for example, but not limited to Wordsworth, Mr. Rochester, and Dracula. Including when Christopher Sly walks into a bar one day. The characters are divulging and processing the abnormalities happening in their world. An example, the conversation about The Taming of the Shrew says, “Six years ago an uneducated drunk who spoke only Elizabethan English was found wandering in a confused state just outside Warwick. He said that his name was Christopher Sly, demanded a drink and was very keen to see how the play turned out. I managed to question him for half an hour, and in that time, he convinced me that he was the genuine article – yet he never came to the realization that that he was no longer in his own play” (206). Thursday Next extracts from the witness that it was unusual, but that the SpecOps took him only to never be seen again. The importance of this scene and placement of Shakespearean article in The Eyre Affair are because of the context clues and mysterious undertone. If the audience didn’t get this example as to how something is going wrong in this world, it wouldn’t have as big of an impact later with the additions of Jane Eyre and characters presented. Shakespeare’s article is important because it plays a role in moving Thursday Next through the plot to her next clue and keeping the pace steady. Thursday Next is on a mission to unmask a criminal while also facing Hades – the uncertainty if he’s alive, personal history, and crimes committed by him. Moments like this seem to motivate her to keep digging until she finds the answer she is searching for.  

Works Cited 

Bevington, David. "The Taming of the Shrew". Encyclopedia Britannica, 7 Mar. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Taming-of-the-Shrew. Accessed 17 April 2022. 

Dockar-Drysdale, Jonathan. Katherina torments Bianca in the 2003 production of The Taming of The Shrew. 2003. Royal Shakespeare Company, Arts Council England, 2003, www.rsc.org.uk/shakespeare-learning-zone/the-taming-of-the-shrew/story/t.... Accessed 17 Apr. 2022. 

"induction, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, March 2022, www.oed.com/view/Entry/94779. Accessed 17 April 2022. 

Wikipedia contributors. "The Taming of the Shrew." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Apr. 2022. Web. 17 Apr. 2022. 

Hope Smith
circa. 1626

Francis Bacon and Shakespeare

In the novel The Eyre Affair, the protagonist Thursday Next is confronted by a “Baconian” who attempts to convince her that that scientist Sir Francis Bacon was the true author of the plays of William Shakespeare (Fforde 37). Though the novel relies heavily on alternate history, this claim is one that has been made historically on many occasions by many people. This claim is seemingly reliant on two pieces of evidence. The first is that Bacon was apparently secretly a poet known to the world under a different name, which is evidenced in several letters; the second is that Ben Jonson eulogized both Shakespeare and Bacon using the same language (“History of the Baconian Shakespeare Authorship Theory”). While the fact that Jonson used identical language for both men is certainly interesting, it is by no means conclusive proof of the sameness of the authors. Thus, the claim must be supported on the merits of the first argument, that Bacon was secretly a poet of considerable ability. This claim does not hold true to reality. Upon examining some of the works written by Bacon, some have concluded that “the man could not write a play. We know this because he penned some court entertainments, and they are sadly static affairs in which stock characters—a hermit, a soldier, a secretary—stand and deliver set pieces about the joys of being a hermit, a soldier, a secretary. There’s not a trace here of the grasp of plot, character, nuance, conflict that we expect in Shakespeare’s plays. In short, Francis Bacon had no drama” (Stewart).

Why then, if the evidence does not hold up to scrutiny, has the claim continued to exist, and, in the world of The Eyre Affair, grown to have door-to-door proselytizers? The evidence may be found in one of the claims of the Baconian in the novel. In response to Thursday saying “if you expect me to believe that a lawyer wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I must be dafter than I look,” the Baconian says “not as daft as supposing that a Warwickshire schoolboy with almost no education could write works that were not for an age but for all time” (Fforde 38). Here, the reader is presented with an unfortunately common attitude in literary circles. The idea that an uneducated person could not produce great works of art is classist, and that classism is at the heart of the majority of the theories behind the “true” identity of William Shakespeare. It is a great shame that some cannot stomach the merest possibility of Shakespeare’s “low” social status and must create poorly supported conspiracy theories to explain the quality of his work. It is not shocking that in a fictional world in which literature is given even higher regard than it is in the real world, that these classist attitudes would find even more public avenues to spread and that some would feel comfortable enough to so blatantly express that attitude.



Works Cited

Taylor, John. Chandos Portrait. Wikimedia Commons, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shakespeare.jpg. Accessed 9 Apr. 2022.

Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Penguin, 2001.

“History of the Baconian Shakespeare Authorship Theory.” Shakespearean Authorship Trust, https://shakespeareanauthorshiptrust.org/bacon-history. Accessed 9 Apr. 2022.

Steward, Alan. “Sir Francis Bacon and Shakespeare’s Authorship.” Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/podcasts/60-minutes-shakespeare/sir-francis-bacon-and-shakespeares-authorship/. Accessed 9 Apr. 2022.

Andrew Hadaway
circa. 1650 to circa. 1890

Tie-On Pockets

A single tie-on pocket made of cotton. This pocket has obvious signs of staining and heavy usage.
19th Century Tie-On Pocket

In Susanna White’s film adaptation of Jane Eyre, Jane can be seen accessing a pocket from the front of her dress when Mr. Rochester asks her how much money she has before departing to the Reed residence (1:50:05-1:50:10). Due to the ease of access Jane seems to have here, it appears to be a sewn-in pocket. While it was common for men’s apparel to include sewn-in pockets throughout the early nineteenth century, the same cannot be said for women. Instead, women often relied on a pocket kept separate from their garments, often tied around the waist and hidden beneath one’s dress or skirt (“Women’s Tie-On Pockets”). This tie-on pocket is likely what Jane and other women throughout the time period would have had, and it is possible the pocket she accesses in the film is meant to be a hidden tie-on pocket that she gains access to through a discreet slit in the dress. These tie-on pockets were developed during the seventeenth century and were in common use to the end of the nineteenth century; they provided “an extremely popular detachable accessory for carrying their possessions” which would sometimes consist of prized belongings since women were provided with few options for safekeeping (“Women’s Tie-On Pockets”).  

Viewers do not gain access to the total contents of Jane’s pockets, but she can be seen pulling out what appears to be a coin purse, and it can be assumed she would carry other items of value such as portraits and materials more suited to her everyday life as a governess, like pencils and sewing materials. Unlike men who often had access to material autonomy, these tie-on pockets were often the one space a woman could keep her own belongings controlled by no one other than herself. Though wealthier women often had pockets fashioned from more durable materials with embroidered designs in silk or wool, tie-on pockets were not exclusive to the wealthy and were commonly found on working-class women as well due to their ability to be made from plain linen or recycled fabric (“Women’s Tie-On Pockets”). They often varied in size but were generally larger than one may imagine, making it possible for women to carry items as small as coins or as large as a live bird (“Women’s Tie-On Pockets”). The history of tie-on pockets often points back to women’s disempowered position throughout the time period, something worth giving large consideration to when reading Jane Eyre and its many adaptations since Jane herself as well as many other depicted women are often considered possessions and are forced to rely on marriage to wealthier men for sustenance and livelihood.

A single tie-on pocket, embroidered with floral designs.

Works Cited

“Jane Eyre: Episode 1.” Films On Demand, Films Media Group, 2006, fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wlD=101269&xtid=128871. Accessed 10 Mar. 2022.

Pocket, single. vads, https://www.vads.ac.uk/digital/collection/POCKETS/id/649/rec/64. Accessed 12 Mar. 2022.

Pocket, single, embroidered. vads, https://www.vads.ac.uk/digital/collection/POCKETS/id/451/rec/252. Accessed 12 Mar. 2022.

“Women’s Tie-On Pockets.” Victoria and Albert Museum, https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/womens-tie-pockets. Accessed 11 Mar. 2022. 

Selena Mendoza

Christian Missionaries to India

William Carey, who sought to spread Christianity in India.
William Carey, who sought to spread Christianity in India.


Throughout Jane Eyre, the references to Christianity/religion are prevalent. In Chapter 34, St. John implores Jane to go with him to the mission field “as a conductress of Indian schools, and a helper amongst Indian women” (Bronte 360). John’s calling to missionary work shows his willingness to be helpful to others. Jane’s humility is apparent as well, as she offers to accompany John to India. John, however, is concerned with appearances only, which causes a rift between the two. Similar to Jane’s and John’s willingness to help others, early missionaries were concerned with more than spreading Christianity. 

In Europe, the spread of Christianity was important and highly regarded as the calling of many. What many people might not know, however, is that trading companies were hesitant to allow missionaries into their trading posts. They regarded missionary work as “destabliz[ing to] culture and threaten[ing to] trade” (Daughrity and Athyal 34). Therefore, it wasn’t until 1706 that the first Protestants traveled to India. In contrast to the beliefs of trading companies, missionaries sought to “enrich humanity with God’s loveliest and best” (Hedlund 45). Their goal was to be humble and helpful members of Indian society. Many missionaries learned the native language and tried to assimilate themselves into Indian culture. The Bible was translated into multiple languages in an effort to help make Christian doctrine more accessible to the people. In the time period of Jane Eyre, John would have heard of William Carey--one of the fathers of the Christian missionary field in India--and his motto, “to educate, to inspire, and to serve” (Daughrity and Athyal 39). John would have been inspired by this motto to become a missionary himself.  

The first college built in India was Serampore College, which eventually became the center of religious studies. The goal of the missionaries which built the school was to create “cross cultural understanding and empowering the local context with education” (Daughrity and Athyal 39). Had Jane been allowed to accompany St. John to India, the story might have included details of her efforts to educate the people of India--specifically, women and young girls. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, “by the 1860s, education for women had advanced and nurses’ training had begun; the vast majority of Indian nurses also have been Christian.” But, the choice to have Jane agree to marry John, travel to India, and begin missionary work would have been a stagnant one. The story would not have progressed, and Jane would not have sought after Mr. Rochester.



Works Cited

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. W.W. Norton and Company, 2016. 

Carey, William. image. Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 13 Nov. 2021.  academic-eb-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/levels/collegiate/assembly/view/168680. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

"Christianity." Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 10 Sep. 2020. academic-eb-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/levels/collegiate/article/Christianity/105945#260807.toc. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

 Daughrity, Dyron B., and Jesudas M. Athyal. Understanding World Christianity: India. National Book Network, 2016, https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1b3t6wd.

 Hedlund, Roger E. Christianity Made in India: From Apostle Thomas to Mother Teresa. Fortress Press, 2017.

"William Carey." Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 22 May. 2012. academic-eb-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/levels/collegiate/article/William-Carey/20318. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.



