Analysis Of Romance Genre in Literature
I have read the following three novels: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. These books appealed to me as they represent a realistic image of love and romance in showing that life is often more complicated than we initially assume it to be. In today’s world, generally speaking, people are looking for love in their relationships within their family, friends and partners. It was fascinating to discover the contrasts around the theme of love in the 18th century novels by Bronte and Austen as compared with a modern day setting in Me Before You. A definition of romance literature quoted from Wikipedia is “a literary genre developed in Western culture which focuses on the romantic relationship between two or more people”. Within the confines of a novel, romance is explored in the narrative and protagonists fight for their true love by overcoming obstacles on their life’s journey. This genre centres on loving one’s partner for their personality and not on the basis of their appearance. The Romance genre is explored through the journey and life stories of characters in the 18th century as well as modern day.
All three novels do not depict a typical modern-day love story where a couple meets one another, falls in love, then experiences a simple problem that is needing to be resolved and ends in a happy marriage. Instead, the couples in these novels face quite challenging dilemmas and need to exert much effort and fortitude in order to achieve their long sought-after happy ending. Bronte’s protagonist, the young adult Jane Eyre, undergoes a realisation of who her true love ultimately is meant to be, simultaneously, embarks on an inner journey of her own and faces various struggles along the journey. One of the major obstacles that she faces is the fear of ‘losing herself’. This fear provides the motivation for Jane to reject a marriage proposal from Mr Rochester. By experiencing these dilemmas, Jane was able to undergo quite a development within herself which was also a test of her self-suffiency. Bronte has shown that one of the major obstacles the protagonists had to overcome was the fighting within herself as she had to feel independent enough to be part of a loving relationship with Mr Rochester. Similarly, the novel Pride and Prejudice also explores the idea of overcoming dilemmas to achieve true love.
The main love story is between Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist, and a gentleman of higher social standing, Mr. Darcy Austen shows the various obstacles that the couple has to overcome in order to realize their true love for each other such as the author introduces Lady Catherine de Bough (Darcy’s aunt) as the antagonist as she asks Elizabeth to refuse Mr Darcy’s proposal due to her lower social standing. This expresses the importance of social status in the 18th century. Even though social status was so prominent in the 18th century, it still played a minor role in modern day as another obstacle Moyes highlights in the novel Me Before You is social status. Louisa Clark’s family holds the perspective that she is inadequate socially in terms with Will Traynor.
In the novel Pride and Prejudice, Austen also shows the love relationships between the other Bennet daughters such as Lydia Bennet and Wickham and Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley. By introducing the other love relationships, Austen reinforces the genre of romance as the other two couples also have to undergo difficult struggles to remain together. In contrast with the two 18th century novels, Moyes has depicted the genre of romance quite differently It provides a more realistic image of love in modern day society where a happy ending is not realised between the two partners. The protagonist, Louisa Clark, embarks on a journey as carer to Will Traynor, a man who has been left a paraplegic after an accident. Louisa and Will slowly fall in love, but Will faces severe disability, depression and thoughts of suicide. His depressive mental state ultimately results in becoming a difficult obstacle for the two lovers to overcome.
Therefore, Moyes, Bronte and Austen have assessed the genre of romance similarly as it depicts the obstacles that couples had to overcome and also the fact that the couples loved each other for who they really are and not on the basis of their social status and looks. For example, in Jane Eyre, even though Mr Rochester loses his eyesight, Jane still truly loves him. In Pride and Prejudice, even though Elizabeth has lower social standing than Mr Darcy, he still truly loves her and in Me Before You, even though Will is paralysed and in a wheelchair, Louisa still truly loves him. These examples and ideas reinforce the meaning of love in Romance Literature, that is, Romantic love consists of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles towards the goal of achieving lasting love.
The novel that I enjoyed reading the most was Me Before You as it is a depiction of a modern day love story and thus provides a context that I can relate to more realistically. It was quite interesting for me to see how Louisa fell in love with Will despite his severe disabilities and how all that mattered to her in the end was his personality and not his physical limitations. This novel also shows how the modern-day value of familial support regardless of hardships is instrumental in communicating love and support towards a person overcoming physical disabilities. I would like to end off with a quote that summarises the key idea of Romance Literature: “the theme of love revolves around the fact that love is not truly just on face value and that the most perfectly suitable person might not be the prettiest or the richest or the one with the similar background but the one with tolerance and patience and a similar heart. ”Thank you.
In Which Two Different Novelists Offer Criticism Of Victorian Twist And Jane Eyre
Both Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre are stories that tackle the dilemma of Victorian society’s power struggles, the issues with discrimination and the hardships of class mobility. Many parallels can be drawn between the two eponymous characters. They are both born orphans and spend the formative years of their lives in abusive environments due to their unfortunate nature as orphans and the lack of generational wealth they carry because of it. Due to this they live incredibly hard lives even compared to many from the Victorian era. Dickens and Bronte make sure to portray the lower classes in the beginning of their books as having no way out of their living situations (due to Victorian society’s power structure) short of a miracle (such as coming across an unknown inheritance).
Dickens and Bronte portray the hardships of class mobility in such a bleak way as to parallel the real lives of many of the lower classes in real life Victorian society who did not have a happy ending waiting for them. Both protagonists are treated almost like criminals in their respective texts purely for their class, showing how both authors’ intended to paint and reflect the bleak reality of the Victorian society they were living in. Bronte and Dickens both lived in the same time period their novels were written about. They portray England as being so concerned with matters of class it gets to the point of obsession. Neither author agrees with this outlook on class and serves to criticise it through their description of both the rich and poor.
In Oliver Twist, Dickens employs clever use of sarcasm and irony when describing the rich and the events that encircle them (specifically in relation to their clothes). Dickens often uses clothes as an indicator of social standing or “power” in Victorian society and a perfect example of this can be seen in Mr. Bumble before and after losing his signature beadle hat. With the hat on, he is his usual pompous and arrogant self, concerned only about putting up a public front about caring about the children in the factory, but when he is reintroduced later in the story without the hat, he comes across as pathetic and weak, showing who he truly is. In chapter 37 he is described as having “The mighty cocked-hat was replaced by a modest round one.
