Jane Eyre

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Emotions over Rationality: Jane Eyre’s Final Chapter

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

The protagonist and titular character in Jane Eyre faces an interesting decision in the final chapters of the novel. Jane’s cousin, the missionary St. John Rivers, presents her with the proposal that she marry him and accompany him on a mission to India; however, her heart is with Mr. Rochester, the master of the manor at which she used to work. This brings about a dilemma for Jane: if she abandons missionary work, it may seem as if she is abandoning God. In this struggle between conscience and passion, passion is victorious, a victory that fits in well with the rest of the novel. However, the element of conscience that lost out to passion may not truly have represented conscience in the first place.

It is clear that Jane made the decision of passion in her choice between conscience and passion in the final chapters. St. John continually attempts to push Jane into coming with him to India for missionary work, even saying, “Do not forget that if you reject [my offer], it is not me you deny, but God”. Jane, however, does not want to accompany him; much less does she want to accompany him as his wife, as she does not love him. Indeed, she clings to the love of someone else: “I heard a voice somewhere cry – “Jane! Jane! Jane!”— nothing more… It was the voice of a human being—a known, loved, well-remembered voice—that of Edward Fairfax Rochester; and it spoke in pain and woe, wildly, eerily, urgently. ‘I am coming!’ I cried. ‘Wait for me!’” Clearly this display is of an illusion that Jane has forced upon herself, an illusion reflecting her passion and establishing her will to return to Rochester as the decision of passion, opposed to the decision of conscience in accompanying St. John. Jane, however, is her own woman, and despite St. John’s insistence otherwise – e.g. “The interest you cherish is lawless and unconsecrated” – Jane’s passion is unwavering. In returning to Rochester, Jane has clearly made the decision of passion.

St. John Rivers and Jane’s would-be journey to India with him represent the decision of conscience, but in actuality this is something of a sham. St. John Rivers is not presented as the best, most moral character in the novel, not by a far reach. Jane actually describes him as follows: “He was in reality become no longer flesh, but marble; his eye was a cold, bright, blue gem; his tongue a speaking instrument—nothing more.” Such a description certainly doesn’t conjure up the image of a determined man of the Lord; it actually hearkens back to the description of Mr. Brocklehurst: “I looked up at—a black pillar… the grim face at the top was like a carved mask, placed above the shaft by way of capital”. Recall that Mr. Brocklehurst was a person of unabashed hypocrisy, preaching modesty, poverty, and self-inflicted shame and subsequently engaging in just the opposite, as observed by the narrator in the following passage: “‘I have to teach [the girls] to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety, not with braided hair and costly apparel…’ Mr. Brocklehurst was here interrupted: three other visitors, ladies, now entered the room. They ought to have come a little sooner to have heard his lecture on dress, for they were splendidly attired in velvet, silk, and furs… These ladies were deferentially received by Miss Temple, as Mrs. and the Misses Brocklehurst.” The similarity in descriptions of Mr. Brocklehurst and St. John Rivers is definitely not a ringing endorsement of him and his journey. As such, it seems quite possible that the decision of conscience that Jane could have made would not have been such a decision anyway.

The decision that Jane makes in the final few chapters melds well with the rest of the novel. Jane always was her own woman, eschewing a life of richness and that of a cushy, hypocritical version of religiosity. The one occasion when she strayed from this path was when she was a very young child and said she wouldn’t want to live with her own poor relatives even if they were nice, and she explains this decision away more than satisfactorily: “Poverty looks grim to grown people; still more so to children: they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectable poverty”. Other than this occasion, Jane continually shows her lack of need for wealth and the more corrupt, more tangibly rewarding version of religion, as displayed by her having enthusiasm for her new family as opposed to enthusiasm for the money she learns she has inherited: “It seemed I had found a brother… and two sisters… This was wealth indeed!—wealth to the heart… not like the ponderous gift of gold”. The overall message of the book as exemplified in that passage seems to be that one need not walk the socially-acceptable, traditional path to achieve happiness; the people who were most traditionally considered “best” at the time of this novel’s penning were the rich and the religious, and in fact, both of those groups are portrayed mainly as antagonistic in Jane Eyre. Jane’s final decision fits in neatly with this theme; just because she did not accompany St. John to India does not mean that she is a bad, disreputable person, she simply followed a different path.

All in all, Jane’s decision between passion and conscience is an important decision; her choice of passion reaffirms many themes earlier presented in the novel. By choosing Rochester and thus her own path one more time, she cements the theme that pervades the entirety of the novel: the path most commonly travelled is not necessarily the only, or best, path.

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166

The Symbolism Of Fire And Ice In Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

In the gothic romance novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, there are many references to the imagery of both fire and ice in the plot. The images of fire and ice provide positive and negative implications and connotations alternatively. For instance, those implies depends on a character’s mood, the state of situations, and their actions. Through the development of Jane’s character, Bronte maintains the right balance between those images while preserving the character’s thoughts. Bronte’s use of the imagery of the fire and ice does describe not only Jane’s emotions but also the correlation of society.

The imagery of fire creates multiple nuances in this novel. Some readers often relate fire to passion, rebellion, and anger, while others view it as warmth and comfort of home. Bronte uses outstanding fire imagery through the development of Jane. This symbolism begins at the house of Mrs. Reed, in Gateshead. Jane first describes Mrs. Reed, who is her aunt, and her family. The Reed family gathers around the fireplace, and then she even describes them as perfectly happy. However, Jane is isolated from the rest of the family and the warmth of the fireside, “…she lay reclined on a sofa by the fireside, and with her darlings about her”. Also, the Reed family considers Jane too spiteful to enjoy the privilege: “she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children”. Bronte describes the panes of glass “protecting, but not separating…”. This winter landscape and the Reed family portray the cold, emotionless views from society.

Whereas fire is figuratively involved in illustrating the rage towards her mistreatment, ice imagery is used to symbolize the loneliness and desolation. Other relevant images of fire and ice are invoked in the scene where Jane is locked in the red-room. The red room is described as deep red and crimson, which are known colors of fire and heat. Jane describes the red room as being very cold by saying, “I grew by degrees cold as stone”. When Mrs. Reed locks Jane in the red room, she is also locking Jane’s passionate nature in with the cold emotion that tempers Jane’s rage: “My heartbeat thick, my head grew hot: a sound filled my ears…”. Society wants people to act “normal,” and anyone who thinks outside of the box is considered “abnormal.” The room portrays Jane’s passion and symbolizes how Jane’s fiery personality sets apart from society. Jane believes that if she were to follow the norms of society by acting unemotional and cold, it would destroy her passion. Thus, this scene exemplifies the way society thinks about how people should behave.

