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Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

A CINDERELLA STORY

THE ENDURANCE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE’S JANE EYRE

“We do not separate into distinct causes this great and never-ending cause of the ignorant and the poor.”

This story is old. Perhaps originating in the 1st century, telling the tale of a young Greek slave girl who overcomes her miserable existence and becomes an Egyptian queen. Retold many times with the protagonist having many nationalities, the 17th-century version, Cendrillon (The Little Glass Slipper, 1697) by Charles Perrault is probably best known as it was the basis for the Disney movie, Cinderella. Perrault and Disney describe a young orphaned girl forced to serve her stepmother and stepsisters, but eventually rescued by a prince. 

Similarly at the mercy of a powerful woman (an aunt instead of stepmother) Bronte’s Jane Eyer describes an impotent protagonist, an underdog, who navigates a world of obstacles with only her wits and strength of character to guide and protect her.

In the presentation of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855) walks a fine line between offensiveness, and what would have been viewed as fantasy or fairy tale. Certain expectations of the reading public require the author’s considerations in any time period. Bronte’s ideas, influenced as they were by the prejudices of 19th century England, had to be presented in such a way as to ensure the credibility of her characters, as well as skirt the controversy to which her depictions (particularly of Jane’s headstrong nature) might give rise.

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Diversity & CommUnity

Diversity & CommUnity: How We View Ourselves & Others

Haven’t we gotten beyond the “race” issue?

This crucial question has been asked for decades. When you ask it of white people most answer “yes”; but when you ask people of color, the answer is “no”.  Why the different answers? Because most of us are ignorant — “lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated” from The Oxford Dictionary online. We don’t know our own history and we don’t understand biology.

“Our thoughts are unseen hands shaping the people we meet. Whatever we truly think them to be, that’s what they’ll become for us.”  ~Richard Cowper