Mr. Bumble was no longer a beadle.” The use of the word “mighty” now being replaced by “modest” perfectly sums up Mr Bumble’s character and also works as a wider microcosm for the perceived morality behind the Victorian power structure. All of the upper-class people in Oliver Twist depend on keeping up illusions to appear like good people, whilst people like Oliver are good regardless of what they wear, showing Dicken’s dismissal of the widely held concept that class was equal to morality. A similar example of this can also be seen early in Jane Eyre in which the servants find it harder to relate and sympathize with Jane due to them not considering or finding her conventionally attractive. Abbot states of her “if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that”. This shows that in Victorian society, not only does the power structure apply to the rich and poor and what garments they wear, but even to things you are born with such as your facial structure and features, those being born with what Victorians considered “fairer” features getting better treatment than those with features like Jane. Bronte uses this passage not only to highlight the deeply flawed thinking and logic of Victorians of this time but also to suggest that whilst the people judging Jane may think they are superior to her (as they perceive themselves as more beautiful than her), she actually stands above them on the moral ladder due to her actually judging people on the timbre of their character.
Something which is further propagated by her eventual relationship with Rochester, disregarding his physical appearance. Both authors attempt to convey the point that regardless of where someone is born in the standing of the Victorian power structure it does not reflect their intelligence or morals. In Oliver Twist, Dickens makes sure to highlight that poor and rich people are of the same intelligence and have just as good (if not, oftentimes better) morals as rich people. It is only though how the poor get treated that they are pushed towards a life of crime. Many examples of Oliver of being treated as an animal or as something less than human are portrayed throughout the book which directly conflict with the way the reader knows Oliver should be treated (as a kind, caring young boy). A particularly striking example can be seen in Mrs. Sowerberry’s reaction towards parish children stating, “I see no saving in parish children, not I; for they always cost more to keep than they are worth”.
Assigning a worth to these children and talking about them in terms of money seems very clinical and dehumanises them. This again allows Dicken’s to criticise the power structure of Victorian society as if we can sympathize with Oliver we could likely sympathize with the many poor children who were in Oliver’s exact same position. Bronte echoes a similar sentiment in Jane Eyre. Bronte paints the orphans as underprivileged and mistreated, something which Jane has experienced prevalently through her childhood. With reminders such as “you ought to be aware, Miss, that you are under obligations to Mrs. Reed: she keeps you: if she were to turn you off, you would have to go to the poor-house.” Almost making her seem like an item to be owned than an actual person with feelings and emotions. The cautionary, bordering on mean tone highlights the reality of the way many upper-class people and adults spoke to orphans and lower class people in Victorian society and only served as a way for the rich to try and solidify Victorian society’s power structures to keep themselves in a good place.
Both protagonists of Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre have different ways of reacting to their mistreatment due to Victorian society’s power structure and different ways of manifesting and utilising these feelings and thoughts that come along with it. Dickens has intentionally written Oliver to be a timid, likeable and model boy (partly due to his age and that it makes it easier for us to sympathize with him and that it shows any sort of person can come from any walk of life). Because of these traits Oliver is apprehensive to incite anyone’s anger, even if they have hurt him. He never takes explicit/open action against his oppressors. Critic Irving Howe describes Oliver as “an orphan, a waif, an outcast. He is a puling, teary little fellow, never rebellious for more than a few minutes, and seldom even angry. He is a perfect little gentleman”. Regardless Oliver’s mistreatment by the Victorian society’s power structure incites a burning desire for justice and revolution in the mind of the reader against this status quo.
As such even when small acts of rebellion (that Oliver himself may not even recognize at his age) occur such as in the beginning of the text when he has “suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months” and is, at last, so “voracious and wild with hunger” that, one evening he dares to ask the Master for extra food. His scared and mousy plea of “Please, sir, I want some more” is far from a massive, co-ordinated act of rebellion against the system that has wrong him for so many years but coming from a boy who has been undeservingly abused since birth it does take a big amount of courage. This is Dicken’s painting the good qualities such as courage that will take Oliver into great places in his future. This is him showing that whilst the class divide, and the current Victorian society’s power system may be hard to overcome, it is poor people with heart such as Oliver that will change it for the better as opposed to the throes of selfish rich/upper class people we encounter throughout the text in Oliver’s eyes. Jane, a child of more fiery and strong-spirited tendencies, exhibits her rebellion more forcefully. Because she has had to depend on herself for consolation and sustenance throughout her lonely childhood, she is quite self-sufficient. As critic Heidi Kelchner puts it, “Jane’s lack of family…has instilled in her a strong sense of self-reliance and independence. Even as a child in Sarah Reed’s house, Jane recognizes the injustice of her predicament” (1196). This recognition is most strongly revealed early in the novel with Jane’s passionate verbal insurrection against Mrs. Reed. The event which triggers this explosion occurs during the visit of Mr. Brocklehurst, the owner of the boarding school to which Jane will soon be sent. Without allowing the girl to defend herself, Mrs. Reed tells Mr. Brocklehurst that Jane is a wicked and deceitful child in need of strict discipline (37). This extreme injustice drives Jane to vent the inner feelings of revolt that she has so long suppressed.
Looking back on the event from a more mature perspective, Jane eloquently describes her emotions at this time: “Speak I must; I had been trodden on severely” (40). The rare burst of defiance that follows leaves Jane with a “sense of freedom, of triumph” (41); she feels as if she has broken free from an “invisible bond [and] struggled out into unhoped-for liberty” (42). Yet despite this momentary outburst of rebellion, Jane still retains her strict sense of right and wrong. After the first wave of exultation rolls over her, she realizes the wickedness of having spoken so disrespectfully to a woman nearly four times her age. The adult Jane explains, “A child cannot quarrel with its elders, as I had done; cannot give its furious feelings uncontrolled play, as I had given mine; without experiencing afterward the pang of remorse and the chill of reaction” (43). Jane’s strength of character and courage to speak out against what she knows to be wrong are tempered with a firm set of moral standards and convictions. Like Oliver, she possesses the qualities that will enable her to rise from a childhood of poverty and misery to a life of fulfillment and happiness. Both characters do, however, gain happy endings towards the end of their respective texts in spite of the hardships they face with Oliver being adopted into a loving family and gaining rights to his inheritance and Jane settling down with Rochester, gaining her inheritance and having a child. This again reflects both authors views that whilst society may not view the lower classes as being equal to the upper classes, there is indeed a way out and a happy result waiting for them.
The Use Of Literacy Techniques And The Narrative Voice in “Jane Eyre” By Charlotte Bronte
Through the use of a nineteenth-century gothic setting in Ferndean, the author, Charlotte Bronte, uses literacy techniques and loves to develop the narrative voice of Jane as an independent and passionate young woman.