Throughout the story, Bronte develops physical evidence that symbolizes Jane’s struggle of balancing the fire and ice in order to survive because the fiery nature that keeps Jane’s passion is portrayed as repulsive in society. The first evidence is Mr.Rochester, who embodies the fire, which has the potential to burn and destroy Jane’s life. After her first meeting with Mr.Rochester, numerous fire imagery appears: “… should have shunned them as one would fire, lightning, or anything else that is bright but antipathetic”. Rochester is not only the fire that creates warmth but also represented as temptation. Although Jane realizes the fire that burns within her, she refuses Rochester to achieve maturity. However, Rochester encourages Jane’s passion by choosing it over the “perspective of flatness, triviality, and perhaps imbecility, coarseness, and ill-temper”. Inconceivably, this is the first time anyone other than Jane herself accepts and appreciates the fire.

On the contrary, the character of St. John is represented as ice. He is both physically and emotionally lack of warmth and passion. Jane describes his physical features as pale and icy “…his high forehead, colourless as ivory”. St.John is rational, does not let any feeling and passion affect his thoughts and decisions. Bronte uses the imagery of ice, which keeps Jane away from St.John, “I am cold: no fervour infects me”. Jane does not want her passion taken away by him; thus, she refuses him by saying, “Whereas I am hot, and fire dissolves ice”. Jane wants to keep her passion and fire within her to make her feel alive in society.

Bronte demonstrates the danger of uncontrolled passion by introducing the character of Bertha, who is Rochester’s first wife. The physical threat of fire is represented when Bertha sets fire, and it leads to the demolition of both Thornfield and Mr.Rochester. Bertha vividly shows how unruled and untamed passion can be destructive. The destruction of Thornfield allows Jane to manage and control the fire and passion within Rochester.

By making fire and ice a prominent symbol in Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte correlates with its meaning with society. The lack of fire and light causes loneliness and desolation. The imagery of fire can be a comforting yet passionate force that gives Jane a reason to be alive even if it separates her from society. Though uncontrolled fire can be destructive, it enables Jane to start a new life with Rochester. Through the development of the characters, Bronte shows the needs of the balance of both warmth and coldness within society.

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Jealousy in Jane Eyre, ‘For My Lover Returning to his Wife’, and ‘After the Lunch’

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

Across Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and ‘For My Lover, Returning to His Wife’ by Anne Sexton, jealousy is presented as both resulting in self-deprecation and anger. Whereas in ‘After the Lunch’ by Wendy Cope a form of love that does not contain jealousy, but does present love in a similar way to the form of love which jealousy takes over in the other texts. Bronte presents jealousy as causing self-deprecation, while the other, modern writers maintain radically different views.

In Jane Eyre, Jane becomes jealous of Mr Rochester’s courtship of Miss Ingram. Bronte presents to us that Jane has not yet realised her self-worth. Contextually the society of 1848 would have negatively viewed the marriage of two individuals from different classes, so Jane’s jealousy is emphasised through society’s expectation of Mr Rochester to marry Miss Ingram. This jealousy manifests itself through a comparison by Jane of herself to Miss Ingram in which she focuses on Aesthetics. Bronte emphasises this jealousy of aesthetics though Jane’s portraits, where Jane excessively emphasises the material differences between the two women. Underneath the portrait of herself, Jane writes ‘Portrait of a Governess, disconnected, poor, and plain’ and underneath her portrait of Miss Ingram she writes ‘Blanche, an accomplished lady of rank’. This shows that Jane hasn’t yet learned the value of her own spiritual and intellectual superiority. Jane describes herself, “I am poor, obscure, plain, and little” showing clear self-deprecation as a direct result of her jealousy.

Sexton also presents jealousy as casing self-deprecation in the individual. ‘For My Lover, Returning to His Wife’ presents the mistress’ jealousy of her lover’s wife. The jealousy itself can be seen in the possessive nature of the title, through Sexton’s use of ‘my’ and ‘his’ which are possessive pronouns. This jealousy leads her to blame herself, Sexton presents this through a semantic field of self-deprecation. During the 1960s when this poem was published the sexual revolution was affecting western culture and influencing society. This poem presents a side to an affair rarely before seen due to the sexually repressed society that existed before the mid-1900s. While this poem presents sexual liberation, it also presents the consequences of this love that the mistress has for her lover cannot continue as he is already married, leading to her jealousy. A contemporary reader would view the presentation from the mistress’ view as shocking as adultery was no longer seen as taboo but still disapproved of. Equally, due to the sexual liberation of the era, they may not be surprised by the voice of the mistress shown within the poem.

However, jealousy is presented as causing anger in these texts also. In ‘For My Lover, Returning to His Wife’ the speaker seems controlled, but occasionally explodes, “bitch” is used by Sexton to show her rage escaping from the steady and controlled structure of the poem. Additionally, Sexton wrote this in free verse which allows the rambling thoughts that are comorbid with jealousy to be presented through the voice of the mistress. In this way, anger is presented as being caused by jealousy. Furthermore, in Jane Eyre, Jealousy also manifests itself in anger and rage. Bertha resents Jane and Rochester’s love as she is held captive by Rochester making their love impossible. In regarding Jane and Rochester, Bertha sees their love develop and this causes her to become jealous. Bertha’s “unchaste” sexual desire results in her jealousy of Jane, as it is Jane who Rochester wishes to marry. Bertha sees this desire of Rochester’s to marry Jane as a direct threat to herself as Mr Rochester’s first wife. Bertha’s jealous rage is presented by Bronte in the destructive fires that Bertha lights. In Bertha’s final and successful attempt to burn down Thornfield, she starts the fire in Jane’s old room. This act directly reflecting her resentment of Jane and Rochester’s love through her jealousy, “Bertha escaped and set Jane’s old bedroom on fire.” Contextually, the fires would be blamed on Bertha’s insanity due to the repression of sexuality that led to Bertha’s imprisonment in the attic. However, it can be argued that Bronte uses the metaphor of fire to show the destruction jealousy can cause. Although in ‘After the Lunch’ Cope presents a preliminary form of love, in which the speaker realises they’re in love. This is presented through a battle between the head and the heart, “The head does its best but the heart is the boss”. The speaker rejects reason and logical thought as love here is presented as not being logical. The speaker here in rejecting their “head” and following their “heart” puts themselves in a position similar to the character driven by jealousy in the other texts due to jealousy being emotional and illogical also. However in this poem Cope emphasises a preliminary form of reciprocated love and falling in love. This directly contrasts to these other forms of love that are presenting a further stage of love where jealousy has taken control.

In all three texts, jealousy is presented as having different consequences. No single text took one approach to jealousy. Both Jane Eyre and ‘For My Lover, Returning to His Wife’ looked at anger and self-deprecation in relation to jealousy. Additionally in ‘After the Lunch’ Cope also presents a jealousy but contrastingly through a lack of jealousy but with the emotional vulnerability presented through the other texts.