Kristina Gray
circa. 1800




The Gytrash is a mythical spirit from northern England and parts of Scotland. In popular myth, Gytrash are said to appear to wayward travelers. While typically a wolf like spirit, Gytrash have also been described as horses or "large lion like dogs" (Hollow tree tales). Gytrash are sometimes said to lead wayward travelers to their destination, though also have been said to at times lead them astray. Jane is afraid when she thinks she might have seen a Gytrash in Pilot, Mr. Rochester's dog, as well as his horse, before she is able to make out Mr. Rochester, but upon seeing Mr. Rochester, she finds some relief. "The man, the human being broke the spell at once. Nothing ever rode the Gytrash" (Bronte 103). It's possible that Bronte intended to use this event as a comparison that foreshadows Mr. Rochester's character. Although all the men in this story have a dark side, Mr. Rochester already feels like the lesser of two evils, when comparing him to Mr. Brocklehurst. By introducing Rochester, mysteriously, under the guise of a potentially evil spirit, his character is muddied and the reader, like Jane, is uncertain whether or not to trust him. The relief that Jane feels when she realizes she is not in the presence of the Gytrash foreshadows the ways in which she will grow to like Rochester, and also foreshadows relief for both Jane and the reader that Rochester is much kinder and more respectful than Brocklehurst. The notion of a mysterious, ghost wolf/horse figure also fits with the dark theme of the bildungsroman style novel, that Jane Eyre is. While the origins of the Gytrash myth remain unclear, it likely dates back to the 18th century, and in the year 1900 was defined by Joseph Wright in the English Dialect Dictionary as, "An apparition, specter, ghost, generally taking the form of an animal. It is described as an evil cow whose appearance was formerly believed in as a sign of death; others say that it has cloven feet and eyes as large as saucers, or as a black dog" (Pantheon.org).




Works Cited

Wright, J. (1900). The English dialect dictionary. Vol. 2. London: H. Frowde.



Colin Katchmar
circa. 1800

Silver Scissors

There is no shortage of conclusions to be made about Bronte’s character. Within Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, one of the most thought-provoking characters is Bertha, a symbol of femininity and commentary on mental health treatment within the victorian era. This attention to a character has carried into almost every adaptation of Jane Eyre in some form or another. With each writer is trying to vilify, sympathize, or combine the two to hold the same level of interest that Bronte first generated with Bertha. In Jasper Fforde’s Eyre Affair, a story set in a world where literature is at the forefront of human innovation, Fforde immerses the reader into a depth of literary allusions that often provide implicit commentary (primarily humorous) on many of the excellent English works over the best centuries. When addressing the character of Bertha, Fforde seems to walk the line, both centering Bertha as mentally ill and trying to make her a hero by saving Thursday and Rochester from Hades. Having Bertha use silver Scissors, in a fit of “madness,” to thwart Acheron Hades Fforde places Bertha into the conversation as a redemptive hero.

Silver has been connected to the supernatural since early civilization. The lore suggests that the metal has protective properties against evil spirits due to its reflective nature and the idea of your true self being reflected. If you were evil, you would be unable to handle your reflection (James Ross Jewelers). Scissors have been around since 400 B.C, but it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that scissors made out of silver became popularized at the height of the victorian period. Mostly belonging to the wealthy citizens of the time, silver scissors were used as grape shears, a tool for cutting grapes from the stem to serve to guests for dessert. Sheering grapes in front of guests was seen as proper etiquette for that era, as they would know that no one's hands had touched their food. Later designs even had devices used for catching the grapes after cutting them (Smith). 

Given the history of silver scissors, Fforde makes the character of Bertha all the more interesting because if she were genuinely evil or thought herself to be acting out of malice, she would be unable to wield the scissors in her battle with Acheron due to the metals “supernatural” properties. In addition, given the use of silver scissors in the victorian age, it makes little sense as to why Bertha would have them in the first place. Since they were used as a tool to showcase their wealth and social class in front of peers, Bertha being in isolation, would not need them as she would have minimal contact with the outside world. However, the circumstances of her fight with Acheron could showcase that Bertha’s madness resulted from social isolation. It is only by rejoining society using a simple tool like silver scissors that she gets better and allows to act with agency. 

Sean Forte
8 Mar 1808

Sir Walter Scott's "Marmion" is First Published in England


The works of Sir Walter Scott are commonly referenced in Jane Eyre, as we often see Brontë quoting, for example, from his work The Lay of the Last Minstrel as a descriptor for the scenes at hand. In chapter 32 however, another work of poetry by Scott is mentioned in passing, Marmion, as the text St. John brings for Jane's reading pleasure. Upon receiving the gift, Jane briefly details her outlook on the current state of literature in her society — mainly relaying that a deep appreciation for poetry and literature (and by extension, learning) is somewhat out of fashion but in the long run their presence and relevancy cannot be quelled (Brontë 331). With Jane's mentality in mind, I explore the history of Marmion to further elucidate Jane's academic status as well as analyze an early reference to St. John's later treatment of Jane's character.

The idea of Marmion first arose in 1806, as Scott reflected on the battle of Flodden Field which took place in 1513. The battle took place near the border of England and Scotland and was the largest to take place between the two countries (Johnson). Despite the great loss inflicted on the Scottish, Scott, having been born in Edinburgh himself, found the event to be a suitable subject for poetry and poetic discussion of Scotland's honor, especially as instability, resulting from the current events of the Napoleonic wars (1803-1815), rose across the country ("Marmion"; Hepburn). The poem, which is written in iambic tetrameter and consists of six cantos, details a fictional story of Lord Marmion and (the real) James IV where both are depicted as morally corrupt resulting in the detrimental outcome of the battle of Flodden (Hewitt). While the story was originally published in Edinburgh in February 1808, it was first published in England a month later. While the publication was a great success, it had several critical reviews that detail the story as convoluted and controversial — particularly for its showcasing of a villainous protagonist ("Marmion").

Marmion's placement in Jane Eyre (as are other references to Scott's work), is primarily an indicator of Brontë's favor of Scott's work as a poet. In the scene on page 331 however, we might also recognize Brontë's reference to Marmion as a suggestion of St. John's judge of Jane's character and intellectual ability. At this point in time Marmion had been released to the public for several years and had acquired its reputation as one of Scott's more challenging and esteemed poems. Later in this week's reading section, we see St. John test Jane with other academic work so he many eventually covet Jane only for her intellectual fervor. With the latter in mind, this moment of St. John bringing Jane Marmion as reading material depicts an early instance of his evolution into obsession with Jane's intellectual character.        

Works Cited

Hepburn, Carla. "Walter Scott the 'might minstrel' and Marmion." Edinburgh University Press. 3 July 2018. https://euppublishingblog.com/2018/07/03/walter-scott-the-mighty-minstrel-and-marmion/. Accessed 23 January 2022.

Hewitt, David. "Scott, Sir Walter." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 24 May 2008. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/24928. Accessed 23 January 2022.

Johnson, Ben. "The Battle of Flodden." Historic UK. https://www.historic- uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofScotland/The-Battle-of-Flodden/. Accessed 23 January 2022.

Emma Streberger
circa. 1817


In the book Wide Sargasso Sea, written by Jean Rhys, which mainly explores the relationship between Antoinette/Betha and Rochester before appearing in Jane Eyre, there are many allusions (or disillusions) to the pinnacle of high English society. One of the most notable and subliminal of these allusions is when Antoinette describes Thornhill, and she refers to England as a place built from cardboard. Rhys writes, "Then I open the door and walk into their world. It is, as I always knew, made of cardboard. I have seen it before somewhere, this cardboard world where everything is coloured brown or dark red or yellow that has no light in it [...] This cardboard house where I walk at night is not England." (Rhys 107). Rhys's use of cardboard here is interesting because it directly contradicts the victorians' notion of their greatness by highlighting key societal structural issues, especially between class and gender.
The history of cardboard is obscure, with varying accounts of its creation; most scholars agree that cardboard was commercialized in 1817, but they disagree on who created it. Of the many people and groups linked to cardboard's conception, three names most often emerge as Malcolm Thornhill, the business M. Treverton & Son, and an unnamed German toy company (Blitz). The first cardboard boxes were vastly different from modern-day cardboard boxes. They were more like paper and much more fragile and flimsy than their modern-day successor (Printcosmo). It wouldn't be till 1856 when Edward Allen and Edward Healey created the first corrugated paper, which is used in modern cardboard boxes, but Allen and Healy’s corrugated paper was being used in the construction of tophats. Due to corrugated paper's solid and durable design, it allowed hatmakers to extend and emphasize the height of tophats (A Brief History of the Indispensable and Ingenious Cardboard Box).
Judging that Wide Sargasso Sea was set sometime between the 1830s and 1840's Antoinette most likely referred to the first non-corrugated cardboard that came around in 1817. Due to its weak and flimsy design and given the negative context that Antoinette speaks of Thornhill, she could have been calling Victorian Era's societal values faulty and very material. This point is only extended when Antoinette begins to describe the colors of what she is seeing. She lists the shades of brown, dark red, and yellow, all of which were colors used to describe Jamacia and people from there in the story. Given Jamaica's history with slaves and the Western world's view that slaves were objects, a unit of material to be bought or sold, the notion of Antoinette attacking victorian values is only highlighted more by the sentiment.
However, given that Wide Sargasso Sea was published in 1966, Rhys herself could have been commenting on the patriarchal structure of the victorian era in an attempt to connect it to the civil rights movement that was going on globally. Given that at the height of the victorian era, the tophat was a mainstay of high-class male fashion. The invention of corrugated paper allowed hatmakers only to extend the height of the hat. Rhys could have been very well making the claim the artificial structure of the male dominate society was arbitrary and without merit, much like a fashion accessory.

Works Cited

“A Brief History of the Indispensable and Ingenious Cardboard Box.” Paper & Packaging, https://www.howlifeunfolds.com/packaging-innovation/brief-history-indisp....

Blitz, Matt. “How the Cardboard Box Was Invented.” Gizmodo, Gizmodo, 9 Feb. 2015, https://gizmodo.com/how-the-cardboard-box-was-invented-1684626050.

Levins, Cory. “All Boxed up: An in-Depth Look at How the Corrugated Box Is Made.” Air Sea Containers, Inc., Air Sea Containers, Inc., 5 Nov. 2021, https://www.airseacontainers.com/blog/all-boxed-up-an-in-depth-look-at-h....
Printcosmo. “What Started the Cardboard Boxes?” Cardboardboxes, 29 Mar. 2018, https://printcosmo.wixsite.com/cardboardboxes/post/what-started-the-card....

Rhys, Jean, et al. Wide Sargasso Sea. W.W. Norton, 1999.

