This thesis aims to show all the similarities found between Samuel Richardson’s Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded from 1740 and Charlote Brontë’s Jane Eyre from 1847 in order to find evidence of intertextuality.
Although the novels were written a little over a hundred years apart, the events in them are quite similar. Pamela is a lower class girl who by overcoming many obstacles is able to marry her master, Mr B, who she loves, and thus climbs the social ladder. Jane is a poor middle class girl who eventually has the fortune of marrying the man she loves, her master Mr Rochester. The fact that Pamela and Jane marry up in society does not change their social consciousness, and they both continue to hold true to themselves and their religious beliefs after they are married. Both Pamela and Jane are at one point given the offer to live with Mr B and Mr Rochester without marrying them but they refuse to do so because doing this would interfere with their moral values. And both novels provide a cautionary tale against affairs outside of marriage showing what could happen to Pamela and Jane if they had given into the offers by Mr B and Mr Rochester.
These are only a few of the similarities in the two novels. This thesis concludes that there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that Brontë used Richardson’s novel for inspiration when writing her own.