The first time Jane lays eyes on Ferndean Mansion she feels it is a place of solitude and death. Jane’s journey through the thick forest to reach Ferndean demonstrates how secluded the house is from the outside world .When Jane re-encounters Rochester, she uses the imagery that he previously used to describe her; he is a “wronged” bird, a “caged” eagle. However, with Jane’s emotional development and new financial wealth her decision to re-enter a relationship with Rochester is impartial, she is now free of any feelings of inadequateness, which is juxtaposed to Rochester who is now fettered. In their first conversation, Jane highlights that she is now financially and emotionally independent and uninhibited from all binds “I am independent, sir, as well as rich: I am my own mistress”. Earlier in the novel, Rochester had objectified Jane, but now due to her newfound wealth and liberation he accepts her as his equal and his marriage proposal is based purely on love and not on status or appearance as shown by the quote “Never mind fine clothes and jewels, now: all that is not worth a fillip”. Similar to Jane’s character development, Rochester needed to “pass through the valley of the shadow of death” which is representative of the suffering he has undergone from his blindness and maiming from the fire, and his detachment from the world he knew in order to tame his fire and virility. Rochester’s loss of vision can be seen as what he needed to lose for Jane to have her ideal relationship, just as Bertha’s life had to be sacrificed. Both hidden in Ferndean’s seclusion, Jane and Rochester have attained spiritual isolation. Jane reminds the readers of the telepathic bond between them and emphasizes Rochester’s atonement of his sins for attempting to make Jane his mistress. “I did wrong: I would have sullied my innocent flower”. Jane’s forgiveness of Rochester allows for a deeper connection between the couple. Bronte uses this psychic affinity to emphasize the spiritual bond between Jane and Rochester. The remoteness of the gothic Ferndean mansion, which is fitted with narrow windows and doors, combined with the density of the surrounding forest would suggest an ominous ending for the couple and shows that no physic or physical barriers can block their passion for one another, and that their relationship is on a spiritual level.
Bronte uses symbolism to explore the conflict between social classism and religion which is used to shape Jane’s identity. Jane first experiences social hierarchy as an orphan at Gateshead where she is considered lower class. Due to her lower-class status, she has a traumatic childhood where she is locked in The Red Room, which serves as a symbol of the obstacles Jane faces on her journey to freedom. The deep planted feelings of exile and being physically undesirable are embedded in Jane’s mind by her childhood family, the Reeds, and her distressing experiences in The Red Room “my habitual mood of humiliation, self-doubt, forlorn depression, fell damp on the embers of my decaying ire”. The Red Room is symbolic and has shaped Jane who often thinks about it when she feels ostracized or imprisoned, such as when she leaves Thornfield. The room is also a symbol for Jane’s lack of social standing and being separated from those in high society, and the exclusion and imprisonment she battles throughout her journey. Social class governed life in nineteenth-century Britain; Jane’s social advancement allows Bronte to examine the sources and consequences of class boundaries. The game ‘charades’ is symbolic of the façade of the upper-class use to interact. An example of this is how Blanche Ingram excels in creating a good performance, which is all there is to her – a show “you would not encounter such a low imposter? Dismiss her, by all means, at once!”. Blanche and most of the upper class treat those they deem inferior as extras in their ‘performance’. Jane is an exception as she saw through this ‘charade’ of the pretentiousness upper class and considered the social order as a ridiculous game being played. The self-importance placed on the social hierarchy by the upper class themselves is juxtaposed with the character Helen Burns who is symbolic of New Testament ideals. Helen is instrumental is Jane’s development and is paramount in helping Jane with her internal struggles against social oppression. Helen embodies the idea of loving indiscriminately, having the unwavering patience for others and turning the other cheek, unlike those who use social hierarchy as a platform of power. Helen does not use religion for selfish gain and is an emblem of positivity. Jane admires Helen for her ability to love herself and her caring nature whereas Jane overthinks of the opinion of others “if others don’t love me, I would rather die than live her”, however Jane knows she still needs social recognition in her life in order to feel fulfilled. Bronte uses the symbols of The Red Room and “charades” to show the social oppression Jane growing up, and Helen is the symbolic character that shows Jane there is a way to not conform to those social roles.
Resistance to The Normalities Of The Victorian Era in Jane Eyre
Victorian Rebel Brönte
Charlotte Brönte, was a female Victorian Author who is best known for her book Jane Eyre. Her writings perceived her to be a feminist during the Victorian Era. She did not believe in the traditional roles of women and children in the household which is best represented in her book, Jane Eyre. Throughout this novel their is much resemblance between Brönte and Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brönte’s novel tells her own story alongside with women during the Victorian era including her own in Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brönte’s novel Jane Eyre contradicted the social beliefs of a women’s role during the Victorian Era.
Charlotte Brönte was born in West Yorkshire, England. She was one of six children and in 1821 she lost her mother to cancer. Her father then sent her and her sisters to a school in Cowan Bridge, where her older sisters passed due to the conditions making Brönte became the mother figure to her remaining sisters. She never quit learning after she was pulled out of school, she continued her education at Roe Head. In 1839 she became governess to many families all over Yorkshire. During this era women were not held to a high regard nor were the children. Everyone in the household had a specific role to play. The father being strict, taught his children to be obedient and in most of the time he was the only one who held a job. The mother was supposed to be loving and caring and always tending to the children’s needs and helping out around the house when needed. In books like ,Helen Fleetwood, some of the women in the book had working roles but during the era it shows how they were treated differently by society (Kara L. Barrett 3). Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Brönte is similar in many ways, it tells of the struggles of a young girl in a Victorian Society. Brönte wrote Jane Eyre as a way to show the mistreatment of women in the Victorian Era and how she very much disagrees with it. She contradicts the social beliefs of the time by showing the struggles of her character Jane but also showing how she is prosperous in the end.
