Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Date Information

May 2016

Department

English

First Advisor

Lisa Mulman

Abstract

Like every character, Lucy Snowe and Jane Eyre, respective protagonists of Charlotte Brontë's Villette and Jane Eyre, grapple with pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. Pleasure and pain are unavoidable universals, of course, but everyone treats their own pleasure and pain differently. Furthermore, pleasure and pain do not exist in a vacuum; there are other considerations—such as morality, self-respect, and lack of absolute control—that affect how each person treats and prioritizes them. Lucy and Jane, in particular, are not hedonists, so when looking at how they pursue pleasure and avoid pain, it is also important to account for the things that they care about more than either. Examining how Brontë's heroines approach pleasure and pain in relation to other facets of their lives reveals their priorities, an understanding of which is essential to understanding their choices and burgeoning selfhood.

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