Sean Forte
circa. 1831

Dic Penderyn Martyrdom

The Merthyr Rising of 1831 was the climax of the working class uprising in Wales. It occurred in Merthyr Tydfil and was said to be the first time the red flag of revolt was flown in the United Kingdom. The workers rose up in response to wage cuts and general unemployment (Wiki). A prominent figure in this revolt was the martyr Dic Penderyn who “was charged with stabbing a soldier with a bayonet. The people of Merthyr Tydfil doubted his guilt, and signed a petition for his release. However, he was found guilty and hanged on 13 August 1831” (Wiki). This lead to Penderyn becoming a prominent figurehead in Wales. Many towns and streets were duly named after him. According to Jasper Fforde in his novel, “The Eyre Affair,” “Dr. Penderyn had been executed in 1831 for wounding a soldier during the Merythyr riots—he was innocent and so became the first martyr of the Welsh rising and something of a figurehead for the republican struggle. Even if Goliath could infiltrate Wales, they wouldn’t know which Penderyn to start with” (Fforde 257). This passage tells me that Fforde used the uncertainty of Penderyn’s guilt to allude to the uncertainty of which Penderyn Goliath would need to search. Acheron Hades is a cunning villain to cleverly hide himself in a place with such a common name. This adds to the literary fan fiction element of the book because it brings in historical events from Victorian area United Kingdom, Wales, which was a part of the rule of the English crown, at the time. This deepens the mystery and gives the reader the possibility that Acheron could have an ulterior motive in his pursuit of manuscripts. Perhaps Hades’ use of the prose portal has more of a revolutionary motive then the reader is initially led to believe. And perhaps Goliath is part of what Hades is revolting against.



Works Cited

Merthyr rising, Wikipedia, accessed 4/17/22. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merthyr_Rising

Did Penderyn, Wikipedia, accessed 4/17/22 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dic_Penderyn

Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair, Penguin Books, 2001, accessed 4/17/22

Colin Katchmar
The start of the month Spring 1840 to The end of the month Spring 1840

Drystone Walling and Hedging

In the 2006 BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre, after discovering the existence of Mr. Rochester’s wife, Jane flees from Thornfield Hall and makes her way eventually to the Rivers family, who she will later learn are her cousins. While she lives with them and becomes a teacher in the village, the viewer is shown many shots of the northern landscape, a prominent feature of which is different types of barriers and field boundaries (Jane Eyre 01:16:12-01:16:17). The two main types of boundaries found throughout much of England, including the north, are drystone walls and hedges.

Drystone walling, so named because no mortar is used in the construction, is an ancient craft in England and was still widely practiced in the time of Jane Eyre. While some walls date back 800 years or more, many of these boundary walls found today are from just before the Victorian era, particularly walls that are straight and regular as they date from the period of Enclosure (“Dry Stone Walls”). This type of boundary is the one most often seen in the film and are particularly prominent around the Rivers’ home and around Jane’s school.

Hedging, unlike drystone walling, makes use of various plant materials to construct boundaries, particularly field boundaries for livestock. While there are many different approaches to hedging available depending upon the area, the specific needs of the builder, or the available materials, one that would be relatively common throughout the period is wattlework. Wattlework is a hedge style which involves driving posts into the ground, then weaving hazel rods between them for form a barrier (“Why Victorian Cravings Changed How They Hunted” 00:41:45-00:42:05).

While Jane herself would have known of the various types of boundaries in use, it seems unlikely that she would have had much, if any, practical experience building them given her schooling and profession. The same cannot be said for her students. Jane’s students in the village were, by and large, the children of farmers and would have been expected to work when needed. While many of her students would have been too young when she was there to help repair these boundaries, they would have already started to learn how the boundaries work and what the techniques were to build them with the expectation that they would be able to help when they were older. The professional craft of laying new walls and hedges was dominated by men, but the maintenance and repair of existing walls would have been the responsibility of whoever had a spare hour between other tasks around the farm, so any member of a household of the appropriate age and with the appropriate knowledge would have been constructing portions of walls and hedges. This expectation, that they be able to work with their hands in this way, sets Jane somewhat apart from her students since she seemingly at no point in her life has had this type of responsibility expected of her, showing that while Jane is of the same social class as her students, the life she tends to live is nothing like the lives of her students.



Works Cited

BBC Two. “Why Victorian Cravings Changed How They Hunted | Victorian Farm | Absolute History.” Youtube, uploaded by Absolute History, 31 July 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxcA4rszDgg&t.

“Dry Stone Walls.” DalesDiscoveries, https://www.dalesdiscoveries.com/more-inspiration/70-dry-stone-walls. Accessed 19 Mar. 2022.

“Jane Eyre: Episode 2.” Films On Demand, Films Media Group, 2006, fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=101269&xtid=128872. Accessed 19 Mar. 2022.

White, Matt. Barns and Fields. DalesDiscoveries, https://www.dalesdiscoveries.com/uploads/4/8/5/6/4856328/published/barns-and-fields-matt-white_1.png?1552300882. Accessed 19 Mar. 2022.

Andrew Hadaway
circa. The middle of the month Summer 1843

Brunel’s Great Britain

Traveling is a key concept within the text of Jane Eyre. At several different moments between chapters ten and twenty-three in the text, Jane refers to a desire to travel. Bronte is explicit in letting the reader know this as she writes, “Now I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek knowledge of life amidst its perils” (79). This ambition for Jane to travel could have been inspired by the technology of Bronte’s own time, with the popularity of the steamboat arising in the early-mid 19th century. The improvements that were being done to steam-powered ships at the time suddenly made the world much smaller as it became more accessible for people to travel greater distances. 

 Bronte even gives a direct reference to steamships when Adela recounts for Jane how she arrived in England. She says, “Sophie is my nurse; she came with me over the sea in a great ship with a chimney that smoked– how did it smoke” (93). First being published in 1947, Jane Eyre would have been nine years after the Great Western set sail for New York, being the first transatlantic passenger ship. Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Great Western was the first of many boats to travel across the Atlantic, thus making steam-powered transportation much more popular (Vance). Later in 1943, four years before Jane Eyre was published, Brunel would create the first trans-Atlantic Luxury passenger boat known as Great Britain, in Bristol, England, which was also the largest ship built at the time (Johnson). Recounting Adela’s journey to England makes a lot of sense that she would have most likely come on a boat similar to Brunel’s Great Britain, given Mr. Rochester’s wealth and status. 

Due to steamboats, It isn’t far-fetched to believe that this form of transportation could have played a factor in Bronte’s decision to have Jane travel as far as she did.

Works Cited

Brontë Charlotte, and Deborah Lutz. Jane Eyre. W.W. Norton and Company, 2016.

Johnson, Ben. “SS Great Britain, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Steamship.” Historic UK, https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/SS-Great-Britain/.

Vance, James E. “‘The Atlantic Ferry.’” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/technology/ship/The-Atlantic-Ferry.

Image cited

Hill, Thomas. BRUNEL. SS Great Britain in 1953. September 28th, 2020.

Sean Forte

The Royal Family Portrait: 1846

In the beginning of the film adaptation of Jane Eyre, Jane is treated cruelly by her aunt and cousins in front of an artist who is painting their family portrait. This scene is not in the original novel, but is still significant to Jane’s journey. The artist asks Jane if she “shouldn’t be in the portrait,” extending kindness which Jane has not experienced from her own family (Jane Eyre, Episode 1)..

Portraits in the Victorian era were seen as a way of displaying family dynamic as well as wealth. In 1846, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and her five children were painted by Fran’s Xavier Winterhaler. Winterhaler sought to present a portrait with “domestic harmony, peace and happiness, [and] tradition…” (Royal Collection Trust). In the same way, Jane’s aunt sought a portrait which might show their wealth and create a façade of happiness. Jane would no doubt ruin this façade with her drab clothing and sad demeanor. Her aunt and cousins wore colorful clothing, dressed in their best. Jane would never be a part of their family, even in portraits. The choice by the filmmaker to include this scene helps the viewer understand why Jane feels like an outcast in her childhood home. The scenes with her aunt and uncle’s home are short, which creates a need for quick understanding before the transition into the scene at Lowood.

Throughout the film, Jane has a distinct relationship with art. Art creates a sense of comfort for her. For example, in the opening scene, she imagines herself traveling through a desert from the novel, “Voyages and Travels, Illustrated.” The paintings in the novel are an escape from her current existence. The first kind words spoken to her in the film are from an artist. She uses art to remember Helen Burns, and the first scene where she is teaching includes painting/drawing with charcoal.

As Jane enters Rochester’s office, she observes insects, books, maps, pen and paper, but no portraits. She is unable to associate him with art, which makes him a mystery to her and ultimately more intriguing.  



Works Cited



Jane Eyre. Episode 1. BBC Worldwide Ltd, 2017.


The Royal Collection Trust. Royal Collections Enterprises, Ltd, https://www.rct.uk/collection/405413/the-royal-family-in-1846. Accessed 14 Mar. 2022.


Winterhalter, Franz Xavier. The Royal Family in 1846, 1846. https://www.rct.uk/collection/405413/the-royal-family-in-1846. Accessed 14 Mar 2022.

Kristina Gray
24 Aug 1846

Patrick Brontë’s Cataract Surgery

cataract surgeryOn 24 August 1846, Patrick Brontë had cataract surgery performed on his eye. Charlotte Brontë, who had accompanied her father to Manchester for the operation, used this time to begin writing the book that was to make her famous, Jane Eyre (1847). Image: Traditional position for cataract surgery. Courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London.


Mary Wilson Carpenter, “A Cultural History of Ophthalmology in Nineteenth-Century Britain”

David Rettenmaier
circa. 1849 to circa. 2011

A Brief Chronology of Jane Eyre Adaptations


Jane Eyre has been around for a very long time and has worked its way into the hearts of many. With this notoriety has also come a desire for many to see this coming-of-age novel brought to life on the big screen. There have been many attempts to capture the heart of Jane's story going back almost a hundred years; however, the "big screen" hasn't always existed.

Prior to the 1890s, when the first single-lens cameras were first coming onto the invention scene, a primary method of entertainment for the masses was plays. Jane Eyre was first adapted as a five-act play by John Brougham in 1849. Once the technology improved to record feature-length films, 1910 saw a black-and-white silent film version. A new adaptation was made in 1934 with dialogue, making it the first "talkie" adaptation of the novel. This would really kick start the history of adaptations of Jane Eyre since, from then on, every adaptation was in a recorded format featuring dialogue; these range from feature films to television mini-series to a webseries told like a video diary (Topping).