Jane Eyre is centered around the character Jane, she is a child that does meet the standards of a child’s place. Many times in the book Jane is made out to be the bad guy because she is different and is not the perfect child. When Jane first met Mr. Brocklehurst her aunt warned him that Jane is a liar, “I should be glad if… above all, to guard her worst fault, a tendency to deceit”(Charlotte Brönte 30). Jane has never truly done anything to deserve punishment but because of her actions and how she stands up for herself she is looked at as an outcast or a disgrace to society. Not only does Brönte tell the struggle of Jane but she also tells the story of the people around her such as the girls in Lowood. Many of the other girls there suffered as well, they were sent to that school so that they would conform and be as society says they should be “Julia’s hair curls naturally… I wish these girls to be the children on Grace” ( Charlotte Brönte 64). Julia’s hair alone caused a dispute because her hair does not fit society standards. Even though it is her natural hair and she was born with curly hair, society says one should have straight hair. The Victorian Era had an ideal image for all young ladies, that they should be proper and only speak when spoken too. They should grow into grown woman that know their place in the household. Jane even chooses to not get married she follows her own wants rather than following the society norms.
Brönte contradicts the Victorian Era norms with a lot of her works including Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brönte contributes to the women’s right struggles with her work. She is one of the reasons that the movement for women’s right is even possible. She describes the life of mistreated and woman in the Victorian Era. Brönte herself goes against the normalities of the Era. She was a successful and popular author, who only became even more popular after her death.
When reading Jane Eyre and knowing some background on Charlotte Brönte, similarities can be noticed between Jane’s life and that of Brönte’s life. Such as the similarity of the schools, Charlotte Brönte went to a school with poor conditions that did not do much to look after the girls resulting in the death of her sisters and the same as well for Jane. Although it was not a sister she lost rather a friend die to the conditions of her school that she as well as Brönte soon after the incident. Both lost a parent, Jane lost both parents whereas Charlotte Brönte lost only her mother. They both took on the job of a governess. Brönte is not just merely telling the story of a character she made up but the story of her life. She speaks out against social norms of the Victorian Era by telling her life and telling the story of Jane Eyre by doing this and Jane Eyre so closely related to her own life she builds on how bad it was for women in the Victorian Era through her own eyes. Sometimes it can even seem as if Brönte made Jane out to be the way she should have been as a young girl. A young girl that is fierce and can stand up for herself against a whole society.
What We Can Learn from Jane Eyre discusses what sets Charlotte Brönte apart from many writers of the time and how in many ways her work is better. Brönte does not write like many Victorian writers during her time. Many modernist writers would agree that Victorian writers usually started off with a boring introduction and backstory of the character but Brönte did different. Brönte begins by starting her book of in medias res (in the middle) which cuts out much of the boring dialogue. She introduces Jane in a fierce way, which was unusual for a Victorian author (K.M. Weiland 54). She could have easily come out and say what kind of person Jane is but instead she chooses to present it more forcefully to show how passionate and smart Jane truly is. Brönte also does not just dump a whole bunch of exposition or background information into the book. She gives bits and pieces at a time as the story goes on and as she tells more and more of Jane’s story. Brönte even weaves just a little bit of backstory into Jane Eyre, where as many Victorians writers felt it was important to start with tons of backstory and information on the main character. She even introduces the type of character Jane is without directly writing it (K.M. Weiland 57).
Charlotte Brönte can be known as a female activist during the Victorian Era. Her story of Jane Eyre and much of her work contradicts the social beliefs of the time. She is not afraid to speak out against the unfair treatment of women in Victorian Britain. Through her character Jane she tells her own life story and many of the struggles she and other girls had to go through. Brönte writing Jane Eyre was her own resistance to the normalities of the Victorian Era, it is her way of saying that she does not agree with how poorly women are treated and she believes how things should change.
Symbolic Dimensions in The Great Gatsby And Jane Eyre By Thomas C. Foster
Application of Foster to Jane Eyre and The Great Gatsby
Reading literature like a professor requires being able to decipher both the obvious and inconspicuous aspects of a story. Every detail of an author’s writing is intentional and each angle of the story is integral to the central message he or she wants to get across to the audience. These deliberate components that add more dimension to the plot can be found in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
According to Thomas C. Foster, every trip, whether it is a simple journey to the grocery store or a dragon-slaying adventure, is a quest. Each quest has five parts: a questor, a place to go, a stated reason to go there, challenges and trials, and the real reason to go. In The Great Gatsby, the questor is the narrator who is a young man named Nick Carraway. He is pragmatic and caring. After getting an education at Yale and fighting in the first World War, Carraway decides to move from Minnesota to the West Egg of Long Island, New York (a place to go) to get involved in the bond business (a stated reason to go there). He doesn’t experience any significant problems during his physical journey from Minnesota to New York, but he faces some emotional and relational difficulties as he tries to adjust to his new life. Because Carraway was brought up with a moral compass, he experiences quite a bit of shock and disgust when he sees the lack of ethicality in people like the Buchanans, who are drowning in wealth and incapable of feeling compassion, or Jordan Baker, a competitive golfer who doesn’t have a sense of integrity. His revulsion for the attitudes of the affluent heightens after the Buchanans essentially exploit Carraway’s friend, Jay Gatsby. After Gatsby’s death, Daisy doesn’t even extend the courtesy of attending the funeral of the man who went through great lengths to make her happy, and Carraway ultimately decides to distance himself from the rich. Nick Carraway grows the most out of everybody who was involved in the entire fiasco between the Buchanans, the Wilsons, and Gatsby. He initially moves to New York to build himself a fortune but ultimately sees the ugliness that wealth can bring (the real reason to go there).
In the novel Jane Eyre, the questor is a young woman named Jane Eyre who is orphaned after her parents die of typhus. Jane embarks in multiple quests but the biggest and most life-changing journey begins when she decides to leave Lowood to become a governess at Thornfield. Her stated reason to go is to experience the world. Eyre is at the receiving end of abuse and neglect for a significant portion of her life and never has the chance of experiencing a true adventure. When she is living at the Reeds’, she is isolated, neglected, and abused. Most of her childhood is spent behind curtains and in the nursery. When she finally leaves the cruel household, her freedom is restricted by the Lowood school, where she follows a strict schedule for eight years. Eyre’s desire to leave Lowood (and her stated reason to embark on the quest) stems from her longing for a sense of excitement and thrill. Like Carraway, Eyre doesn’t experience any physical challenges during her journey to Thornfield, but she faces some emotional and relational obstacles during her stay. Eyre’s feelings for Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield, is the main source of her challenges. First, Eyre tries to suppress her love for Rochester because she is convinced that he is going to marry Blanche Ingram. When Rochester finally confesses his love for Eyre and asks for her hand in marriage, Eyre learns the truth about the Thornfield mystery. She doesn’t marry him because he is already married to a woman who is hidden on the third floor of the building because of her psychological disorder. Although Eyre technically embarks on another quest after she refuses to become Rochester’s mistress, the entire process of meeting St. John Rivers and rejecting his marriage proposal seems to be another obstacle that was presented during Eyre’s true journey towards happiness. Although by going to Thornfield Eyre was able to experience more of the world, the real reason for her journey was to find joy through her love for Edward Rochester.
