Gendering Madness and Doubling Disability in Jane Eyre


  • Sunanda Sinha University of Delhi, Delhi


Desire, madness, impaired mind, gender representation, objectification, disability


Jane Eyre has a well-designed structure of a bildungsroman that focuses on the pursuit of Jane’s desire and ignores the same for Bertha. The conceptual structure conveys a linear discourse to determine a prefixed understanding of Bertha, Jane, and Rochester. In Bertha’s context, the bildungsroman operates to deliver issues of race, gender, and disability in an existential quest to ascertain and establish her madness. There is a well-designed structural correspondence of bildungsroman, interplay of dark and light binary, the desire of Jane against the asexual Bertha, and the metaphor of fire in mapping the doubling. The literary devices serve as a dominant metaphorical barrier to normalcy in Thornfield. The paper considers this authorial viewpoint on Bertha’s sickness as a construct of a parallel gendered and a more potent conceptualisation of madness. In problematising madness, the paper argues a cultural narrative of representation that is affected by the impaired mind of Bertha. It will interrogate how the narrative systematically forges a doubling within which she is objectified, influenced, muted, bounded and characteristically disabled. 


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Author Biography

Sunanda Sinha, University of Delhi, Delhi

Dr. Sunanda Sinha is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Satyawati College, University of
Delhi, Delhi. Her areas of interest include Modern European Drama, Nineteenth Century European Realism, and Modernism. She has published articles in National and International journals on wide topics ranging from Modern Indian English Poetry, Kabir, Tehmina Durrani, Modern European Drama, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, etc. In her thirteen plus years in academics, she has worked as Teacher in charge of English Department, in charge of Army Girls Wing of NCC and Nodal Officer Twitter. In the capacity of Convener of Dramatics and Debating society, she has also staged/organised Plays and National debates respectively.


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How to Cite

Sinha, S. . (2021). Gendering Madness and Doubling Disability in Jane Eyre. The Grove - Working Papers on English Studies, 28, 111–126. Retrieved from