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277

The Evolution of Rochester’s Character

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

In the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, characters develop and change considerably; in particular, the character of Mr. Rochester demonstrates this clear character development. Mr. Rochester initially appears to be a profoundly unlikable person, one who acts with disregard towards others and follows a moral code that serves his best interests. He blatantly uses others in order to benefit himself. He lacks the ability to consider the consequences of his actions. Moreover, he seems ignorant to the hurt he causes and carries on with his life as though he has done nothing for which he must repent; he consistently acts deceitfully and betrays even the people he claims to love, ultimately driving people away from him. It seems that he has no intention to stop his behavior and appears satisfied with his condition in life. However, when he loses everything he considers valuable, he recognizes the countless mistakes he made and must fully accept the consequences of his behavior. Only by losing everything that gave him a sense of entitlement, does Mr. Rochester evolve from a man who acts only in his best interest to a caring and genuine person, as his experience forces him to repent for his past actions and realize humility.

Mr. Rochester initially presents himself as self-centered; he does not recognize or pay attention to the fact that his poor treatment of others has negative effects. The day he plans to marry Jane serves as a perfect example of his lack of regard for others. As Jane prepares for her wedding, Mr. Rochester does not disguise his frustration when he calls for Jane by yelling out to her in the same manner he would address a servant. “‘Jane!’ called a voice, and I hastened down. I was received at the foot of the stairs by Mr. Rochester. ‘Lingerer,’ he said, ‘my brain is on fire with impatience; and you tarry so long!’”(429). He shows his disrespect in the tone of voice and words he chooses. Jane always reacts when she hears Mr. Rochester speak, regardless of the tone he uses. When Mr. Rochester shows love towards Jane, she describes his demeanor romanticly, but in this case it startles her because he yells out brusquely. Throughout the novel, Jane never refers to the sound of Mr. Rochester’s voice as just a “voice,” but rather something more meaningful. She responds to his impatience immediately, exemplifying the power he holds over her as a result of his past behavior. She hurries down in an effort to please him and fears his anger. In addition, Jane points out that Mr. Rochester “received” her, almost as if he considers her an object. This further proves Mr. Rochester’s tendency to act in a condescending manner. As soon as he sees her, he immediately criticizes her. Of all the statements he could say upon seeing his bride for the first time on their wedding day, he chooses a negative one. He continues to express his irritation and seems determined to make her aware of what he considers her shortcomings. He describes that his “brain is on fire”, making it clear that she causes him trouble and pain. Although he should treat Jane with kindness and show her his happiness and devotion, instead he does the opposite. He finishes his verbal attack by reiterating his point that she takes too long.

As they walk to the church, his condescending behavior continues. Jane describes the moment, “My hand was held by a grasp of iron: I was hurried along by a stride I could hardly follow; and to look at Mr. Rochester’s face was to feel that not a second of delay would be tolerated for any purpose. I wonder what other bridegroom ever looked as he did — so bent up to a purpose, so grimly resolute: or who, under such steadfast brows, ever revealed such flaming eyes”(430). Mr. Rochester grasps her hand tightly, not tenderly. He causes Jane to think that he does not seem human; instead of feeling warm flesh, she feels a cold, iron stiff clamp around her hand. He rushes Jane so that she must struggle to keep up with him. True to his stern nature, Mr. Rochester does not seem to notice his affect on Jane. His actions alienate Jane because he seems so distant and cold when she believes he should cherish this bright and happy day in their relationship. His behavior causes her to question if other grooms act and appear like Mr. Rochester. The fact that she sees no glimmer of sincere interest and does not sense that he loves her causes Jane to doubt his motives and suspect he may not be genuine. This one instance shows Mr. Rochester’s disrespect, impatience and condescension; it serves as evidence that as a result of his selfishness he treats Janes poorly.

Mr. Rochester’s character evolves only after he loses all that he considers important and sees the roles reversed in his relationships. When Jane visits Ferndean she finds him in a weakened state. She immediately recognizes an astounding change in his demeanor. He tells her that her absence has caused him much suffering, “I longed for thee, Janet! Oh, I longed for thee both with soul and flesh! I asked of God, at once in anguish and humility, if I had not been long enough desolate afflicted, tormented; and might not soon taste bliss and peace once more”(673). He uses his endearing term for Jane, proving the sincerity of his remarks and his genuine love for her. The repetition of “I longed for thee” emphasizes the extent to which he wants and needs her. He further describes his longing by asserting that he desires her in “soul and flesh”. His declaration that he endeavors to appreciate every part of her indicates his sincere love for Jane and that his experiences have led him to value her. This authentic display of affection marks a point of evolution because he no longer focuses on himself but solely her. Also, the fact that he claims that he “asks God…in anguish and humility” demonstrates his willingness to give up his role of power. He relinquishes his pride when he implores god for peace, asking if he has not suffered enough. In this moment, he expresses humility by begging for god’s mercy and help. He no longer sits in a position of power and he has come to terms with his new reality, proving his evolution. Finally, by concluding his request of god with the words “once more”, it implies that he recognizes the blessings bestowed upon him before he endures his time of suffering. As he continues to recount the experience to Jane, he explains that “the alpha and omega of my heart’s wishes broke involuntarily from my lips in the words — ‘Jane! Jane! Jane!’” (673-674). The alpha and omega represents the beginning and the end, symbolizing that he believes Jane completes his life and expresses to her that his heart longs for her. He proclaims absolute devotion to her.

Even though Mr. Rochester must contend with blindness and the inability to function as he once did, he prioritizes Jane as most important in his life by wanting only her. This serves as a huge confession of his evolution because for once he puts someone else before his personal well being. He describes that his plea to god broke through his lips involuntarily. By using the verb “broke,” he demonstrates the strength of his love. Also, the fact that he makes these statements involuntarily solidifies his inability to control his heart, as it remains the strongest and most powerful force in his life. Unlike the day of his wedding, he speaks to Jane with affection. He calls to her in a manner that resembles his immense love and compassion. In contrast to his wedding day when he abruptly beckons for her, he now calls out her name three times, with a tone of sincerity, as he sits by the window yearning for her. The way in which he calls for her numerous times emphasizes his need for her, as though calling for her once does not truly express his need to see her. By peeling away the superficial elements of his life and feeling sripped of his pride, Mr. Rochester evolves as he realizes what he truly values in life. In his darkest moments, when he hit rock bottom, he clearly sees reality: he values Jane more than any of his possessions and even his pride. He achieves clarity only by enduring suffering and this experience causes him to evolve into a humbled man who knows what he truly values.