I have mixed feelings about the Jane Eyre adaptation viewed for class. On one hand, I think the actors are excellent and capture the spirits of the characters really well. The cinematography, however, irks me occasionally. I can see how Susanna White meant to use fast-paced shots to increase adrenaline and tension within scenes, but I felt disoriented and couldn't quite follow the action despite knowing what was happening from reading the novel. I do have more qualms in this vein with the first half from the previous week than the second episode viewed for this week; notably, as discussed in class, the shortening of her childhood stunted Jane's moral foundation and made it hard to truly gauge how much she grew in the second half of her life. On a positive note, I did like how viewers glimpsed Rochester's life without Jane while she was away visiting her Aunt. In the book, readers only saw Jane's hopes and dreams at the moment and had to find out through dialogue that Rochester did actually miss her during the interlude. By showing rather than telling, it offers viewers a chance to get to know Rochester without Jane's influence. It also utilizes time well, since it would have been boring to just watch Jane idly chat with her cousins for twenty minutes when the point would have been made fairly early in the scene.

Works Cited

Melanie Schlesser
Oct 1853 to Mar 1856

Crimean War

The Crimean War took place on its namesake -- the Crimean Peninsula, near the Black Sea -- and was fought over the course of three years (1853 - 1856). Sparked over religious tension in the area, the major players in the War were Britain, France, Turkey, and Sardinia, and Russia. The Russian czar sought to expand Russian influence over the Middle East, taking advantage of the decline of the Ottoman Empire to gain a foothold around the eastern Mediterranean. Britain and France, on the other hand, were concerned that this expansion of the Czar's control over this area endangered their own trade routes, which they fought to protect. Some other quick facts: there were an estimated 650,000 deaths; the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, first became famous for her treatment of British soldiers during this conflict; the Treaty of Paris ended the war in 1856 when Russia gave in so that Austria wouldn't enter the war, fighting alongside Britain and France; and the Crimean War is also considered one of the most technologically advanced wars due to the fact that soldiers used mass-produced rifles and armored assault vehicles (History.com).

The Crimean War is surprisingly quite important to the novel through its usage to establish the alternate history the novel utilizes and to help characterize Thursday. One of the novel's first tasks is to help orient the reader in the new timeline Fforde has created in The Eyre Affair and this happens best by including comments about reanimated dodos -- a la Jurassic Park -- and the extension of the Crimean War. The extension of the War also gives readers some insight into the governmental operations (Goliath treated like a state with representation in Parliament) and technological advancements (Stonk weapon) of England in this alternate timeline, since a lot of comments about Goliath tend to be segued via Thursday's inner discussions about the Crimean War.

The Crimean War is important to the characterization of Thursday due to her being a veteran and subsequently being against this war as a result of the destruction and loss of lives she witnessed. Her brother also died in this war, further adding to her dislike of the conflict and distrust of those running the country due to the fact that they are extensively profiting off the devastating loss of lives.

Works Cited

Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair: A Novel. Penguin Books, 2003.

History.com Editors. “Crimean War.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/topics/british-history/crimean-war.

Melanie Schlesser

The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857 Makes Divorce Legal in England

A large building with a clock tower. Houses of Parliament, London, England. [Between 1890 and 1900] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/92518894/.
Houses of Parliament, London, England. [Between 1890 and 1900] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/92518894/.

Chapters 26 and 27 of Jane Eyre cover Jane and Mr. Rochester’s failed attempt to get married as well as the backstory for Mr. Rochester’s hidden marriage with Bertha Mason, the woman he kept locked in the attic since returning to England from Jamaica. Though he had successfully kept the identity and relation to the woman a secret for fifteen years, Mr. Rochester admits this truth upon being prevented from marrying Jane, and he invites everyone to visit “Mrs. Poole’s patient, and [his] wife” who he was “cheated into espousing” (262). In trying to provide explanation and reassurance to Jane, Mr. Rochester reveals that doctors “had discovered that [his] wife was mad” and that he had entered the marriage under false pretenses regarding her age, her well-being, and the affect she would have on his life (275). Though there are larger implications for Mr. Rochester’s decision to lock his wife away for years, taking a closer look at the matrimonial and divorce laws of that time period and region may provide some helpful context for the absence of divorce as a solution in the novel. 

Having been published in 1847, Jane Eyre was constructed in a time that divorce was not an easily available option in England. According to the UK Parliament, “the only way of obtaining a full divorce which allowed re-marriage was by a Private Act of Parliament” before the mid-nineteenth century, and there were only 314 divorces from 1700 to 1857, mostly initiated by husbands (“Obtaining a divorce”). However, divorces were only granted for adultery, and they were mostly limited to the very wealthy due to its costly process (“Obtaining a divorce”). Since Bertha was unwell rather than engaged in an adulterous affair, Mr. Rochester could not legally and publicly end his marriage. 

It was not until 1857, ten years after the publication of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, that the Matrimonial Causes Act would pass and allow married couples to divorce through a special court while essentially keeping the grounds for divorce the same: men could divorce their wives for adultery “but a woman could only obtain a divorce if her husband was physically cruel, incestuous or bestial in addition to being adulterous” (Wood). However, Gail Savage notes that divorce remained an unlikely option for a large population since the court was located only in London, and while "expense barred most of the working class from the court,” the societal expectations and “the social stigma must have discouraged many of those who could have borne the cost” (103, 108). 

Had the Matrimonial Act of 1857 been passed sooner and had her circumstances been different, Bertha Mason could have potentially tried to end her marriage with Mr. Rochester for his adultery and physical cruelty if she wanted. The likelihood of this being obtainable, however, would still largely depend on her ability to prove it all, her wealth, and likely her well-being as well. Instead, she faced being married to a man that took ownership of her wealth and locked her away during a time where no laws had been made to fairly apply to both husbands and wives and where divorce was virtually impossible, especially when initiated by a woman. 

Works Cited 

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre, edited by Deborah Lutz, 4th ed. Norton, 2016. 

“Obtaining a Divorce.” UK Parliament, https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/private-lives/relationships/overview/divorce/. Accessed 21 January 2022. 

Savage, Gail L. “The Operation of the 1857 Divorce Act, 1860-1910 a Research Note.” Journal of Social History, vol. 16, no. 4, Oxford University Press, 1983, pp. 103–10, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3786994. 

Wood, Margaret. “Marriage and Divorce 19th Century Style.” Library of Congress,https://blos.loc.gov/law/2018/02/marriage-and-divorce-19th-century-style/. Accessed 21 January 2022.

Image Citation  

Houses of Parliament, London, England. [Between 1890 and 1900] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/92518894/.

Selena Mendoza

Victorian Era Insane Asylums

Winson Green Asylum

1858– Volume 12 of The Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology publishes an article called “Sussex Lunatic Asylum.” The volume, edited by L. Forbes Winslow was published about a decade after the time of Jane Eyre, and in the article, it details Victorian society and the progress made in how it treated people with mental illness (Mattingly). This contrasts with the words and actions of Mr. Rochester as he details how he has locked up his wife, Bertha Mason, because she is a “lunatic.” Instead, in the article, Winslow explains the “civility and forward-thinking with which the asylum is operated and overseen” (Mattingly). Additionally, the Victorian era sparked progression in how mental asylums were structured, to favor more humane conditions, as government policies ordered for better asylum conditions (Machayya). Winslow describes how the asylum tries to treat the patients like normal people with normal lives (Mattingly). 

This contrasts with how Rochester speaks of Bertha and her family, as well as how he treats her–by locking her up and hiring Grace Poole to care for her. Rochester describes to Jane, “‘My bride’s mother I had never seen: I understood she was dead. The honeymoon was over, I learned my mistake; she was only mad, and shut up in a lunatic asylum’” (Brontë 274). Here, we can see Rochester’s distaste for Bertha’s mom and her illness. He continues and says, “‘There was a younger brother, too, a complete dumb idiot’” (Brontë 274). This further shows the negative view held towards people with mental disorders. Perhaps in the time between Jane Eyre and the “Sussex Lunatic Asylum” was published, more regulations were put in place in order to fix conditions in insane asylums, or the characters in Jane Eyre are reflecting certain negative views, due to their class. 

However, in the Victorian era, female independence was also seen as a sign of madness (Moore). If a woman rejected the gender-based role of being domestic, the woman’s father or husband could have her locked in an asylum until she “conformed to more natural, feminine behavior” (Moore). So while this era could’ve eventually marked progression in asylum conditions, there were also misogynistic ideas that caused women to be locked up, who were simply the victims of oppression. This could align with Rochester’s ideas, especially since Bertha is his wife, and we’re not given other details on how she suddenly became “mad.”

Works Cited

Brontë Charlotte, and Deborah Lutz. Jane Eyre. W.W. Norton and Company, 2016. 

Machayya, Roshan. “Bertha Mason and Mental Illnesses- A Victorian Context With a Special Reference to Huntington's...” Medium, Medium, 25 Jan. 2019, https://roshanmachayya.medium.com/bertha-mason-and-mental-illnesses-a-vi...

Mattingly, Henry. “The Victorian Asylum and Jane Eyre.” The Victorian Web, 28 Jan. 2009, https://victorianweb.org/victorian/authors/bronte/cbronte/mattingly.html. 

Moore, Kate. “The American History of Silencing Women through Psychiatry.” Time, Time, 22 June 2021, https://time.com/6074783/psychiatry-history-women-mental-health/. 

Image Citation

“Winson Green Asylum. Birmingham UK.” VL McBeath, https://valmcbeath.com/victorian-era-lunatic-asylums/#.YesJzfXMIUs. Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

Alyssa Conner
1870 to 1882

Married Women's Property Acts

The Married Women's Property Act of 1870 changed the game for Victorian women. Prior to this act, any property and wages earned or inherited by a woman became her husband's resources; this was possible due to the fact that, under law, women became their husband's property after marriage. The 1870 Property Act changed this status quo by legalizing women's keep of: wages and investments separate from husbands', inheritance,  and rented or inherited property. The act also made both parents liable for their children.  While these were great steps towards women's individualization under law, the 1870 act still left married women financially dependent on their husbands, who still controlled a good portion of household finances and property. There was also a glaring lack of reciprocity to this act: it only applied to new marriages post-Act. Women married prior to 1870 still retained a complete lack of control over their own finances. 

The Married Women's Property Act of 1882 furthered women's autonomy by legalizing their ability to keep and retain property (own, buy, and sell) along with the money earned from said property. Women were also able to keep their wages and inheritance. Both acts were eventually repealed and replaced with more substantial laws.

