It is often said that Literature started and Civilisation followed. It's how we recount humanity's past. Which is why on this day, 16th October, we take a moment to remember Jane Eyre that was first published on 16th October, 1847. Since we are talking about civilization following literature, one cannot not bring up the ongoing #MeToo movement that has taken India by storm.
What ties Jane Eyre, written in the 19th Century to the #MeToo movement is a valid question. If you haven't read the Charlotte Bronte novel recently, we're here to refresh your memory. The novel broaches topics of religion, sexuality and feminism delicately; a scathing criticism of the socioeconomics of the century.
Back to #MeToo - remember when Mr Rochester falls off his horse the first time he sees Jane? Jane gracefully helps the gentleman up. Upon learning that Jane will be the governess to his ward, back at his residence, Rochester, arrogantly, teases Jane of bewitching his horse that he fell off from. Sounds like a #MeToo incident right there. That isn't even the end of Rochester's tale - how can we forget his mad wife locked in the attic. The character spun an entire feminist literary canon: the madwoman in the attic. Speak up and you'll be considered crazy.
That is exactly what is happening in the ongoing #MeToo movement. Women are calling out predators living comfortable lives and, in turn, are being subjected humiliating questions about their own character. "Why did you allow him to stay over?" "Why didn't you slap him and walk out of the office?" "Why didn't you report it sooner?"
Warriors are now rising up, just like the mad woman in the attic and lighting fires that will leave nothing but ashes to the ground in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Just like Jane Eyre stood up to Mr Rochester and all the other men that followed in the novel. After all, Literature started and Civilisation followed.Read More