After Rochester evolves and attains the capacity to truly demonstrate love, Jane returns and they happily marry. Mr. Rochester’s evolution, indeed, serves as a crucial element to the successful renewal of their relationship. Rochester’s humility allows him to consider Jane his equal. This new level of equality serves their relationship well as it provides a foundation of mutual respect. Mr. Rochester must rely on Jane, but he does not seem humiliated when he accepts both Jane’s help and her love. He no longer lives life with the same outlook and therefore disregards what he once would have considered humiliating. An additional aspect of his evolution gives him clarity about what he truly desires. His sincere love for Jane and his ability to express it matches the love and admiration Jane always felt for Rochester. Mr. Rochester must undergo a renewal of himself before he can renew his relationship with Jane.

Works Cited:

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: The Modern Library, 2000. (Print)

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Mythological Level and Suspense in Jane Eyre

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

The supernatural elements and events involving them are an important facet of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. Many mythological creatures are referenced, and omens are used as symbols throughout the novel, making up some of the instances where the supernatural is involved. The supernatural air that is subsequently given to the novel serves to compete with the religious emphasis, and also to create a feeling of mystery and suspense throughout the book. There’s also a slight relation between the basic tale of Cinderella and the journey that Jane takes from the beginning of her life to get to where she ends up.By looking through the mythological lens to examine Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, you are able to examine both the supernatural and its effects, as well as the parallels to myths that exist within the book.

The red room and the supposed ghost sighting that Jane experiences in it is one such example of the supernatural in Jane Eyre. In the red room, Jane thinks she sees her uncle’s ghost returning because his final wishes have not been followed, and she faints. Not only does this serve to affect the mood of the novel, but it also helps affect Jane’s personality for most of the novel. The mood it sets is that of suspense and mystery, with this being the first time that mood is being introduced. It comes up later various times, especially at Thornfield Hall. The mood serves to make the reader feel like Jane feels- that something bad must be happening. The reader is made to question with Jane whether or not it is her uncle’s ghost that she is seeing, despite Bessie and Miss Abbot saying it was just a gardener. Jane herself claims that the event had a lasting effect, “No severe or prolonged bodily illness followed this incident of the red-room: it only gave me nerves of shock; of which I feel the reverberation to this day. Yes, Mrs. Reed, to you I owe some fearful pangs of mental suffering,” (Brontë, 13). Seeing her uncle’s ghost gave her severe anxiety when it came to supernatural-esque events, and also made her more easily swayed by the omens that came in her dreams.

Another example is the constant mention of fairies, elves, and goblins, and more. These mentions usually come up in Jane’s conversations with Mr. Rochester, or in Jane’s walks alone around Thornfield Park. With Mr. Rochester, it comes up usually in the form of Mr. Rochester accusing Jane of being some sort of mythological creature of the type mentioned above, and of enchanting him somehow. While these references are mostly made in jest, it gives us some insight into how he sees Jane. He sees how different she is from other people, her passion and her stubbornness/ strength of will, and while most people would dismiss it as a bad thing, he doesn’t. He acknowledges it as her strength, even when it isn’t to his advantage, just in a way that pokes fun at it as well. This is more than most people would do, certainly more than St. John would do.

Omens are another big part of Jane Eyre. Jane is exposed to these omens through her dreams. Sometimes they take the form of a crying, distressed child- sometimes the child is docile, or even sick. Other times it isn’t even a child at all, but a dream about Thornfield Park being in ruins and Jane being turned away by Mr. Rochester. These dreams are a way of foreshadowing the future without giving anything away explicitly. Sometimes they spur Jane into action, but most of the time she does nothing, simply recognizes the omen and is anxious about it. These omens are also important because the reader learns to recognize that something is going to happen, and is able to anticipate an event- thus building up suspense before an event happens.

The final supernatural occurrence in Jane Eyre is when Jane hears Mr. Rochester’s voice calling to her while he’s at Ferndean Manor and she’s at Moore House. Though Jane doesn’t tell Rochester that she heard him, he attributes her coming to God.This is an interesting situation, because it’s one where Jane for once knows it to be something other than Divine Providence- it was just yet another strange occurrence in her life that compelled her to go find Rochester. However, he’s recently found God so she decides not to tell him what really happened to her while she was talking to St. John that night. She would rather have his faith remain stout, increasing it if possible, and retain her own devout faith, rather than fancy any ideas about the supernatural, despite the fact that odd supernatural events have been occurring around her throughout her life. This helps us see into her character a bit, and lets us see how much she values her faith over being completely honest with him, as well as allowing us to see how Rochester has changed through his own experiences and become more devout.

Jane Eyre is also similar in some ways to the story of Cinderella. In Cinderella, a young girl with a stepmother and step-sisters that despise her and make her do all the household chores is able to go to the ball with the help of her fairy godmother, and falls in love with the prince. She loses her slipper when she runs away at midnight, he searches the entire kingdom to find her, does successfully find her eventually, and they live happily ever after in the end, etc., etc. We all know how Jane Eyre goes, but there are some important similarities between the two stories. Jane spends the first part of her life with the Reeds, who despise her and mistreat her, much like how Cinderella’s step-family mistreated her- though Jane isn’t forced to really clean or do household chores except for in her nursery. Jane falls in love with Mr. Rochester, who is very rich and much sought after, like the prince, though he is not young or handsome like the prince of Cinderella. Jane eventually runs away from Mr. Rochester, like Cinderella runs away from the ball, but Jane is running for a much more complicated reason than that the magic turning Cinderella’s pumpkin into a carriage is going to run out at midnight. Rochester does search for Jane like the prince searches for Cinderella, but in the end it’s Jane who finds Rochester not the other way around, because Rochester is forced to give up his search. However, finally, despite the fact that Rochester is now handicapped, Jane and Rochester do end up together and they get their “happily ever after” just like Cinderella and the prince. These similarities are important because they’re part of what helps the reader to make connections with the book, and they show that Brontë drew on sources that were familiar to her, i.e. fairytales that everyone was familiar with. It also allows for a different understanding of Jane and her situation- someone fated to go through bad things at first in order to find her happiness and rise above those who hurt her. `

The supernatural events in Jane Eyre all serve in some important way within the book, whether that’s affecting and building Jane’s character or creating suspense for the readers. The comparison that exists between Jane Eyre and Cinderella is also important because it helps the reader connect Jane’s story to a story that they already presumably know. The competing religious and supernatural themes also serve as a backdrop for an internal struggle within Jane. All of these things together help build up the reader’s experience of Jane Eyre, and make it a book able to be viewed from many angles.

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Jane Eyre and Class System

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

It is said that only total and complete trust in the government will provide equality and prosperity for their people. No man ever not able to feed his family, no man homeless, no economic and political freedom, constant economic growth, and abolishment of class systems as a whole. Communism is seemingly flawless in its battle for solidarity as well as the fundamental ideals it’s based upon. In 1847, Karl Marx published The Communist Manifesto, which grew to be widely popular in the following years among the middle and lower classes. Charlotte Bronte witnesses the unfairness of the class system as she grew up in a poor Victorian family and was neglected the necessities that only wealth could provide. She viewed the Victorian Age as a whole, hierarchical within its morality and social rules. Bronte comments on the hypocrisy of this Age within her writing. Her characters desperately seek for answers to their unhappiness with the social systems in place and eventually fail to conform to Victorian ideals and rather come to Marxist principles about society and equality. In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Jane questions class systems and finding her place in society and she discovers she is predominately Marxist within her beliefs through her interactions and relationships with John, Mrs. Reed, and Mr. Rochester.

