Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Carnell, Rachel

Subject Headings

Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888 -- Criticism and interpretation, Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888, Behind a mask, Brontë, Charlotte, 1816-1855 -- Criticism and interpretation, Brontë, Charlotte, 1816-1855, Jane Eyre, Emotions in literature, Women and literature -- United States -- History -- 19th century, Women and literature -- England -- History -- 19th century, Louisa May Alcott Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre Behind a Mask, or a Womans Power Passion Financial Gender Society Culture Restrictions Nineteenth-Century Revision Commentary Virginia Woolf


Louisa May Alcott's revision of the representation of passion in Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power (1866) in connection with Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1847) is something that has not been widely discussed in scholarly studies since the reintroduction of these Blood and Thunder novels by Madaline Stern in 1975. Both Bronte and Alcott demonstrate in their novels that passion is a positive attribute, but, through Jane, Bronte demonstrates that hysterical passion must be sincerely controlled and internalized in order to positively contribute to a woman's life. Alcott, on the other hand, suggests that women merely need to act as proper gentlewomen and use their passionate ways in assisting them to do so. Jane Eyre and Behind a Mask are two texts that represent women with very passionate personalities, which are portrayed as positive aspects of these characters. Alcott's suggests through Jean, that passion should be a tool used by women to achieve happiness which is very different than Bronte's demonstration of controlled passion and proper Christian, gentle behavior. Through the analysis of passion and the different representations of passion in these two texts we can see that Alcott's work is revising the idea of passion compared to Bronte's earlier representation of internalized control in Jane Eyre