Admittedly, these two acts don't impact Jane Eyre in any way whatsoever since they were passed decades after the book was published. What they do accomplish, however, is point out how much freedom Jane gave up in her marriage to Rochester. Not only was she signing up to be his nurse, but she essentially signed away all of the money she inherited from her uncle. Jane, herself, points out how liberating the inheritance could be, especially for her cousins, when discussing the news with St. John. And she does feel free for a time, a weight being lifted off her shoulders by not having to worry about money quite so much. Now the book doesn't expressly discuss the financial issues; the most readers are told in these last couple of chapters is that Rochester considers himself poor with the loss of Thornfield Hall. If he does get Jane's money, as is likely since their marriage took place before laws were in place securing the fortune as hers, that would certainly lift them up a bit from any chance of poverty Rochester fears.

Works Cited

Loudermelk, Shana. “Married Women's Property Act, 1870 and 1882.” Towards Emancipation?, 2019, hist259.web.unc.edu/marriedwomenspropertyact/.

Melanie Schlesser

The Commercialization of Mascara

Throughout the novel The Flight of Gemma Hardy, we see Gemma make references to the make-up that other women around her wear. She pays careful attention to these smaller details and often remarks on them, especially when she’s young. When she is saying good-bye to her aunt, she describes her aunt as having “dark crumbs of make-up dott[ing] the creases around her eyes. Perhaps Veronica had lectured her too about her eyelashes” (Livesey 46). We get other hints about Gemma’s feelings around the commercial use of make-up through Gemma’s careful and critical look at the women around her. We see it especially as she remarks how it, along with their developing bodies and fashion, makes her cousins appear older than they are. It’s almost like Gemma is sad that with the power of make-up, her cousins are able to appear more mature, whereas she looks “plain” and young. 

However, once at Blackbird Hall, she is seen using mascara that she purchased from the Kirkwall department store. She applies mascara after she is called to speak to Mr. Sinclair, in preparation for looking put together for her employer. She remarks how she looks by saying, “I was surprised by how serious I looked, and how grown-up. I could easily be nineteen, I thought. Even older” (Livesey 178). The first commercial and widely available mascara to be invented came out in 1872 and was invented by Eugene Rimmel (Lachance Shandrow para 4). However, mascara and other make-up did not become more “mainstream” until the 1920s, when make-up “became a mark of wealth and status, and emphasizing physical features…”; make-up turned into more of a “necessity” that the everyday woman could indulge in (Matthias para 8). 

Knowing this, Gemma’s relationship and her use of make-up makes sense. Her aunt and cousins used make-up as a way to mark their maturity and wealth, the latter something Gemma didn’t have. However, now that she has been employed and must act older than her age, she indulges in mascara in order to enhance her appearance. We see Gemma go from someone who is critical of her aunt and cousins’ use of cosmetics, to someone who falls to the developing pressures of society and make-up becoming a necessity. Gemma applies mascara before meeting Mr. Sinclair in order to be respected and appear older and more serious to her employer. We see the values of society reflected in Gemma’s character as she moves between different classes and situations and adapts accordingly. 

Works Cited

Lachance Shandrow, Kim. “The Greasy, Glamorous Rise of Mascara.” Entrepreneur, 19 Nov. 2015, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251978. Accessed 18 Feb. 2022.

Livesey, Margot. The Flight of Gemma Hardy. HarperCollins Publishers, 2012.

Matthias, Meg. "Why Did We Start Wearing Makeup?". Encyclopedia Britannica, Invalid Date, https://www.britannica.com/story/why-did-we-start-wearing-makeup. Accessed 18 February 2022.

Image Citation

“Rimmel French Volume Mascara.” The Maybelline Story, 16 July 2018, https://www.maybellinebook.com/2018/07/maybelline-was-first-mascara-in-a....

Nicole Conner

"The History of Twins" by Francis Galton

The character of Eshton, a house guest of Rochester’s, in Susanna White’s adaptation of Jane Eyre seems to have a great deal of interest in studying twins. Throughout the series, he is seen constantly questioning the Dent twins. Eshton perhaps plays a role in showing the types of studies that were occurring during this time period. One of the most notorious twin studies conducted was by Francis Galton. Galton published his article “The History of Twins” in 1875 and it is said to “represent[..] the first detailed attempt to use the phenomenon of twinning to estimate the relative powers of nature and nurture” (Waller). The debacle between nature vs. nurture was an important argument during the 1800s and continues to be so. The question was whether who we are as people lies more in the genetics we were born with or how we were raised and the experiences we had in life. Galton’s study focused on researching this question through the use of twins.

Galton ultimately concluded from his study “that nature has a larger effect than nurture on development” (Bahjat). Ultimately, he believed that the way twins were born was more determining in the people they would become. This means that if a set of twins were born to be similar, they would continue to be similar even if they were raised differently, and vice versa (Bahjat). This study seems to support the character of Eshton’s beliefs in the film. He seems to believe strongly in the idea of nature over nurture, especially when it comes to the twins he studies. He poses the question to Rochester as he is leaving: “Well, you don’t think it possible that two minds can be so in tune that they communicate across the country, and call out to each other across space and time?” (Jane Eyre 17:10-19). However, this comment seems to extend past the idea of twins, and more closely focus on the relationship between Rochester and Jane.

This quote appears to be foreshadowing for when Jane hears Rochester's call out to her while she is staying with St. John. As we later learn, Rochester indeed did call out to her and it wasn’t all in her head. The metaphor of being “twins” is used continuously throughout the film in reference to Rochester and Jane, specifically by Rochester himself. He remarks to Jane, “And you and I, it’s like we’re a pair of Eshton’s twins. Bound together in some unwordly way, sharing a spirit we’re so alike” (Jane Eyre 28:35-46). From this and from Galton’s study in 1875, we can see the popular question of nature vs. nurture being applied directly to Jane and Rochester. We might even add class as a factor to all of this; despite Rochester and Jane being raised very differently and going through different experiences, what they were born with (their very nature) is what makes them so similar. Though not actually twins, there is a theme interwoven here that is saying that even with all their physical differences, Jane and Rochester have similar “spirits.” In this way, it is supporting Galton’s conclusion that nature has a larger effect on who Jane and Rochester are than nurture (how they were raised) and this is what connects them, despite all their class and age differences. 

Works Cited

Bahjat, Mudhaffar, "“The History of Twins, As a Criterion of the Relative Powers of Nature and Nurture” (1875), by Francis Galton". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2017-12-19). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/13029.

Jane Eyre. Directed by Susanna White, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 24 September 2006.

Waller, John C. “Commentary: The birth of the twin study—a commentary on Francis Galton’s ‘The History of Twins.’” International Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 41, no. 4, August 2012, https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dys100. Accessed 19 March 2022. 

Image Citation

Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), FRS. 1860. Historic England Archive. English Heritage, Down House. https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/sir-francis-galton-18221911-frs-194337

Nicole Conner
18 Jul 1918

Romanov Family Executed

The Romanov family ruled over Russia from 1613 until 1917. During the last leader, Nicholas II’s, rule Russia was involved in a time of near constant war, between the Russo-Japanese war and World War I. This led to economic unrest in the country, with food scarcity and extreme discontent from soldiers and civilians. Nicholas abdicated the throne in 1917 in the face of revolution and a civil war. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, assumed power soon after (History).

On July 16th, 1918, during a clash between forces in Yekaterinburg, it was decided by the Bolsheviks that the entire Romanov family would be executed. The family and their servants were lined up and posed for a family photo by force. Then, the family was executed by firing squad, with any survivors searched out stabbed to death after the smoke from the guns had cleared (History). Erin Blakemore describes this as a carefully planned attack, saying, “For days, the Romanovs’ Bolshevik captors had been preparing the house for the murder, including stocking up on benzene with which to burn the corpses and sulfuric acid with which to maim them beyond recognition” (Blakemore). Rumors circulated afterward of members of the family having escaped the attack. According to the History.com Editors, “The Crown Prince Alexei and one Romanov daughter were not accounted for, fueling the persistent legend that Anastasia, the youngest Romanov daughter, had survived the execution of her family” (History). There were also similar suspicions of the only son of Nicholas II, Alexis, surviving the execution. However, tangible proof to suggest there were any survivors has yet to be discovered.

From the very beginning of Jasper Fforde’s, The Eyre Affair, the audience is thrust into a world both unfamiliar and absurd. We are introduced to science-fiction levels of weird, with Chrono-Guards, feuding timelines, and a father with, “a face that could stop a clock” literally (Fforde 3). With little to hang onto to center us in this novel, Fforde provides a few timeline revisions that attempts to help the reader become situated to the difference of this world. The most obvious and helpful, perhaps, was the inclusion of “Czar Romanov Alexei IV” (Fforde 9). As this novel takes place in the 1980s, it is likely that this refers to the last son of Nicholas II, who was 13 at the time of the execution (Encyclopedia Britannica). This could imply that either the son actually did manage to escape the murders, or that they never happened in the first place. Regardless, this significant revision in the real world timeline helps the audience become acclimated to the weird, fictional world Thursday operates in.

Looking into the history of the Romanov family, it is also interesting to consider the amount of war connected to Nicholas II and the PTSD Thursday deals with as a veteran of the Crimean war. While not directly connected, there seems to be a theme in Thursday’s world of war and bloodshed, like that tied to the Romanov family and Nicholas II’s rule. This may be worthwhile to keep in mind throughout the reminder of the novel.

Works Cited:

Blakemore, Erin. “Why Czar Nicholas II and the Romanovs Were Murdered” History.com. 29 March 2019. https://www.history.com/news/romanov-family-murder-execution-reasons. Accessed 10 April 2022.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopedia. "Alexis Prince of Russia" Encyclopedia Britannica. 21 August 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alexis-prince-of-Russia-1904-1918. Accessed 10 April 2022.

Family Nicholas II of Russia ca. 1914. Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Family_Nicholas_II_of_Russia_ca._1914.jpg. Accessed 10 April 2022.

Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Penguin Books, 2001.

History.com Editors. “Romanov Family Executed, Ending A 300-Year Imperial Dynasty” History.com. 13 January 2021. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/romanov-family-executed. Accessed 10 April 2022.



Lilith Yurkin

Asthma Research Council

1927—Asthma Research Council created--”aimed to promote research into the prevalence, causes, and treatment of asthma” (Jackson 121). 

In the beginning chapters of the novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Gemma’s friend Miriam suffers from asthma attacks, which eventually result in her death. According to Asthma: The Biography, asthma has been studied for centuries. In the past, many scientists and doctors believed sufferers of asthma simply needed a change in climate to help prevent attacks. Although a change helped, many people still died from the disease. After Miriam’s death, Sister Cullen mentions had Miriam “been in a sanatorium when she first developed asthma; if someone had made sure she had the best possible diet, plenty of rest, and cheerful company,” she might not have died” (Livesey 117). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a sanatorium is “a place to which , on account of favourable climatic and other conditions, invalids resort for the improvement of their health” (sanitorium). During the 1950s, advancements were still being made in the study of asthma, and many people still believed it could be managed by moving to a warmer climate. Here, Sister Cullen also mentions if Miriam had “cheerful company,” she might have survived. Gemma tried to be this for Miriam, and in her death, Miriam’s face glowed with the friendship they shared. The same is true in Jane Eyre. Both Jane and Gemma sought to comfort their friends in death. Their kindness reveals a character trait which will continue throughout both novels—a willingness to serve others. Their willingness to do so will enhance their relationship with other characters and becoming a driving force in their decisions. Jane Eyre, for example, is willing to serve others in her position as governess. She is also willing to provide care for Mr. Rochester when she discovers he has been wounded in the fire at Thornfield.  