Jane’s childhood with her cousin John at Gateshead establishes that Jane from childhood was taught that she was less because of her class. Jane, still a destitute orphan feels aloof from the rest of the family. John blatantly points out that Jane, “[has] no business to take [their] books; [for Jane] is dependent… [Rather, Jane] ought to beg and and not live here with gentleman’s children like [them]” (29). John blatantly tells Jane that because she is poor, she cannot associate with John and the rest of the Reeds upon even ground. With the distinction John is a gentleman and Jane is not, John asserts not only his dominance but the fact that Jane must rely on his family for her survival. Jane is not a servant, nor a part of the family and thus she does not have a definition of her class and put into a class system she is degraded and miserable. Jane rebuttals his authority with calling John a, “Wicked and cruel boy… like a slave driver… like the Roman emperors!” (30). By saying this Jane tells John she recognizes his corruption and furthermore the corruption of the upper class as a whole. As Jane is punished for her fight with John, Miss Abbott calls John Jane’s “young master” (34) Jane is quick to question Miss Abbott arguing whether she is, in fact, a servant. With no decisive answer on where Jane belongs in society, Jane questions societal regimes as a whole. Jane understands that upper society lacked morality as demonstrated by her cousin, as well as the middle class being Jane seemed to be superior.

With Jane’s new questioning of what she understood as superior, she begins to test her communist ideals with Mrs. Reed. As Mrs. Reed tells Mr. Brocklehurst of Jane’s subordination, Jane tells Mrs. Reed, “…the thought of you makes me sick, and [she] treated [her] miserably cruel” (57). Mrs. Reed being of the upper class oppresses Jane even into Jane’s new life as she enters school; for only the benefit of Mrs. Reed to rid herself of Jane, seeing her as a burden. Jane attempts to break the system of abuse as well as her master by telling Mrs. Reed of her atrocities and cruelties towards Jane. Instead of challenging Jane’s newfound authority, Mrs. Reed ignores the issue and furthermore pushes the lower class down. When Jane comes back to Gateshead as an adult, Jane quickly realizes that Mrs. Reed is dependent on her to find peace. Although Mrs. Reed is in a fragile condition, Jane still, “…[feels] a determination to subdue her” (747). Jane wants to assert them as equals, even after so many years have passed. This idea of equality and balancing Mrs. Reed’s cruelty with Jane’s inner desires, coincides with communism’s similar ideals. Jane wants to degrade the upper class to make their status’ equal. After questioning the social and political structure, Jane grows to appreciate the equality between people and not playing a man above another.

Although Jane tries to fight her status difference between Rochester and herself, she is unable to do so and is subsequently unhappy and searches for a way to rectify her relationship. As Rochester is about to propose to Jane he calls her a, “dependent [that] does her duty” (812). Thus, Rochester emphasizes a class difference between him and Jane, marking her as a subordinate. Jane does not rebuke this and even goes on to revere Rochester as a God in return, furthermore turning an earthly social status difference to a divine one. By doing so, Jane discredits Rochester’s social superiority by making him a heavenly creature on earth, to which there could be no valid comparison. Thus associating earthly goods such as wealth to have no meaning. As Jane begins to see the flaws in her nonchalance on the matter, she must choose to either be a, “slave in a fool’s paradise… as Mr. Rochester’s mistress… or to be free and honest” (1166). Jane is caught up between her feelings for Rochester and his feelings for her, finally acknowledging them as having different perceptions of their relationship. Rochester sees her as a vulnerable inferior and degrades her to a mistress. Jane must decide between Rochester as the upper class taking the resources, or her, and coveting them for his gain while the middle class works tirelessly to no avail. Jane is not content with this and wants to be recognized as equals, but ultimately decides she would rather be alone than to be separated from her love by status.

After Jane inherits her wealth, she seeks out Rochester to make their love equal. As Jane travels back to Thornfield, she finds it in ruin. She reflects upon the, “silence of death about it: the solitude of a lonesome wind… [She sees] it as blackened ruin” (664). Rochester’s stately manor has been destroyed and with it the place where Rochester and Jane were not husband and wife but rather, a master and a servant. Jane travels to find Rochester in a humbler state; emotionally he regrets the emotional torment he put Jane through. Physically, he has lost his eyesight as well as his hand. He tells Jane to leave and, “not suffer to devote [herself] to a blind lamenter” (681). Rochester asserts Jane’s new class as above even his own. Jane levels the field by proclaiming them equals and thus abolishing Rochester’s haughty conformity to the social system. Jane and Rochester are soon after married and by this union a member of the upper class and formerly middle class is revitalized and live in peace with each other. They reinstate moral values into their marriage as well as disregard the old mixed morality Jane witnessed earlier in her life throughout her former relationships. Rochester is seemingly resurrected as a good tempered husband who relies on his wife as much as she does him. They are rendered classless with each other without material goods polluting their relationship, and thus they are the definition of a Marxist political system.

Jane through questioning the flaws with the society around her comes to the conclusion that Marxism will solve the problems within Victorian society. Jane in her interactions with her cousin John, as a child, lead her to question her own views upon the hypocrisy and cruelty of those that were supposed to be the pinnacle of society. After this revelation, Jane seeks out a balance between the upper and middle class. Through this rejuvenation, Jane becomes an upper class elite while still possessing the dedicated craftsmanship and work ethic the middle class is characterized as. Jane, through her unwavering will and due north moral compass, tames Rochester and furthermore redefines a sound political system within their relationship. Humanity must strive to discern what is truly right versus what has been presented to them. Even though communism has failed within the modern world, equality sans bigotry creates prosperity for all. If humanity continues to look at past events and analyze the underlying motives of each action, they can hope for a better tomorrow. If they fail, they will hurt themselves and the community around them ultimately leading to confusion and ruin of humanity as a whole.

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Female Submission and the Means of its Representation in Jane Eyre and Aurora Leigh

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

Though the authors and genres of the works Jane Eyre and Aurora Leigh are distinctive, the messages and methods of communication within both are quite comparable. Both authors aim to, among other things, expose the plight of their female contemporaries and offer strong suggestions as to how the injustices faced by women might be rectified. The heroines of both stories, Jane and Aurora, face subjugation and oppression of many kinds, most being a direct result of their gender. Both authors utilize, in similar ways, certain literary devices in order to symbolize both the incarceration and notions of liberation for their protagonists. These two aspects of the stories, bondage and freedom, continually display the principal conflict in both plots: the struggle between ideal aspirations and the confinement of practicality and reality, specifically as applied to women (Pell 397).