Another prominent element in both novels that Foster addresses in How to Read Literature Like a Professor is the use of biblical allusions and the presence of a Christ figure. In The Great Gatsby, one of the most distinguished biblical themes alludes to the Parable of the Lost Sheep, which is about a shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine sheep to find the one that is lost. In this parable, Jay Gatsby resembles the shepherd, and Daisy Buchanan embodies the one lost sheep. The flock of ninety-nine that Gatsby abandons represents everything that isn’t Daisy; it represents his life. After meeting and falling in love with Daisy, Gatsby dedicates his entire being and livelihood to getting her back. Even though the more logical decision would be to protect the flock and to live his own life, Gatsby ignores all reason and practicality in order to pursue his blinding love for Daisy. Throughout the course of Carraway’s narration, Gatsby becomes a more distorted Christ figure as his obsession grows. In spite of Daisy’s numerous character flaws, Gatsby’s affection for her is unconditional and overflowing, much like how the Bible describes Jesus’ love for the sinners. He pursues her relentlessly until he makes the ultimate sacrifice: becoming the scapegoat for Daisy’s transgressions. After Daisy accidentally kills somebody while driving (who happens to be Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan’s mistress), Gatsby takes the blame out of his love and desire to protect Daisy. His choice to become the scapegoat was automatic and unquestioned, despite her failure to fully commit herself to him by leaving her husband. This led to Gatsby’s demise.
There are a number of biblical allusions that are integrated into the narrative of Jane Eyre’s life. A notable allusion is the idea of forgiveness. Eyre forgives Mrs. Reed for the first time in the novel after she recovers from the trauma of the Red Room when she writes, “Yes, Mrs. Reed, to you I owe some fearful pangs of mental suffering, but I ought to forgive you, for you knew not what you did: while rending my heart-strings, you thought you were only uprooting my bad propensities.” This sentence directly mirrors the words of Christ that were spoken after his crucifixion. Towards the end of the novel, Eyre forgives the Reeds, especially Mrs. Reed, and she also forgives Edward Rochester for lying to her about his marriage. Although Eyre exhibits some similarities with Christ, it isn’t enough to refer to her as the Christ figure of the novel. Helen Burns, who was Eyre’s first friend at Lowood, more closely relates to Christ that Eyre does. Unlike Eyre, Burns blindly follows her beliefs. She has an unwavering faith in a God and finds guidance and truth through this trust and her prayers. Burns’ most similar quality to Christ is her tolerance and her acceptance. She is humble and shows a great deal of humility to Eyre and the other students at Lowood. When she is beaten for trivial reasons, she “turns the other cheek.” Helen Burns had both an intellectual and spiritual influence on Eyre. Burns didn’t focus on worldly or materialistic things and unlike Eyre, she didn’t need to find adventure on earth because of her belief in the existence heaven. Because her faith was so ardent and compelling, Burns was able to remain peaceful even in her final moments.
A physical detail in the setting that was deeply symbolic was the weather. In The Great Gatsby, the weather reflects the inner emotions of the characters but in Jane Eyre, it is used to foreshadow future events. A significant change in weather takes place when Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan finally reunite at the home of Nick Carraway. It rains during almost the entire encounter. According to Foster, rain can be used as a plot device. Gatsby and Daisy are forced to be in the same place because of the rain. When Daisy meets Gatsby for the first time in many years, Gatsby is all wet because of the rain. Because of rain’s isolating quality, Gatsby’s soaked clothes may represent his emotions during the years he spent without the love of his life. The rain may also be a sign of regrowth in the relationship between the two people because a heavy rainfall is often associated with spring and the blooming of all kinds of plants. Every time it rains in the novel, there seems to be a major change in Gatsby’s life. For example, he was able to meet Dan Cody because of an incoming storm. Gatsby’s initial encounter with Dan Cody acted as a catalyst and led him to build himself a fortune.
Foreshadowing through changes in the weather is prevalent in Jane Eyre’s story. The weather tends to be gloomy or somber when Eyre’s about to experience unhappiness. When the weather is bright, she is about to hear good news. In the very first chapter, Eyre cannot go on a walk due to the penetrating rain. Jane then describes the alienation and isolation she endures under the Reeds and later gets abused by John. An altercation between the two ensues and Eyre is sent to the Red Room, where she loses consciousness. The rain returns when Jane spends her first night at Lowood, indicating that she wouldn’t be happy there. Eyre later expresses that Lowood isn’t able to satiate her desire for adventure and decides to leave. The most symbolic storm in the novel occurs after Rochester proposes to Eyre. Shortly after Eyre accepts the marriage proposal, the storm forces the two to head back into the house. During the middle of the night, the chestnut tree which was the site of the proposal is struck by lightning and splits in half. This not only represents intense emotional turmoil for Jane but also foreshadows the end of her relationship with Rochester. Foster addressed the paradox of rain, which is its tendency to make a large mess in spite of how clean the rain itself is. While the storm represents a devastating turn in Eyre’s relationship, it also resembles the truth. Soon, all of the lies will be completely washed away and the truth will be clear but the rain will leave the land with nothing but debris and destruction.
Eyre’s sudden change in her social status is accompanied by a snowstorm. When she gets a knock at the of her humble home after running away from Rochester and taking a job at a school for poor children, Eyre discovers the Rivers’ true identity and finally hears some news about her uncle. St. John’s full name is John Eyre Rivers, which makes him Eyre’s cousin, and her uncle, who died a few weeks ago, left all of his assets to her. This is wonderful news to Eyre after a series of unfortunate events and she is more delighted by the discovery of family members than by the sudden improvement of her wealth. The snowstorm represents a fresh start for Eyre. After a snowstorm it seems like the entire outside world is covered in clean white snow, as if the earth has literally turned into a blank canvas. With the snowstorm and the joyful news, Jane is able to start anew with her family and her wealth, which she divides among her cousins and herself.