Asthma is defined as “a disease of respiration, characterized by intermittent paroxysms of difficult breathing, with a wheezing sound, a sense of constriction in the chest, cough, and expectoration” (asthma). In the novel, Miriam often has asthma attacks where she needs an inhaler to help ease her discomfort and steady her breathing. According to Asthma: The Biography, physicians and scientists have used many different remedies to treat the disease. The “first electric vacuum cleaner” was designed to help prevent asthma attacks triggered by dust (Jackson 117). Today, asthma is treated using “anti-inflammatory agents...bronchodilators...and leukotriene receptor antagonists” (asthma).  

"asthma, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2021, www.oed.com/view/Entry/12143. Accessed 14 February 2022.

"Asthma." Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Mar. 2017. academic-eb-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/levels/collegiate/article/asthma/9973. Accessed 13 Feb. 2022.

asthma . image. Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 13 Nov. 2021. academic-eb-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/levels/collegiate/assembly/view/59903. Accessed 13 Feb. 2022.

Jackson, Mark. Asthma: the Biography : The Biography, Oxford University Press USA - OSO, 2009. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/coastal/detail.action?docID=472302.

Livesey, Margot. The Flight of Gemma Hardy. New York, HarperCollins Publishers, 2012.

"sanatorium, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2021, www.oed.com/view/Entry/170455. Accessed 14 February 2022.


Kristina Gray
1929 to 1977

Marriage Reform in Scotland

Marriage laws in Scotland changed throughout its history. Before the 19th century, the legal age to marry was 14 for boys and 12 for girls, without the caveat for parental consent before the couple is 21, as is the case for England (Leslie). The lack of this statute encouraged young couples to cross into Scotland to elope, rather than waiting a few years or getting permission to marry according to English law (Britannica). 

With ages settled, Scotland also recognized two different varieties of marriage. The first type was considered to be a “regular” marriage; these were unions that took place in houses of worship. The second, and more convoluted, marriage type was considered “irregular.” There were three different ways a marriage could legally be conducted outside of a religious ceremony: per verba de praesenti, declaration of consent to be wed made in front of witnesses; per verba de futuro subsequente copula, a promise for future marriage, without current consent, followed by sexual relations; and marriage by cohabitation, which was more of a societal assumption than a marriage license, though it did make it easier to obtain legal permission to marry after a few years (“Irregular Marriage”).

A majority of law changes took place in the early 1900s: a 1929 law raised the legal age of marriage to 16 for both men and women, still without parental permission (which continues to this day); 1939 saw the repeal of two forms of irregular marriage (per verba de praesenti and per verba de futuro subsequente copula); and an amendment in 1977 abolished the 21-day residency for marriage, bringing back a lot of eloping couples to Scottish border villages from England (Leslie).

I was interested in researching Scottish marriage laws based on a conversation between Gemma and Mr. Sinclair in the middle of chapter 21: 

“‘How old are you?’ he said. ‘Eighteen.’ ‘Eighteen.’ He shook his head. ‘People will call me a cradle snatcher.’ ‘Is that worse than being a gold digger?’ ‘Yes, because I should be old enough to know better. I would not want anyone, especially you, to say that I had taken advantage of you’” (Livesey 241).

Prior to looking up what the term cradle snatcher meant, I searched for the age of consent for marriage; this turned out to be 16 years old for both genders, so thinking that “cradle” referred to a child was a dead end. According to the OED, a cradle snatcher is “one who weds, or is enamoured of, a much younger person” (“cradle”). This information, combined with the knowledge that the age of consent is very high, reveals that the relationship between Gemma and Hugh doesn’t have any legal barriers. If anything, the obstacles are purely from a societal point of view. This impact is also noted by Gemma herself through her anxieties about the relationship, exemplified on page 232 by the list of comparisons she writes down regarding herself and Hugh of why their relationship would never work.  

It also lends credence to why she would have taken his lies so detrimentally: as if fate is giving her reasons why she should be ashamed of having relations with a much older man. These lies, which don’t involve a secret wife hidden in Mr. Sinclair’s attic, push Gemma away. From my perspective, I don’t quite understand why she should run away from him rather than discuss her feelings regarding the truth. But, if I place myself in her shoes knowing that such a large age difference isn’t viewed kindly, I would probably use it as an excuse to distance myself. Gemma is very shaken when she learns of the switched identities and is very frazzled; I read her in these moments as having a similar thought pattern that I mentioned for myself if I were in her situation. Her running away also shows her morality, whereas Jane’s decision to run away stemmed more from societal and legal standards rather than simply personal preference and morality.

Having the background of legal marriages and laws surrounding marriages, I view Hugh and Gemma’s relationship with a lot more scorn from a societal perspective. I also have a lot more empathy for Gemma knowing how hard she can be on herself for how she feels. Still, at least she doesn’t have to worry about legal issues like him already being married.


Works Cited

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Gretna Green". Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 May. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/place/Gretna-Green. Accessed 20 February 2022.

"cradle, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2021, www.oed.com/view/Entry/43687. Accessed 20 February 2022.

“Irregular Marriage and the Kirk Session in Scotland.” ScotlandsPeople, 18 Oct. 2021, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/article/irregular-marriage-and-kirk-session-s...

Leslie, Calum. “How Has Scotland's Law on Marriage Evolved over the Centuries?” BBC News, BBC, 4 Feb. 2014, www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26019306. 

Livesey, Margot. The Flight of Gemma Hardy. New York, Harper Perennial,  2012.


Melanie Schlesser
circa. The end of the month Summer 1938

Child Labor Laws

In Patrick Park’s Jane Re, Sang owns a grocery store. From an early age, Jane is set to work for her uncle along with her cousins. Jane is singled out compared to the others by always doing something wrong – hanging toilet paper the wrong way, not doing geometrical math fast enough (33), but also by working more than the others. It’s not until Jane learns about child labor laws that she harbors anger for being put to work as a child. Jane’s thoughts in this revelation are, “...and we’d learn about child-labor laws at school, I’d get angry at Sang. That was against the law! You should go to jail! Then he’d snap back - “Then who gonna buy your food? Who gonna pay your clothes?” (34). The audience learns that Sang is cheap from the McDonald’s mouse situation, which explains why he takes advantage of “free” family labor. While the child-labor laws were after Jane Eyre (1800s), they were created before The Flight of Gemma Hardy (1950s/60s), and they were well established by Jane Re (2000, part I estimation of 1 year prior to 9/11). The child-labor laws were started in 1938 to help children not harm their health, education, and/or well-being (Wage and Hour Division). All fields of work have different age restrictions and guidelines, and while Jane had feelings that Sang should be in jail for making her work – she did have an education, food to eat, and a place to live which is why nothing would happen to Sang even if Jane had reported to the police. For children to work, there are specific guidelines to know, “Federal law states that 14-15 year olds cannot work over 8 hours a day, with no more than 3 hours on a school day, and over 40 hours a week, with no more than 18 hours per week while in school. Minors are also not allowed to work before 7am or after 7pm respectively” (OSHA). This is important to the text of Jane Re as she wasn’t even the minimal age of 14 when she began working for her uncle, she recalls memories from eight years old. All Jane knew was school, going to work at Food, then going home to more complaining from her uncle. While some may think that what Sang did was unfair to Jane, others may see what he did to keep food on the table and lights on in the house. The biggest boom surrounding NYC was in the late 90’s for the economy prior to 9/11 happening, but even with an economic boom, it doesn’t mean that local stores didn’t suffer as NYC / Queens / Brooklyn were expensive places to live considering the population by the year 2000 exceeded two million people (2). All of this is essential in understanding why Sang may have been the way he was in part I of Jane Re, but also to recognize that his actions were wrong in overworking minors – going against child-labor laws. 

Works Cited:

Bram, Jason. "New York City's Economy before and after September 11." Current Issues in Economics and Finance Second District Highlights, vol. 9, no. 2, Feb. 2003, pp. 1-2. 

Child Labor Laws. Progressive Era Photo Exhibit, weebly, progressiveeraexhibition.weebly.com/child-labor-laws.html. Accessed 27 Mar. 2022. 

OSHA. "Child Labor Laws - Facts and Misconceptions." OSHA Education Center, American Safety Council,     www.oshaeducationcenter.com/articles/child-labor-laws/ lgr=f527d12c-333d-4a07-82c2-0f927bf2131e. Accessed 27 Mar. 2022. 

Wage and Hour Division. "Child Labor." U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/child-labor. Accessed 27 Mar. 2022. 

Wikipedia contributors. "Timeline of Queens." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 Mar. 2022. Web. 27 Mar. 2022. 

Hope Smith
1954 to 2020

Popularization of Plastic Surgery in South Korea

A plastic surgery advertisement using emoticon symbols to portray before and after results; located in Seoul, South Korea
Plastic Surgery Advertisement in 2012 Seoul; Courtesy of Flickr/David Woo

In Patricia Park’s Re Jane, Jane travels from the United States to South Korea upon the death of her grandfather. Having decided to stay in South Korea, Jane travels to a job interview and points out a subway advertisement that “shouted, BECOME THE PERFECT BEAUTY! with side-by-side pictures of a woman’s face,” and she realizes that it was for a plastic-surgery clinic, going on to note that one picture “did not look like a Korean face at all” and had “big, round, double-lidded eyes” (Park 162). Although Re Jane takes place in the early 2000s, this particular moment sheds light on the complex history and relationship South Korea has with the normalization of plastic surgery, specifically the double-eyelid procedure.

The popularization of this procedure, also known as blepharoplasty, in Korea dates back to the 1950s, particularly the years surrounding the Korean War and the U.S. military’s presence in the country (Kurek). Although scholars note that double-eyelid operations were already being developed and performed by surgeons throughout the late 1800s in Japan, many studies point to Dr. David Ralph Millard as “the one to revolutionize and popularize the operation” during his yearlong visit to Korea as U.S. Marine Corps’ chief plastic surgeon in 1954 (Kurek). According to Kurek, Millard provided reconstructive surgery for wounded soldiers and developed cleft palate treatment while also treating many patients who were women; he later published two articles on his Asian eye operation in 1955 and 1964, both of which seem to suggest an aim to westernize Asian beauty standards and the faces of his Korean patients. During the 1960s, more clinics throughout Korea offered the procedure, and by the 1990s, Western media outlets released stories about the industry’s growth as Seoul transformed into the “worldwide mecca of plastic surgery” (Kurek).


