There Goes The Phallus

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Kendrick, Edward Rochester And the Margins of Masculinity in Jane Eyre And Wide Sargasso Sea

EL237--Writing About Literature

Kendrick had made a point when he stated that Rochester in a way isn't exactly the "mature man" as he claim to be. According to the VIctorian gentleman standards, he has no money, but his wife does...makes him look like he is missing something. Wow, it seems like Rochester is the laughing stalk of both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. He thought by marrying a trophy wife such as Antonette, he would be looked upon as the big man in town. It is as if the money and the wife is trying to compensate for something that is completely missing. Kendrick had slyly brought up the phallus in talking about the inadequacies of Rochester.
How does the concept of the phallus plays off in strongly femininst novels like Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea?

3 Comments

Yes, money means power in Victorian (and modern) times. In order for people to see that you have power, ergo, you need to show off all your posessions. For this reason, you tent to see a lot of famous men with these beautiful, barbie-esque dolls. Rochester feels that since he is the second son, he has to compensate for his lack of inheritance (and lack of power). "ohh, look at me, dad! I have money and a beautiful wife! look how powerful I am! Proud of me now? Am I a man now?"

Men are proud creatures.

If Rochester were alive today, he would probably own a hummer.

Yes...and even with Jane Eyre herself. As one of these essays stated--I think it was this one, but I can't remember for sure--Rochester wanted to marry Jane Eyre so that he could forget Antoinette. In attempting this, he makes an even bigger fool of himself. He couldn't have looked all that great to people when they found out he tried to marry someone when he already had a living wife.

His money (and beautiful wife) all came from Antoinette - a marriage arranged by his father. So does this whole thing even prove he is a man at all? I don't think it does.