Fellow Victorians, my name is Jane Rochester, nee Eyre, and I wish to share with you my own struggles with coming to terms with my own identity as a Victorian that did not conform to the mainstream opinion of what constitutes a proper Victorian woman. For one thing, I married what many would consider an inappropriate man. Not only was he far above my station, but he attempted to make me a bigamist. Shocking, I know, and it is only in the spirit of helping others that may be struggling that I offer this information.
Reader, I know that I am equal to my husband. We share a bond unlike any other, because we recognize in each other our equal. I do not propose that women carry on like men carry on, that we rise up and do jobs clearly meant for men. I merely propose that we be thought of as our partner’s intellectual and emotional equal. For what can a union be if it is between a master and a slave? I am a strong woman. I am capable of thoughts and feeling. I am a Victorian. I would like to be recognized as such.
I should now like to address Mr.Gradgrind’s previous post. Although I admire him for his realization of the error of his ways and his return to emotional connection, I know how pleased I am with my own emotional ties, I must respectfully disagree with his ideas regarding scientific advancement. It is in fact the science of phrenology that brought me closer to my heart’s happiness. Science is not necessarily a terrible danger, an expanded education is best for every Victorian. It is only when we neglect humanity in favor of science and intellect that we suffer. I myself knew a man that ignored emotional attachment for what he believed intellectually to be the right thing for him and his profession. He was a great man, but so cold, and I imagine he never found the true happiness that I did when I followed my heart instead of my head.