A woman points to the eyes on before-and-after photos included in an advertisement for plastic surgery in South Korea


Although blepharoplasties seem to “utilize Western ideals to reverse the effects of the Asian face” and are currently sitting alongside rhinoplasties as some of the most prominent operations in South Korea, Sophie Jin notes that the continued prevalence of plastic surgery can be traced back to Korea’s culture and the tradition of physiognomy, “where facial features are thought to be linked to one’s fortune or character.” With Re Jane taking place in the early 2000s, readers witness the significance of these ideologies as they pervade not only through Jane’s observations of the advertisements littering metro stations but also the comments she receives on her appearance in social interactions with friends, family, and potential employers. After having a few drinks, Jane’s friend, Monica, claims that Jane is “so lucky” because she “has the white skin, big eyes, big nose, small chin, long legs” (Park 187). Monica emphasizes features commonly associated with Western influence and assigns Jane with fortune for having them. Later in Park’s novel, Emo takes Jane shopping then nods with approval at Jane’s makeover, telling her that “if [her] Emo looked like [her],” she’d be married (187).

Much like Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Jane Re sheds light on Jane’s experience navigating the pervasive culture of beauty surrounding her in Korea. Having her perception of her own physical appearance and her ability to succeed influenced by these pressures serve as a glimpse into South Korea and its popularization of cosmetic procedures, something that in recent years, according to Elise Hu, has received pushback that resulted in Seoul Metro announcing that it will ban plastic-surgery-related advertisements at its stations.

Works Cited

Hu, Elise. "In Seoul, A Plastic Surgery Capital, Residents Frown on Ads for Cosmetic Procedure." NPR, 5 Feb. 2018, https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/02/05/581765974/in-seoul-a-p.... Accessed 1 April 2022.

Jin, Sophie. "Plastic's Past: The Complex Historical and Cultural Influences Underlying South Korea's Plastic Surgery Phenomenon." Synergy: The Journal of Contemporary Asian Studies, 7 Oct. 2020, https://utsynergyjournal.org/2020/10/07/plastics-past-the-complex-histor..., Accessed 1 April 2022.

KSU MAIGC. "South Korea, MAIGC'14." Flickr, 11 May 2014, https://flic.kr/p/pk6eBR. Accessed 3 April 2022.

Kurek, Laura. "Eyes Wide Cut: The American Origins of Korea's Plastic Surgery Craze." Wilson Quarterly, 2015, https://www.wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/transitions/eyes-wide-cut-the-.... Accessed 1 April 2022.

Park, Patricia. Re Jane. Penguin Books, 2016.

Woo, David. "Plastic Surgery Advertisement Seoul." Flickr, 6 Mar. 2012, https://flic.kr/p/bnTYJf. Accessed 3 April 2022.


Selena Mendoza
3 Nov 1957 to 19 Aug 1960

Soviet Space Dogs: Laika, Strelka, and Belka

A Romanian postage stamp designed with image of Laika, dog launched into space
Laika, dog launched into space on stamp from Rumania Posta Romania, 1959

Throughout Margot Livesey’s The Flight of Gemma Hardy, the narrator consistently points to the changes taking place throughout Scotland and surrounding areas—from post-WWII attitudes to changing fashions to newly-built suspension bridges and more. Some of the most notable events are mentioned by Gemma Hardy as she recalls her teacher’s enthusiasm for space travel. Miss Seftain shares a poem about Laika, has her students write letters to Strelka and Belka, and toasts the night sky with the success of Yuri Gagarin’s orbit in space (127). These events stem from the Soviet Union’s efforts to advance in the Space Race initially started in the late-1950s with the United States, their Cold War rival.

Though WWII ended in 1945, the spirit of expansionism was on the rise not long after and continued in other widely-covered competitions and wars like the Cold War and associated Space Race; Space exploration became another focus for both nations in their attempts to successfully prove their dominance and superiority, both economic and technological, over the another (“The Space Race”). Livesey’s inclusion of the Soviet space dogs not only provides readers with a concrete sense of time but also an idea of the societal development taking place in the world—media reached wider audiences, countries gained more power, and technology advanced at an ever-increasing pace. Although the United States made progress in their space travel efforts, it seemed that the Soviets were consistently ahead in the first few years. While Laika was sent into orbit on the Sputnik 2 space capsule in 1957, Strelka and Belka made history only three years later on August 19, 1960 as they successfully traveled space and returned to Earth alive after 17 orbits; Less than a year later in 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the planet (Hollingham). With widespread coverage of the race already established, the Soviet space dogs gained international fame and were plastered on newspapers, stamps, and postcards, thus explaining Miss Seftain’s excitement over in Scotland (Hollingham).

Livesey’s incorporation of these monumental moments in history allow readers to contextualize and imagine the time period The Flight of Gemma Hardy’s narrator grows up in. From the moment of her birth, Gemma’s life is defined by the changing landscapes surrounding her. War, the death of her parents and uncle, fashion, and infrastructure are just a few consistently referenced throughout. Earlier in the novel, “the great tide of changes sweeping postwar Britain” is mentioned, referencing the end of World War II, and shortly after the mention of the space dogs, Gemma reflects on the changing nature of Claypoole (66, 129). With the late 1950s and early 1960s serving as a time of rapid transformations and technological advancements, Miss Seftain’s fascination with the Space Race sheds light on the ever-shifting nature of society before, during, and after times of war and empire-building not only where Gemma is located in Scotland but worldwide as well. It also highlights just how interconnected the world was in comparison to the 1800s, the time period of Jane Eyre, thanks to the technology developed and spread since.

Works Cited

Hollingham, Richard. “The Stray Dogs that Led the Space Race.” BBC, 1 Nov. 2017, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20171027-the-stray-dogs-that-paved-the-way-to-the-stars. Accessed 11 Feb. 2022.

Livesey, Margot. The Flight of Gemma Hardy. HarperCollins, 2012.

Neozoon. 2009. Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Posta_Romana_-_1959_-_Laika_120_B.jpg. Accessed 13 Feb. 2022.

“The Space Race.” History, 22 Feb. 2020, https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/space-race. Accessed 11 Feb. 2022.

Selena Mendoza
circa. 1960

Commercial Airlines

In Margot Livesey’s retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the flight of Gemma Hardy, Livesey creates several binary’s using flight from juxtaposing natural elements like birds to manufactured elements like aircrafts as juxtaposing the idea of running away or heading towards something. Livesey’s use of creating a binary out of flight is explicit when Gemma takeoffs to Iceland to find her family. Livesey writes, “Since childhood, I had waved whenever I saw a plane pass over-head[...] I had witnesses half-a-dozen of the huge machines rush down the runway and rise into the sky[...] My plane hurtled over the tarmac it seemed impossible that even the most vigorous engine could lift all these people” (405). In this passage, the reader is met with Gemma's flight's internal and external journey. It can be difficult for the reader to discern whether Gemma is running away from Archie or heading towards her family. When this passage is put in context within the time period and advanced technological breakthroughs of the early 1960s, it is clear that Gemma is not running away but is moving in a more positive direction.

This history of aviation goes as far back as the fifth century with the creation of kites in China, but the earliest designs for man-powered flight has its roots in the fifteenth century with Leonardo Da Vinci (History of Aviation for Aviation History Month: Spartan College). However, it wouldn’t be until 1903, when the Wright brothers successfully flew, that man would achieve flight and start the modern aviation period (Bilstein). In 1914, airplanes were still far away from their modern-day jet plans, but the United States would see the first commercial airline in that year, the initial feedback from customers where the planes were too loud (History of Aviation for Aviation History Month: Spartan College).  World War I would spur on the golden age of aviation, with rapid improvements to the advancements of air travel. During the interwar period (1918-1939), aviation would see some prominent figures emerge like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, who would gain renown for achievements in aviation (Bilstein). During this time, commercial airlines like Pan am, and TWA airlines began to crop, modeling their airplanes after luxury cruise ships. The first airlines were costly, and typically only the wealthy would fly (Watson).

At the start of World War II, aviation would continue to evolve but much slower. For example, developments for the Jet engine were delayed in the 1940s to focus on making improvements to propeller-based warplanes (Watson). It wouldn’t be till 1952 when the world saw its first commercial jet plane, the British De-Havilland DH 106 Comet. Its jet engine and pressurized cabin significantly reduced the noise while traveling, driving up the demand for travel. The plane suffered from several issues and was surpassed by a newer model, the Comet 4, and other commercial jet planes like the Boeing 707-121, which could hold 189 passengers (Watson). These planes would then kick off the Jet age in the early 1960s, with airline companies worldwide trying to increase both the size and speed of their aircraft to keep up with demand. As a result, the jet age would yield what we consider to be the modern-day airplane (Bilstein).  

            When looking back to Gemma Hardy, the lens of aviation history helps explain much of Gemma’s astonishment while flying Iceland, as she was doing something very few people had done. Given the rapid advancements from the original airplane in 1903 to the modern airplane in the early 1960s, the ability to fly was seen as a pinnacle of human achievement well through the twentieth century. In addition, because flight represented human achievement, much like how the flight was considered a step forward for technology, Gemma flying can be seen as a step forward for women’s independence, as her choice to fly is predicated on her agency and free from the influence of either Archie or Sinclair.

Work Cited

Bilstein, Roger E. “The Aeronautical Infrastructure.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/technology/history-of-flight/The-aeronautical-infrastructure.

“De Havilland Comet 3 & 4.” BAE Systems | International, https://www.baesystems.com/en/heritage/de-havilland-comet-3---4.

 “History of Aviation for Aviation History Month: Spartan College.” Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, 26 Oct. 2021, https://www.spartan.edu/news/history-of-aviation/.

Livesey, Margot. Flight of Gemma Hardy - A Novel. Harpercollins Publishers Inc, 2012.

Watson, Stephanie. “Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery”. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jan. 2022 .” Encyclopedia.com, Encyclopedia.com, 27 Feb. 2022, https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-....

Sean Forte

Construction of the Twin Towers Begins/Sang comes to New York

Twin Towers, World Trade Center
Twin Towers, New York

In the novel Re Jane, Jane’s Uncle Sang mentions, “‘everytime I walking by construction site [of the Twin Towers], they building one more story…always feel little bit like we growing up together” (Park 154). Based on this information, he immigrated to Queens on or around 1966, when the first Twin Tower was constructed. The Twin Towers are significant to the story–they bring Jane and Sang back together in the second half, and they also represent Sang’s change into the man he is in the story. Although Sang is hard on Jane, he is distraught when he cannot find her after 9/11. 

