How do both Carhlotte Brontë and Daphne du Maurier explore the dificulties faced by two young women in "Jane Eyre" and "Rebecca"?

Essay by nicthedick March 2003

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'He had not imagined that a woman would dare speak so to a man.'

Taken from Jane Eyre, this quote depicts the foremost difficulty which the two young women must face, the prejudice other people place on them, and what they must do to rise above these preconceptions.

In the novels Jane Eyre and Rebecca, we are presented with the life-journeys of two young women, their obstacles, and the way they develop amongst these problems. In this essay I will explore these hindrances and how the young women confront and behave towards them.

In many ways, the two characters, Jane and Mrs De Winter, are noticeably similar. There is one primary factor that stands out from all others; they are both considerably young. Jane is only a child when orphaned into the house of her Aunt Reed; she experiences cruel discrimination for the first time and is 'humbled by the consciousness of her physical inferiority.'

Similarly, Mrs De Winter, untrained and inexperienced in a new world, is suddenly thrown into an unaccustomed lifestyle, at the tender age of about twenty, although it is never specified. The foreign and sometimes glamorous surroundings and situations the young women find themselves in, tend to diminish the values of their persons, due to their age. Both are often looked upon as insignificant, 'she cast on me an angry glance, as if I were in fault'. The two young women also have no immediate family or friends in which to seek comfort in, and so are quite alone in the world. However, Jane, who is notably wiser secures some companionship with Helen Burns, Miss Temple, Bessie and Adele through her journeys. Mrs De Winter fails to achieve friendship, mostly due to the impression we are given of her childhood and upbringing, which seems...