Female relationships have been a topic that has intrigued both male and female writers throughout the ages. All three of my chosen texts explore these relationships differently; Jane Eyre’s close friendship with Helen, Jeanette’s amorous tryst with Melanie and the apparent hatred between Tamora and Lavinia. In order to understand these relationships I am going to analyse the way in which the writer approaches them.
Oranges are not the only fruit, written by Jeanette Winterson, is a bildungsroman that follows a girl who decides that she can be a Christian despite her admitting she is a lesbian. This causes uproar at home and in church as her highly religious mother regards this as a sin. Jeanette explains that after she told her mother they ‘hardly spoke[n]’ and she later describes her mother to have ‘vacantly passed [her] a plate of biscuits.’ Winterson’s use of the word ‘vacant’ to show the lack of emotion Jeanette’s mother ...view middle of the document...
It is because of this close relationship at the beginning that the breakdown is so upsetting for the reader. Her mother even reverts to saying Jeanette is ‘no daughter of [hers]’
This reminds me of Jane Eyre as Jane's relationship with her aunt is very similar. Jane like Jeanette is adopted, except Jane is adopted by her aunt. However one would assume that because it is her aunt she would be treated better as she really is true family, but this is not the case. Jane’s Aunt Reed is very bitter towards Jane because she was bound to her by the death of Mr Reed and treats her as if she is ‘less than a servant.’ Jane reflects as a child, ‘It must have been most irksome to find herself bound by a hard wrung pledge to stand in the stead of a parent to a strange child she could not love, and to see an uncongenial alien permanently intruded on her own family group’. (ch. 21) Although there is conflict between them it is almost as if Jane understands to some extent why her Aunt behaves this way. Jane later explains that she had ‘nothing in harmony with Mrs Reed or her children’ This demonstrates to us how alone Jane must have felt living with these people she not only had little in common with but abused her also. When a stranger visits the house Jane says she felt ‘inexpressible relief, a soothing conviction of protection and security’ because ‘there was a stranger in the room’ Bronte uses this descriptive emotive language to alienate Jane so that the reader feels sympathy for the character and is able to identify with her. The relationship between Jane and her Aunt is the only time we see Jane outside her thoughtful, kind but independent self when her aunt calls her ‘deceitful’ she protests saying ‘I, do not love you. I dislike you the worst’ Bronte uses repetition of the’ I’ to show emphasise the pronoun and show how personal this is to her. Bronte uses metaphors to accentuate the intensity of the atmosphere between Jane and her aunt, Jane says ‘her eye of ice continued to dwell freezingly on mine.’ The use of words ‘ice’ and ‘freezingly’ give a sinister air to the situation and also adds to the already cold tense atmosphere between the two women.