Sang and Jane’s relationship is strained due to Sang’s insistence that Jane focus on being a “good” member of the family–in other words, he is extremely traditional, where Jane pushes those boundaries. In Korean culture, the family is the driving force behind all decisions. Sang, for example, gives up his dreams of going to Seoul University to follow his father’s orders and go to America. He raises Jane even though he knows she is almost an outcast in his culture–frowned upon for having mixed blood. 

According to Kyeyoung Park, the first Koreans to settle in New York “settle[d] in Queens” (9). When Jane asks why her grandfather would choose to send Sang overseas, Emo tells her, “it takes a certain kind of person to go through immigration…only the strongest can pull themselves back together again” (Park 240). Under the Immigration Act of 1965 required immigrants “have no adverse effect on wages and working conditions” (K. Park 13). Therefore, Sang’s intelligence and willingness to work were traits which worked in his favor. His father knew he would work hard, and he could withstand leaving his family behind. Emo’s answer was twofold–Sang had the mental and emotional strength to start over in a country where he knew no one and had no family to help him. 

Sang’s strength in coming to America reflects Jane’s strength in coming to Korea. Jane, facing cultural criticism and new social norms, continues to overcome each adversary in her way. Sang, although he is condescending and unmoving at times, prepared Jane for her time in Korea. Much like Sang, she had to learn to navigate her new country, advocating for herself, and continuing her strong ties with family. It is Sang’s example of strength and love which helps Jane find herself–ultimately leading up to the end of her relationship with Ed, and her independence in the end of the novel. 

Park, Kyeyoung. “Korean Migration to America: Dependent Development and ‘American Fever.’” The Korean American Dream: Immigrants and Small Business in New York City, Cornell University Press, 1997, pp. 7–35, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctv5rf2p7.7.

Park, Patricia. Re Jane. New York, New York. Penguin Publishing Group, 2015.

World Trade Center . undefined. Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Mar. 2022. academic-eb-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/levels/collegiate/assembly/view/180491. Accessed 3 Apr. 2022.

Kristina Gray
Apr 1971

Construction of Seokchon Lake

In Patricia Park's Re Jane, a reimaging of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Park emphasizes the theme of traditional values vs. the modern as she renders Jane in a constant struggle to come to an understanding with her uncle, Sang. As Jane is pressured to take on new language, discourse, and mentalities by both Beth and Ed of the Mazer-Farley family, we see the rift between her and her Uncle's traditional values grow larger. Moments of reflection of both environmental and pop culture changes — often told through Sang's or Ed's dialogue — aim to highlight this rift between "the old" and "the new." During Jane's time dating Changhoon in Korea, it's mentioned that "thirty years ago" Seokchon Lake (a romantic date spot for the couple) "didn't even exist" (Patricia Park 191). The history of this lake and the surrounding park is a reference to the rapid modernization of South Korea in the 1970s and is highly representative of the vast differences between Jane and many of the older characters in the story.

            In the 1960s, South Korea under new control underwent rapid economic and industrial growth. The time, known as the "Miracle on the Han River," is primarily attributed to several infrastructural changes (creation of new roadways, water systems, and sewage systems) that occurred to bolster the city and its citizens (Cho and Kwon). Of these changes, the Han River in Seoul, Korea was divided to accommodate new roadways and structures. In its division, Seokchon Lake was singled out and (eventually) targeted as a site for beautification. Not only was the conception of the lake a turning point in Seoul's history, but so too was the years of modification following. While it later became a large site for tourism, it took the city several years to beautify it — the primary motive being the anticipation of the Seoul Olympic games which were forthcoming in 1988 (Moonho Park). In the lake's earlier years (1970s) the quality of both the water and surrounding area was poor, suffering from sewage pollution and limited recreational space. Then, in the early 1980s, the lake's potential was fully realized with the construction of a surrounding park and accompanying recreational structures ("Seokchon Lake"). Today it's recognized as a major tourist attraction and an interest site for ecology restoration efforts (Moonho Park; "Seokchon Lake").

            The brief but important emphasis of this lake in Park's novel suggests an inclination towards the "modern," or the mentality that Jane encompasses. As the text allows us to recognize a point of comparison between Jane and her elders, the history of the lake — that which favors the modern-day version as opposed to its older state — emphasizes the importance and advantageous nature of new age thinking. As a secondary function, it allows us to visually picture the environments that have informed the different mentalities held by Jane and her older family members. Those, like Big Uncle, who remember the lake before it was and the conditions that accompanied it, are haunted by a cautiousness that those who only know the lake as it is now can never understand. It is the same discrepancy emphasized by Sang's confusion of "old" vs. "new" Korea from earlier chapters.            


Works Cited

Cho, Wonjun and Kwon, Youngsang. "The Era of Seoul's rapid growth (1960's–1970's): The role of ex-military elite mayors." Cities, vol. 110, March 2021.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275120314219. Accessed 3 April 2022.

Park, Moonho. "Seoul – 5.1 The Miracle on the Han River: Accomplishments and Shortcomings." CEFIA, 19 January 2017.             http://cefia.aks.ac.kr:84/index.php?title=Seoul__5.1_The_Miracle_on_the_Han_River: Accomplishments_and_Shortcomings. Accessed 3 April 2022.

Park, Patricia. Re Jane. New York, New York. Penguin Publishing Group, 2015. 

 "Seokchon Lake." Doosan Encyclopedia. https://terms.naver.com/entry.naver?docId=1285698&cid=40942&categoryId=34709. Accessed 3 April 2022.



Emma Streberger
The middle of the month Spring 1999

Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

In the year 1999, Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace grossed $1.027 billion in the box office. This was the first Star Wars movie in 16 years and introduced a whole new generation to Star Wars. In Re Jane A Novel, Patricia Parks uses this to her advantage to set up the time period. Based on the popularity of Star Wars during that time, it is not at all surprising that Jane and her friends enjoy Star Wars and reference it in everyday conversations. ““Good-bye, Jane Re. I wish you well. May the force be with you.” “And also with you,” I found myself saying” (Parks 16). This is a subtle Star Wars reference that Parks uses to show the time the novel is set in. It is evident that the novel can only be set in one of two years. It is set in 1999, or 2000. The reason we know it is no earlier than 1999 is because it is unlikely that Star Wars would have been popular enough with Jane’s generation to be used casually in conversation this way if The Phantom Menace hadn’t come to theatres yet. Parks also subtly tells us the novel is no later than 2000 by mentioning The World Trade Center. “I thought of my interview at Lowood on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center” (7). Parks uses both events, Star Wars, and 911, to send subtle messages to the reader about when the story takes place. She never comes right out and says what year it is. In addition to working for setting, it also works to add to both Jane and Eunice’s characters. This is a smart literary tactic that is worth emulating. I find it interesting the way Parks works Lowood into the story here. Presuming that some time will pass, the events of 911 are likely to occur during the story, which would cause Lowood to serve as a reference to death and despair, much as it did in Jane Eyre: An Autobiography with Hellen Burns. In Re Jane A Novel, so far Lowood only represents the misfortune of missed opportunity and economic hardship, but if 911 does occur later in the story it could be a foreshadow to Jane gaining fortune in unexpected ways. This would make the company Lowood an interesting symbol and plot device and is something I will continue to track throughout my read.



Works Cited

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, imbd.com, 1999, accessed 3/27/22 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120915/

Parks, Patricia, Re Jane, Viking Penguin Publishing Group Penguin Random House LLC, 2015, ISBN 978-0-525-42740-7 accessed 3/27/22


Colin Katchmar

The Nokia 8250

In 2001, the Nokia 8250 was produced, making it the first phone/cell phone with a monochromatic display (Datta). In addition, compared to earlier cell phone models, the Nokia was compact, which made the phone popular (Datta). 

As ReJane takes place at the beginning of the new millennium, we can see the subtle ways technology and the development of technology, such as cell phones, impacted life. While the first mobile phone was invented by Motorola in 1973, cell phones did not become popular until the ‘90s and early 2000s (“A (Mostly) Quick History of Smartphones”). And after 2001, the amount of people who owned a mobile phone only grew. 

Yet, in ReJane we only see the beginning of this development. Only some people own mobile phones, but many still do not. For example, Jane does not seem to own a cell phone at any point in the novel. When living with her Uncle Sang, she uses the family’s house phone to maintain communication with people, such as when Beth is hiring her. When Jane is living in South Korea, she mostly uses email–through a public cafe’s wifi network–to contact people, such as Nina, Ed, and future employers in South Korea. Jane flies to South Korea right before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and when Jane finally opens her email a few days later, she sees the panicked emails from Beth (Park 158-159). While Jane had used a pay phone to call the family after she had landed to reassure Devon and the family, the emails show just how frightening a lack of communication was during an event like this. Today, people can shoot off a text instantly in moments like this–and a lack of a response is worrying to people. Yet, this was not the reality a lot of the time in 2001.

When Jane and her boyfriend, Changhoon, are preparing for Nina’s visit to South Korea, Jane notes how Changhoon had just sent a text to his friends, and they had already immediately responded to him. Jane notes, “He’d gone through his entire social network in less time than it took me to compose a single text in Korean” (Park 213). 

I think Patricia Park chose to include these moments of technological difference for possibly a few reasons. First, Jane and most of her family and friends lacking cell phones aids the miscommunication aspect of the original Jane Eyre. In Jane Eyre, when Jane runs away from Thornfield and Rochester, she has no contact with Rochester whatsoever. While in ReJane, Jane emails Ed a few times while she is in South Korea, yet the communication is very limited between them. I also think Changhoon, who seems to be more involved in the developing technology scene, having a cell phone, while Jane is confused by the rapid communication he has with a cell phone, sets up a cultural and socioeconomic contrast between the two of them. In 2001, it seems that only people very involved and interested in developing technology, as well as potentially wealthy people, owned cell phones. On the other hand, people like Jane are confused and uninterested in such developments, as it was not until many years later when cell phones became a necessity. 

Works Cited:

Datta, Dhriti. “18 Game-Changing Phones From 2001 to 2019.” Digit.in, Digit, 2 June 2019, https://www.digit.in/features/tech/18-game-changing-phones-from-2001-to-...

“A (Mostly) Quick History of Smartphones.” Cellular Sales, 28 Sept. 2021, https://www.cellularsales.com/blog/a-mostly-quick-history-of-smartphones...

Park, Patricia. ReJane. New York, Penguin, 2015.

Alyssa Conner