One of the most easily recognized symbols within both of the stories is the home. In Aurora Leigh, and in Jane Eyre, the home becomes, while both women are still girls, associated with domestic bondage of various kinds. The place in which Jane spent the first ten years of her life, Gateshead, was a fine, stately house and also the most understandable object of her distaste. Her parents having died in her infancy, Jane was severely ill-used by the family of her late maternal uncle. She was, amidst the splendor of affluence, abused physically, mentally and emotionally, continually reminded of her inferiority and seclusion. Despite the quality of her surroundings, Gateshead would always represent the worst period of Jane’s life. Once removed to Lowood, a poorly-administrated, charity-funded boarding school, Jane proclaimed “I would not now have exchanged Lowood with all its privations, for Gateshead and its daily luxuries” (Bronte 24). For Jane, the move from Gateshead to Lowood was the first small step of many toward independence.

Though at Lowood Jane became more content than she had even been in her short life, after eight years the walls finally began to unbearably confine her. She lamented, “I went to my window…there were the skirts of Lowood; there was the hilly horizon. My eye passed all other objects to rest on those most remote, the blue peaks: it was those I longed to surmount: all within their boundary of rock and heath seemed prison-ground, exile limits” (Bronte 85). The physical confinement of the school began to constantly remind Jane of the social limits they inflicted upon her; as long as she stayed, her life would never change nor improve.

Thornfield, the estate on which Jane comes to find freedom from Lowood as a governess, provides her with improved salary, a bit more independence and quality living conditions. The house, however, much like the others, still serves as a reminder to Jane that she is not completely her own, ever-dependent on the patronage of the wealthy. Upon returning to the house one day, Jane thought “I did not like re-entering Thornfield. To pass its threshold was a return to stagnation: to cross the silent hall, to ascend the darksome staircase, to seek my own lonely little room…was to quell wholly the faint excitement wakened by my walk” (Bronte 117). Though a happier existence, her life at Thornfield only perpetuated her lifelong ‘protection’ from the world. Her later laments on the subject are those she uttered not only for herself, but for all women of her time: “What good it would have done me at the time to have been tossed in the storms of an uncertain struggling life, and to have been taught by rough and bitter experience to long for the calm amidst I now repine!” (117). Bronte writes, through Jane’s predicament, of the intended protection of women that essentially cripples them.

Aurora Leigh also finds the home to be an oppressive place, but unlike Jane, it is the idea of the home that more confounds her than the building itself. While she is quite young, the expected idea of a home is thrust upon her by her aunt into whose care she is left upon the death of her father. The young girl is given books that are meant to instruct small wives-to-be, ‘books that boldly assert/Their right of comprehending husbands talk/When not too deep, and even answering/With pretty “may it please you,” or “so it is.”’ Her aunt assures young Aurora that all will be well with young ladies “As long as they keep quiet by the fire” (Browning 51). When Aurora shows resistance to this accepted and nearly inescapable feminine fate, she is told by this same aunt “I know I have not ground you down enough/To flatten and bake you to a wholesome crust/For household uses and proprieties” (Browning 70). Thus the idea of home was early tainted within the strong young mind of Aurora Leigh and also, through this vivid imagery, within the mind of any reader who happens upon her story.

Beyond the teachings of her aunt, Aurora is brought to despise this idea of home also by her cousin, the young Mr. Romney Leigh. She knows him most of her life, and comes to love him as a friend, though ill-matched for any other sort of relationship. In one passage of the poem, Aurora grows livid as her cousin refuses to take her writing seriously. He reduces the female gender to “Mere women, personal and passionate/You give us doating mothers and perfect wives” (Browning 81). In his mind, no doubt, this is complimentary, though Aurora sees it differently. She rebuffs his comments, explaining that women, though often proving themselves to be only what he says, become this way as a result of a certain neglect. She argues “A women’s always younger than a man/At equal years because she is disallowed/Maturing by the outdoor sun and air,/And kept in long-clothes past the age to walk” (Browning 85). Ironically enough, this conversation includes also a marriage proposal on the part of Romney, an invitation to Aurora to become a member of that expected household which she had already come to scorn. She expectedly and soundly rejects, knowing the proposal to be only a social item of propriety and economics, rather than a gesture motivated by love or passion, for which she might consider entering into such a contract.

In addition to the home and marriage becoming symbols of constriction for Aurora, she speaks also of Britain as a tamed or domesticated sort of country which has forced itself and its expectations upon her. She was born and partly raised in Italy, something that her aunt continually tries to make her forget, finding the influences to be much too reminiscent of the unapproved woman her brother, Aurora’s father, chose to marry. It is, however, in these memories of Tuscan landscape that Aurora feels free. Though she learns to love Britain, she sees it as “Not a grand nature. Not my chestnut-woods/Of Vallombrosa” (Browning 57).

Just as Aurora’s memories of nature in Italy provide for her a sense of inner freedom, so do Jane Eyre’s reflections on her natural surroundings bring intimations of liberation. In her description of the Moor-House, the place in which she comes to live after Thornfield, Jane uses mostly natural language, treating the house as if it were a part of nature itself. “They loved their sequestered home. I, too, in a the gray, small, antique structure , with its low roof, its latticed casements, its mouldering walls, its avenue of aged firs-all grown aslant under the stress of mountain winds; its garden, dark with yew and holly-and where no flowers but the hardies species would bloom-found a charm, both potent and permanent” (Bronte 354). This is the most positive and sentimental description Jane gives of any of the houses she resides in. Is this because the house itself held a special charm? Perhaps, but more likely because it was the first place in which she felt true kinship and thereby a small sense of independence.

It is no wonder that Jane chose to associate a place dear to her with nature as it is made clear, throughout the novel, that nature is her only ever-present comfort. She explains that “I have no relative but the universal mother, Nature: I will seek her breast and ask repose…Nature seemed to me benign and good: I thought she loved me, outcast as I was; and I from whom man could anticipate only mistrust, rejection, insult, clung to her with filial fondness” (Bronte 328). At one point in the story, as Jane becomes more and more subdued into the prospect of accepting her cousin, St. John Rivers’ marriage proposal against her better judgment, nature, in a sense, frees her by carrying to her the voice of her true love on the wind, reminding her of where her heart is, “It is the work of nature. She was roused, and did-no miracle-but her best” (Bronte 425). Though Jane ultimately finds independence in money, kinship in newfound family, and happiness in the arms of the man she loves, nature sustains and provokes her toward greater things from the beginning of her life onward.