The elements of a quest, biblical allusions, Christ figures, and weather are only a small sample of ways authors enrich literature with meaning. Each story has a myriad of symbolic dimensions that are open for exploration and following the guide by Thomas C. Foster is only the beginning of learning how to decipher literature with the nuanced thinking and detailed observation of a professor. Whether the novel is as short as The Great Gatsby or as lengthy as Jane Eyre, each description is intentional and integral to the storyline.
Female Protagonists:“Emma” by Jane Austen and “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë
Commentary on “Emma” by Jane Austen and “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, comparing the ways in which both passages introduce possible suitors
In both “Emma” and “Jane Eyre”, we are told a story of two female characters who are dealing with the prospect of being involuntarily partnered with a male suitor. Austen and Brontë portray their female protagonists as erring between opinions about the potential suitors and through contradiction they produce a sense of undecided emotions for Emma and Jane Eyre.
Austen and Brontë create different situations for Emma and Jane Eyre, which creates an instant foresight into how the characters are feeling about their suitors. In Emma, Austen provides a large amount of detail in her description of the setting, for example when she writes, “The charming Augusta Hawkins… of so many thousands that would always be called ten;”. This quotation represents one major clause of a very long sentence and by using sentences of such length and including such verbose vocabulary, Austen gives the impression that, despite Emma’s dissatisfaction, the situation is not an emergency and Emma does not seem desperate. On the other hand, Brontë uses short, broken up clauses to create a sense of urgency and the requirement of stealth felt by Jane Eyre, for example when she writes, “and he is occupied too; perhaps if I walk softly, I can slip away unnoticed.” The use of punctuation to split up the sentence creates an image of Jane Eyre panicking and, the brevity of the clauses could reference her short of breath as she is scared of being seen.
Brontë also creates a closer insight into Jane Eyre’s emotions by writing in the first person. The character-lead narrative offers a very personal perspective for the readers and eliminates any sense of prejudice by a narrator figure as the readers are hearing the unspoilt thoughts of Jane Eyre. Austen writes in the third person which creates a much greater distance and emotional detachment between the readers and Emma. This, as opposed to the use of the first person in “Jane Eyre”, means that there is a chance that the personal opinions and emotions of Emma may be altered or even omitted by the narrator. The use of the third person, in my opinion, limits the level of sympathy that the readers can feel for Emma because they have lost sight of the personal inner emotions of the protagonist and can no longer tell whether what they are being told is genuine. We see this when Austen writes, “She was, in fact, beginning very much to wonder that she had ever thought him pleasing at all;”. The effect on the readers is definitely different from the one which is created by Brontë in “Jane Eyre”, because the feeling of low self-value that Emma is feeling is lost because we are not told how Emma is feeling by Emma herself whereas, despite being written under a male pseudonym, most would argue that Jane Eyre displays a clear insight into female psychology, written so convincingly because of its female author.
The uses of the first and third persons by the authors offers up an interesting insight into the customs of the time. Both texts were written in the early to mid-nineteenth century, when the industrial revolution was beginning to take shape, and when the opinions and values of women were treated very differently, despite the changes in the organisation of the country’s economic management. At the time, women were expected to marry somebody chosen by her parents without resistance, and then to conform to whatever her new and involuntary husband wants her to do. We can see a clear following of this custom by Emma as she seems not to have her own opinion because it is being told to us by an external narrator. However, contrary to the customs of the time, Jane Eyre appears to be hiding from her potential suitor, Mr. Rochester. This is a much more urgent cry for help in that Jane Eyre is using her own voice. Brontë introduces a vivid sense of smell by using words such as “sweet-briar and southernwood”. The identification of Mr. Rochester from these specific smells, Brontë familiarises the readers with the suitor which also adds to Jane Eyre’s desperation because the readers feel acquainted with the man from which she is running.
Both protagonists contradict their initial opinions on their suitors, and seem to experience a significant inner conflict. In Emma, Austen gives a very glowing introduction to Mr. Elton, calling him “a very happy man,” who has changed his life from being “rejected and mortified,” to “gay and self-satisfied.” Austen’s use of hendiadys and anaphora when she repeats, “he came,” and writes phrases such as “eager and busy.” The use of more than one word to fulfil one purpose further highlights the lack of urgency felt by Emma. Then, later on in the passage, the narrator tells us that “she would have been thankful to be assured of never seeing him again.” This vacillation appears to contradict my initial thought about Emma conforming to the customs of the time because now Emma’s opinions have changed and are being shared. We also see some contradictory opinions in “Jane Eyre”. Initially, Mr. Rochester is presented as quite terrifying, implied by the fact that Jane Eyre appears to be hiding from him. Brontë uses the phrase, “that the crackle of the pebbly gravel might not betray me.” This implies severe consequences for her if she is to be found out by Mr. Rochester. However, when Mr. Rochester does discover Jane Eyre, his language appears friendly and approachable when he says, “Jane, come and look at this fellow.” Brontë uses a very short paragraph and then a longer one with a very fast pace to create suspense. The delay of the final line also emphasises the contrast between Brontë’s initial presentation of Mr. Rochester, and the one we have now seen.
The Final Step to Maturity
The bildungsroman Jane Eyre details the maturation both psychologically and morally of a girl in Victorian era Britain. Morally, Jane evolves from being vengeful and angry to being balanced and moral. Moreover, In the beginning of the novel Jane Eyre is kept in the lowest position of power by her aunt and cousin, however as the story progresses she finds her independence and learns to assert herself. A pivotal moment in Jane’s journey to maturity is when she gets married to Edward Rochester at the end of the novel. Her marriage is important because it is the first time she becomes equal to or more powerful than someone else.
Throughout the novel Jane is kept in a position of lesser power. At the very start of the book Jane is oppressed by her aunt, who punishes her when she tries to think for herself or be independent. Once again at the Lowood School Mr. Brocklehurst intimidates and belittles Jane and even further in the novel St. John attempts to pressure Jane into marrying him. Moreover, the first time Jane attempted to marry Edward Rochester, Jane is still less powerful as she was dependant on him. However, when Jane returns to Rochester after the fire they are equals. Jane having made friends and gaining her own money is now independent and doesn’t need to rely on Rochester and can now marry him as an equal.
Additionally, Jane’s wedding also exhibits her moral maturity. When Jane was young and living with her aunt she had a very vengeful attitude and believed that being abused was better than being poor. As she grows up she learns from peers that being loved is better than being in a higher social class and that respect can be earned however does not lose the fierce aspect of her personality. When Jane attempts to marry Rochester for the first time she didn’t know he was already married, however when Jane realizes this she refuses to wed him or become his mistress. Jane only accepts marrying him once he becomes single again. Furthermore, Jane marries him only when she can provide for herself and he loses his hand and his sight, proving she wanted to marry him out of love.
