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Forgiveness in Jane Eyre

《簡愛》中的原諒

Abstracts


Forgiveness plays a central role in the plot, characterization and even sentence formations of Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre (1847). Yet this novel has curiously eluded the attention of most literary historians who draw on prose fiction to explain the importance of forgiveness in Victorian England. This essay argues that this omission betrays a rarely-discussed awareness that Jane Eyre challenges the Victorian understanding of forgiveness. Bronte's contemporaries believe that forgiveness is a Christian virtue expressive of love. They also embrace forgiveness as a reconciliatory gesture productive of social and spiritual redemption. Bronte subverts both assumptions in her novel. Through Helen Burn's self-absorption, Aunt Reed's life-long resentment and Jane Eyre's withheld speech, Bronte demonstrates how futile the language of forgiveness can be in resolving conflicts. In addition, Bronte incorporates the Christian language of forgiveness into her text, only to reveal how sharply it can depart from words of love and how easily it can descend into expressions of hostility. Critics of Jane Eyre have long noticed its subversive spirit and have explained it in terms of Bronte's social criticism or feminist agenda. This essay maintains that the issue of forgiveness provides a more consistent and persuasive approach to understanding the rebellious quality of this novel.

Parallel abstracts


夏綠蒂‧伯朗特的《簡愛》是一部關於原諒的小說。此一議題主導了小說中的情節發展、人物刻劃以及句型結構。然而令人訝異的是,當歷史學者與文學批評家運用小說解釋原諒在十九世紀英國社會中的重要性時,此文本幾乎從未受到關注。本文企圖解釋此現象的成因。作者以為這是因為《簡愛》中對原諒的探索顛覆了傳統基督教教義賦予原諒的價值與意義。在伯朗特成長的年代,原諒是一普及的基督教美德,它的中心思想是以愛包容敵人,它的主要功用是消彌衝突。和這樣的想法相照之下,《簡愛》顯得十分驚世駭俗。小說中原諒的場景非但沒有傳遞愛與關懷,反而流露出怨懟與不滿,非但不著重包容和解的力量,反而強調持續的衝突與對立。分析文本中原諒的語言可以讓我們重新思考並更精準地了解為何《簡愛》是一本顛覆傳統價值的小說。

Parallel keywords

原諒 《簡愛》 夏綠蒂‧伯朗特 和解

References


Allot, Miriam(ed.)(1995).The Brontës: The Critical Heritage.London:Routledge.
Benvenuto, Richard(1972).The Child of Nature, the Child of Grace, and the Unresolved Conflict of Jane Eyre.ELH.39(4),620-38.
Brontë, Charlotte,Smith, Margaret(Ed.)(2008).Jane Eyre.Oxford:Oxford UP.
Brontë, Emily,Dunn, Richard J.(Ed.)(2003).Wuthering Heights.New York:Norton.
Cazamian, Louis,Fido, Martin(Trans.)(1973).The Social Novel in England 1830-50: Dickens, Disraeli, Mrs Gaskell, Kingsley.London:Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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