Amidst the small victories of Jane and Aurora, the hopelessness of women of limited financial means is a theme that pervades both stories. Jane Eyre, from her earliest years, is constantly reminded by those around her that, because of her poor financial situation, she will always be obliged to live in the service of others. One of her least favorite of the household staff in Gateshead, Miss Abbot, explains to her that “they will have a great deal of money, and you will have none: it is you place to be humble, and to try to make yourself agreeable to them” (Bronte 13). Even Bessie, the most well-meaning and caring of Jane’s childhood associates advises her “You should try to be useful and pleasant, then perhaps you will always have a home here” (Bronte 13).

Because of her situation, young Jane is prevented from even dreaming of the independence that she will one day realize. When she is older, Jane remembers her childhood thoughts of “Liberty, Excitement, Enjoyment: delightful sounds truly; but no more than sounds for me; and so hollow and fleeting that it is mere waste of time to listen to them. But Servitude! That must be matter of fact” (Bronte 86). The importance of wealth is made abundantly clear to Jane as a child. Her physician, in response to her expression of intense personal misery, asks the ten year-old girl if she would like to search out and live with some paternal relatives, though they would likely be poor. Jane cannot see past her upbringing and assumes that such people are incapable of love or kindness. This ill-founded judgment prolongs her captivity at Gateshead (Bronte 24).

Aurora Leigh similarly faces the inevitable trials of a woman of little means and connection. When she refuses the proposal of Romney Leigh, a man who loves her not and who she does not love, Aurora is reprimanded by her aunt, as marriage, she believes, for the poor is a matter of economic position, not love. She scolds “You suppose, perhaps, /That you…/Are rich and free to chose a way to walk?” (Browning 93). Despite her aunt’s ranting, Aurora is unmoved in her decision not to live only to improve or maintain her social status. She reflects later that if her life is to be always about financial improvement, then she shall never personally thrive, for “What you do/For bread will taste of common grain, not grapes” (Browning 124).

It is by this idea of invaluable principal that both Jane and Aurora chose to live throughout their lives, determined to succeed in a way that is true to their own priorities, regardless of immediate consequences. Both women sufficiently overcome the countless obstacles hurled at them. They do not succumb to the pressures of stagnant domestic life, or the limitations of their caste. Through the successes of these heroines, in the midst of undeniable conflict, Charlotte Bronte and Elizabeth Barrett Browning communicate their own hopes that the female sex might be inspired to do the same, against whatever obstacles they may and will encounter.

Essay Word Count: 2,023

BIBLIOGRAPHY

C. Bronte, Jane Eyre (1975)

E.B. Browning, Aurora Leigh (1989)

N. Pell, “Resistance, Rebellion and Marriage: The Economics of Jane Eyre’, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 31:4 (1977): 397-420

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290

Jane Eyre’s Personal Development Through Experience

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

Intelligent and self-aware as a child, the protagonist of the novel, Jane Eyre, grows from an immature youth to a well-respected woman by learning from several different environments that test her character. Jane must navigate society as she progresses from a student to a governess and teacher to her final position as a wife. In the beginning of the novel, Jane is a passionate girl who acts upon impulse, but as she grows she learns when it is appropriate to speak her mind and when she should contain herself. Jane learns to control and evaluate her emotions rather than whimsically acting on them; this process is defined by critic Suzanne Hader as “…long, arduous, and gradual, consisting of repeated clashes between the protagonist’s needs and the desires and the views and judgments enforced by an unbending social order”. The act of maturing is usually a struggle that goes against the nature of a person. Jane, for example, is often hurt by a relentless society full of obstacles. As Jane overcomes challenges, she begins to find her identity and ends up in a permanent situation she desires rather than one that is temporarily acceptable. Jane’s quest for identity reveals several aspects of her character that society deems unacceptable. Jane matures as a person learning to act on reason emotions as well as learning when to contain them.

Jane’s actions and thoughts highlight her immaturity as a child while she lives at both Gateshead and Lowood. As Jane lives with her adopted family at Gateshead, she gets into a quarrel with her aunt, Mrs. Reed, over a conversation her aunt had had with the supervisor of Jane’s new school. After Mr. Brocklehurst departs, Jane aggressively scolds her aunt for falsely portraying her character to Mr. Brocklehurst. After Jane tells Mrs. Reed she does not love her and wishes to leave the house Mrs. Reed solemnly departs the room. Jane gloats in thought to herself “I was left there alone – winner of the field… I stood awhile on the rug… I enjoyed my conqueror’s solitude” (45). As Mrs. Reed leaves the room, Jane feels a sense of pride as if she has won the argument; Jane purposefully made Mrs. Reed display what looked to be regret and remorse. This “victory” is an example of Jane’s immaturity. Jane does argue valid points regarding her treatment at Gateshead, which has been abusive and fowl, but her argument provides no benefit and seemingly hurts Mrs. Reed. Jane verbally abuses a woman who has raised her as a child by herself with help from housekeepers, and even though Jane’s time at Gateshead was not always a pleasant experience at least she was never without food or shelter. Jane does not appreciate what she has been given and instead scolds the person who has kept her safe. Scolding Mrs. Reed hurt Jane in the long run because Mrs. Reed, later on, refuses to forward an important letter to Jane out of spite. It would have been better for Jane to have controlled and contained her emotions in this particular situation. This act of passion was not the only of its kind during Jane’s youth.

While Jane is at school in Lowood her friend, Helen Burns, is beaten with sticks for forgetting to clean her nails. Helen is not mad because she says it helps her to fix her faults but Jane argues, “… If I [Jane] were in your place I should dislike her… if she struck me with that rod, I should get it from her hand; I should break it under her nose” (66). Jane does not commit an immature action during this scene but she ponders one. The teachers use debatably cruel methods in order to correct the students, but this does not justify Jane’s thoughts of retaliation through physical attacks. If Jane were to fight back with the stick it would undoubtedly get her in trouble or, potentially, expelled from the school, but she does not consider this outcome. Jane, at this point, does not know how to evaluate and control her emotions. Jane does not act on this thought like she had in the past, which is a step in the right direction, but she would have if it were her who was hit. Both Jane’s argument with Mrs. Reed and her theoretical plan of revolt speak towards the maturity of her character. In both situations, Jane acts or plans to act based on raw emotion with no thought of repercussions. She has to learn the difference between when it is correct to speak and act on how she feels and when it would be better to withhold her feelings. Jane is immature as a child, but as she goes through school she begins to become a wiser and more mature person. Helen is another intelligent adolescent who helps to teach Jane to be more controlled. Helen understands why she is being punished and helps Jane comprehend the act as well. Helen’s maturity has a strong influence of Jane’s character and guides her to become a more mature person.