At the beginning of the novel Jane is a very angry and mistreated girl. Throughout the novel Jane is dependant on other characters and put in subordinate positions. However, when Jane marries Rochester they are equals because Jane is independant. Jane also morally developed as she doesn’t become Rochester’s mistress, and only marries him once he is single. She also doesn’t marry him until she is self sufficient insuring that she is marrying him only for love.
Jane Eyre As an Appropriate Heroine Of The Feminist Movement
A literary hero is often defined as “a character in a literary work, especially the leading male/female character, who is especially virtuous, usually larger than life, sometimes almost godlike” (W.W. Norton). These characters also often embody the ideals their culture.
In the mid-nineteenth century, a typical woman would have carried the burden of “staying in her place.” In other words, she was subject to the universally established standards and social roles that society had traditionally placed upon her. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre depicts Jane Eyre as a feminist heroine of the 19th century. At a time when women depended on men financially and socially and were considered as property only useful for family life and marriage. Yet if Charlotte Bronte’s iconic character Jane Eyre had, in fact, existed in that time period, she would have defied most of these cultural standards and proved herself a prime example for aspiring feminists of her day. Jane would have adequately represented their unique version of a mighty heroine. Jane’s profound commitment to dignity, independence, freedom of choice, unwillingness to submit to a man’s emotional power and eager willingness to speak her mind represents sufficient evidence of why Jane Eyre remains undoubtedly a fictional heroine of the feminist cause.
It could be respectively said Jane is a “bad” feminist. However, it’s impossible to naturally suggest that a novel written in the 19th century should perfectly fit the mold of what 21st-century feminism should be. Feminism is a social movement powered by people, and because it is powered by people, it can have its faults. Alternatively, literature should function as an education in how modern society has evolved tremendously since the 1840s. We should thoughtfully look at how Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte fit and instantly broke the molds within that time. Maybe in a contemporary Jane Eyre, Jane would say sternly “bye” to Rochester and move to better herself in ways that didn’t involve marriage, but Jane Eyre and its enduring can teach us the poetic beauty of being both true to ourselves, whether we genuinely want to be a budding entrepreneur or a housewife/husband or both and still be an outspoken feminist.
The key point of feminism is not that women are better than men or don’t require men or should shun all of society for some new creation – it’s that women are equal and have a choice. Just as some voluntarily choose to be devoted moms and excellent teachers and gentle nurses still to this glorious day although they are “traditional feminine roles,” does not conclude them less worthy feminists and legendary heroines. Jane Eyre is an appropriate heroine of the feminist movement because she embodies the value of feminism which is equal social, political, intellectual and economic right for both men and women.
Dualistic Exploration of Marriage and Love in Bronte’s Novel
Throughout Jane Eyre, the themes of love and marriage are presented in contrasting ways. In the Lowood education system, Brocklehurst preaches the evangelically tainted message of ‘mortify[ing]… the lusts of the flesh’ in preparation for the majority of the girls having professions as governesses, in which they would be expected to restrain their passions. However, as the narrative develops and Jane encounters Rochester, many of the ideals of the usual Victorian mantras are challenged.
Towards the start of Jane’s time at Thornfiled, she reproaches herself for her infatuation with Rochester and compares herself to Blanche Ingram. In context of the time, Jane, as a governess, would have been placed in an awkward social position, as governesses were considered to be members neither of the upper classes nor of the serving lower classes. Therefore, their role was ill defined as members of the female working class, placing them on the fringes of society. This view is reflected in Jane’s depiction of her own appearance as a ‘dependent and a novice’, showing her to be without freedom and unworldly in comparison to Rochester, who is a ‘man of the world’. This juxtaposition of descriptions sets Jane apart from Rochester due to her inexperience and lack of financial wealth. Also, this extract supports the views of Vaughon, who says that ‘Jane Eyre epitomises the spirit of a passionate heroine, desperately trying to reconcile her desire for love and acceptance with the religious and social doctrines of the Victorian era.’ Jane states that ‘it is madness in all women to let a secret love kindle’, which in relation to narrative style becomes a universal social comment that women should suppress their passionate emotions. The verb ‘kindle’ also has connotations of destruction in relation to fire, which indicates that passion and love are in themselves destructive to women. This metaphor is extended in that passion will ‘devour the life that feeds it’, drawing from the semantic field of appetite to imply that love as a force is deadly, which relates back to Brocklehurst’s teachings as found at Lowood. In fact, around the time the novel was written, Sarah Stricken Ellis stated that it was a woman’s ‘high and holy duty to look after the minor morals of life’, therefore expressing the concept that it is a woman’s duty to restrain passion and base desires, as men do not have the capacity to do so. This view is reflected in Jane’s metaphorical, artistic image of portraiture – ‘Portrait of a Governess, disconnected, poor and plain.’ – which becomes emblematic of the contrast between Jane and Blanche, who is described a ‘an accomplished lady of rank.’ Here, Jane degrades her own status through the use of harsh adjectives as a method of repressing her own feelings and using sense to dictate her emotions. In this regard, the novel’s presentation of marriage is conventional, as this implies that Blanche is better suited to Rochester because of the financial and physical differences between Blanche and Jane.
On the other hand, as the relationship between Jane and Rochester begins to progress, Jane Eyre does begin to challenge some conventions (particularly those of religious origins) which present a boundary between Jane and Rochester. During the conversation preceding Rochester’s first marriage proposal, Woolf’s view that ‘we are conscious of a woman’s presence – of someone resenting the treatment of her sex and pleading for its rights’ is expressed through Jane’s language. Bronte continues her motif of bird imagery in Jane’s metaphor ‘I am no bird; no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will’. This assertion of her independence over her ‘master’ would have been considered highly unorthodox in the context of Victorian society. Rochester, as the ‘giver and protector’, socially has power and authority over his employees; however, Jane chooses to place her integrity over her temptation in the search for her ‘liberty’. She continues to challenge these perceptions through questioning both Rochester’s, and by extension society’s, perceptions of the lower classes: ‘Do you think I am an automation? – a machine without feelings?’. Here, it is suggested that the upper classes perceive the lower classes as unemotional, mechanical beings, yet Jane indicates a need for equality of understanding, the absence of which presents a barrier in their relationship. From a religious perspective, Bronte also challenges the Victorian norm of accepting that God dictates social standing, a view which is expressed in hymns of the time such as Alexander’s ‘All Things Bright And Beautiful’ – ‘God made them high and lowly, and ordered their estate’. Jane states however that if she and Rochester ‘stood at Gods feet, equal – as we are!’, then their ‘spirits’ would recognise each other. Contrary to Alexander’s view, Jane not only suggests that it is possible for a man and woman to be equal, but also that those from different social standings may achieve equality. Therefore, the extract itself may be seen to support Woolf’s view due to Jane’s ‘retort’ against the Victorian mantra.
