Thesis, English Department, Faculty of Letters, State University of Malang. Advisor: Inayatul Fariha, S.S., M.A.
The Construction of Home in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
Huda Fitri Amalia, 2013
Many researchers argue that spaces and places are important aspects that construct identity. People make sense of their self by attributing meanings to places; however, the meaning and significance in it are not permanent. They are renegotiated and reconstructed. Home, a place that has been given meaning, is claimed as an expression or symbol of the self as people indicate a sense of their identity through stories about where they are.It is a physical space that is lived and a space that is an expression of social meanings and identities. However, home always has multi-layered meaning to each individual but plays a vital importance to growth. It therefore triggers many researchers to examine the meaning of home and has been a very intriguing topic as it holds different meaning to each discipline of study.
Jane Eyre portrays a significant role of home in constructing an identity, in which self-existence, personal value, and self-worth are regarded. Jane’s condition of being an orphan, penniless, homeless, and woman complicate her construction of home as she has no memory, experience, or attachment to a certain place. Her condition pushes her further to be a victim of marginalization. As an orphan, her need to find and create a comfortable space therefore becomes urgent in order to experience the feeling of being home. Jane lives at five homes and each home gives Jane an opportunity to construct her identity by observing each home and its inhabitants. Therefore, she can make an attachment to each home, both positive and negative. Jane’s concept of ideal home is continually altered in each home and therefore allows her to develop an identity, both personal and social.
In Jane Eyre, home is not merely about physical space and architectural buildings. It is emphasized that space becomes home only when it is inhabited and given meaning and function, where people can establish their own self and ways associating to others. Furthermore, home is also connected to metaphorical investment, reinforcing the idea of home which is not always a fixed space. It is delivered through imagination, creativity, and symbolic meaning as Jane calls Rochester ‘my home’. The book challenges the idea that home is not always a physical space containing certain memories for its inhabitants. Jane Eyre also adds the characteristics of ideal home as a site for new possibility, productivity, and equality. Moreover, the book enforces the idea of ‘home’ as a perennial human need, even for the ‘homeless’. bronteblog