In another section of the novel, however, during Jane and Rochester’s engagement, Jane is taken dress shopping in Milcote by Rochester so that she will have appropriate clothes for her station as his wife. But, Jane expresses discomfort with Rochester’s desire to make her conform to social conventions of appearance due to her financial inequality and social standing. This view may be exposed through the use of syntax in Jane’s depiction of Rochester – ‘my master and lover’s eye.’ The placing of ‘master’ before ‘lover’ here may be an indication as to Jane’s mindset: i.e. Rochester is Jane’s master before anything else. It may also be argued that the term ‘master’ is ambiguous, connoting both employer and controlling partner, doubling degrading Jane’s status. Jane expresses emotions of ‘annoyance and degradation’ regarding her financial dependency, illustrating her inner conflict over conforming to a woman’s role within Victorian Society as a housewife figure, while wishing for her own ‘liberty’. This may be due to the context of the time, as under the Pre-‘Married Women’s Property Act’ 1870, a woman’s property could only remain her own so long as she remained unmarried. This meant that all of her property, wages, inheritance and money belonged to the husband, which may offer a reason for Jane’s want of independence. Worrall’s statement ‘Jane “refused to subscribe to the Victorian mantra”’ supports this concept, as does Jane’s use of simile in this extract. She states that she is ‘sitting like a Second Danae’, making a classical allusion in reference to a maiden who was seduced by the king of the Gods in Greek mythology. In this story, Jove appears to Danae as a shower of gold while she is imprisoned, which may become a metaphor for the materialistic struggle between Jane and Rochester. However, despite Jane’s comparison to an imprisoned female, her own emotions contradict this image as she is in fact rebelling against her inferiority.
Overall, Bronte explores the themes of love and marriage through both conventional and unconventional settings. While Jane initially subscribes to Victorian mantra regarding both her gender and social status in marriage through the repression of her base desires, once the engagement between Jane and Rochester takes place Bronte begins to lift the lid on the taboo subject concerning a woman’s rights within a relationship. It may also be argued that, with the conclusion ‘reader, I married him’, Jane eventually subscribes to the societal expectations of her. Nonetheless, because Jane is the subject of the sentence with the pronoun ‘I’, Jane may be seen to gain her independence in her marriage.
A Persona in a Setting
In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the setting is used as a tool to reflect the hardships its protagonist, Jane Eyre, experiences. The locations Jane resides in play an integral part in determining what actions she is to take next. Her transient residencies demonstrate her restless desire to find a purpose in life while respecting the nineteenth-century social codes that restrict her. She strives to maintain her self-respect, but is aware of the conventional subservience of woman she is expected to uphold in the Victorian-era England. The constantly changing setting is a manifestation of Jane Eyre’s struggle to find a permanence that satiates her desire for self-fulfillment.
It is from Gateshead Hall, the home of her prejudice and insensitive aunt, where Jane begins her journey. The opening of its gates is symbolic of her casting off into the world to experience life independent of guidance. She leaves at the break of dawn and “whirl[s] away toÖremote and mysterious regions”, signifying the beginning of a new life unrestrained by familial ties (35). Her arrival at Lowood, a restrictive boarding school, begins during a bitter winter “stiffened in frost, shrouded with snowÖ[with] mists as chill as death” which mirrors the miserable loneliness of adjusting to the school’s oppressive routine. As the years pass, Jane realizes that experiences essential to her aesthetic needs “lay all outside the high and spike-guarded walls” (68), and that she must break with her life of uniformity to “seek real knowledgeÖamidst [the world’s] perils” (77).
The change of scene, the “quiet and lonely hills [that] embrace Thornfield”, where Jane is a governess, offers hope in her search for self-fulfillment (91). The lack of formality under the proprietor, Rochester, allows her candor to be expressed without consciousness of restraint. The “splendid Midsummer [with] skies so pure, suns so radiant” reflects the contentment she feels at Thornfield Hall as an equal with Rochester (234). She is shaken from her complacency, however, with the discovery of his first wife, who is plagued with insanity. As the madness of Rochester’s wife slowly spreads its influence over Thornfield, so too the “black clouds were casting up over [the sea and] the moon was setting in the waves, broad and red, like a hot cannon-ball” (293). Jane decides to leave because “the more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained [she is], the more [she] will respect [herself]” (302). In search of a happiness that does not transgress the laws of God, she departs from Thornfield with the rising of the sun, symbolic of another life she must move on from.
After leaving Thornfield, Jane’s transitory dwelling is Whitcross, a stone pillar where four roads meet. This crossroads represents Jane’s aimlessness and uncertainty of where her life might lead her, as well as the vulnerability of her situation; she realizes that until this point she has been financially dependent of others. Moor House, where her three cousins live and where she takes up residency, is a humble abode “very plainly furnished, yet comfortable” (328). Its modesty contrasts with the grandeur of Thornfield, but Jane is able to “comprehend the feeling, and share both its strength and truth. [There were] so many pure and sweet sources of pleasure” (334). She develops an intimacy with Moor House, its inhabitants as well as its pastoral land. Jane’s last residency is in the manor-house of Ferndean, where “so thick and dark grew the timber of the gloomy wood about it” (411). The manor-house, where she cares for a handicapped Rochester, is secluded within “a heavy frame of the forest” (412). This final dwelling reflects the closure of her journey, the permanence she has been searching for since her departure from Gateshead.
Jane Eyre’s constant movement reflects her inner struggle to preserve personal integrity in her search for a self-fulfilling happiness. Her mobility finally leads her to a marriage with Rochester in a heavily secluded manor-house. It is here that she at last discovers “what it is to live entirely for and with what [she] love[s] best on earth” (431). She has found her happiness in being with Rochester, and it is with this conviction that her journey in search of permanence ends with the closing of the forest’s iron gates.