Although Jane acted immaturely as a child, it becomes apparent that she is maturing by her pursuit of a desirable occupation as well as her social interaction later in her life. After being a student and teacher at Lowood, Jane becomes unsatisfied and aspires to experience the world. Jane advertises herself as a governess in the local newspaper and shortly receives a response, at which point she reflects: “This [potential job] circumstance was satisfactory: a private fear haunted me, that in thus acting for myself… I ran the risk of getting into some scrape” (105). Jane is worried that this new opportunity may yield a poor result, and because she is following her own instinct she does not know if this is the right decision. Jane does not wish to put herself in a situation that is unadvisable and unfortunate, which is a rational and mature thought. In the past, Jane would have spontaneously acted on her desire to leave Lowood in search of her calling, but Jane has matured and now knows that it is important to weigh the potential outcomes of her decisions. After thorough contemplation of the offer she received, Jane decides to leave Lowood for residence at Thornfield, the location of her new position.

Although Jane has shown signs of maturity, she has yet to gain complete control over her emotions. While Jane is living in Thornfield she is introduced to the owner of the house and her employer, Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester asks Jane if she finds him attractive, which she impulsively responds to by saying no. She feels regret for saying no and says to Rochester “Sir I was too plain: I beg your pardon. I ought to have replied that it was not easy to give an impromptu answer to a question about appearances…” (154). Jane, again, acted on impulse and insulted the appearance of her employer. Even if she does not think appearance holds great important, because she, too, is unattractive, insulting Mr. Rochester in not a mature action. She feels remorse for her answer but she cannot take it back. Mr. Rochester claims that he is not offended, but this comment certainly did not make him feel. If Jane were mature she would have considered her answer more carefully. A wise and mature person should not insult their employer, especially during the first few interactions. Jane feels regret for her action, which is a positive sign because it shows that she is starting to understand the possible negative consequences of her actions. Throughout Jane’s later years at Lowood and her welcoming to Thornfield she begins to act more mature, but she still has not been able to rid of herself entirely of her impulsive actions. Jane makes a rational and well thought out decision to leave Lowood, which is mature, but then quickly insults her employer’s appearance, which is immature and rude. Jane is clearly learning to differentiate between what is acceptable to say and what is not, proven by her apology to Mr. Rochester after her blunt comment. Jane continues to grow and mature while she spends the next portion of her life living in Thornfield.

Jane’s character growth, during the second half of her stay at Thornfield, reaches a new level of maturity as she faces and overcomes emotionally strenuous challenges. During Jane’s stay at Thornfield, an affluent and haughty group of people arrives for a temporary residence. One of the nights, while Jane is in their company, a game of charades is being played in which Jane declines to play. A conceited woman, Lady Ingram, makes a snide remark when Jane is invited, “Lady Ingram instantly negative the notion. ‘No,’ I [Jane] heard her say: ‘she looks too stupid for any game of the sort.’ (212). Lady Ingram verbally attacks Jane when the idea of her partaking in the game is mentioned even though Ingram has no knowledge of Jane’s intelligence or character. Lady Ingram makes a snobbish and blatant assumption of Jane that is severely incorrect, but Jane, an erudite with ability in English, French and Art, does not retaliate. Reflecting on Jane’s past, this lack of a rebuttal speaks towards Jane’s maturation. In the past, Jane was so enraged by Mrs. Reed’s comment on her character that she reprimanded her, but in this instance, when Jane is libeled she does not act impulsively on her emotions. A younger Jane may have argued and with Ingram but Jane has become a mature woman and knows that there is no good to come of it. Jane is again challenged emotionally during her residence at Thornfield; this time being more extreme than the last. Jane agrees to marry Mr. Rochester, but on their wedding day Jane is presented with a hidden truth that impedes their wedding. Jane goes against every ounce of emotion in her body when she decides that she has to leave Mr. Rochester and Thornfield. As she is leaving Thornfield she ponders how Mr. Rochester will feel about her decision: “He [Rochester] would feel himself forsaken; his love rejected: he would suffer; perhaps grow desperate. I thought this too” (368). Jane understands that this decision is not only going to take a toll on her but also Mr. Rochester.

Again, instead of making a decision on a whim, like Jane has done in the past, she thinks through the different ramifications that her actions may have. She loves Mr. Rochester whole-heartedly but she knows that the morally correct thing to do is to run away even if it means that she will hurt Rochester. At the end of Jane’s stay at Thornfield she is able to contain her emotions in order to access them. Jane wishes to marry Rochester but given the circumstances she must leave because staying will only cause her more pain. Jane’s action is an act that only an experienced and mature person could make. Jane must knowingly hurt herself and another person emotionally in order to do what is right. Jane has grown immensely as a person during her stay at Thornfield. Jane has succumbed to her emotions more than once during her residence, but in the end, when she leaves, Jane is able to contain and process her emotions in order to make a tough decision that is ultimately correct.

During Jane’s time at Thornfield she proves that she is able to control her emotions, but as Jane continues to mature she learns when it is appropriate to listen to her emotions. While Jane is living in the Moor House, her cousin, St. John, proposes to her as part of an invitation for a mission trip to India. One night Jane thinks she hears Mr. Rochester’s voice, causing her to ask herself “…was it a mere nervous impression – a delusion? I could not conceive or believe: it was more like an inspiration” (486). Jane knows the voice must have been illusion because Mr. Rochester lives far away, but it sparks something inside of her. Jane becomes inspired by the voice, which brings back her feelings for Mr. Rochester. She then feels the need to visit Rochester, in order to make sure he is alive. Jane’s trip with St. John is approaching, but she knows that she would rather visit Mr. Rochester and decides against the journey. In this case, Jane follows her emotions and is rewarded with marriage to her true love, Mr. Rochester. If Jane had ignored her feelings she would have died in India with St. John rather than living the rest of her life with Rochester. Jane followed her feelings, based on a hallucination of Mr. Rochester, because she knew it was what she wanted, which seems illogical but those emotions were deeply rooted for years. Jane has learned that it is acceptable to follow her emotions occasionally. Jane proves that she has become a mature adult while she is living at Ferndean with Rochester and Adele, Jane’s stepdaughter. Adele has been sent to a school that Jane describes as “… too strict, its course of study too severe… I [Jane] sought out a school conducted on a more indulgent system” (518). Adele’s current school is too challenging, which reminds Jane of Lowood. Jane performs a selfless act by switching Adele to a more suitable school. Jane does not have to help Adele but does out of sympathy. Caring about others is a sign of maturity that Jane has not always expressed. Jane has learned to contain her emotions in order to protect her judgment from being clouded, to follow her emotions when they are of pure and reasonable motive and to help others even when it does not benefit her. During Jane’s time in Ferndean she has settled down and found her life’s true calling. Jane has a daughter of her own and has become a selfless, mature woman. By learning when to listen to her emotions and how to care about other Jane has freed herself of any immaturity she had left.

During the course of the novel, Jane grows from a passionate child to a cold, young adult and finally to a mature woman. Jane learns, through experiences that are both her own and of others, what is appropriate behavior and what is not. Jane is able to find herself in the end of the novel and she lives a desirable life.

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91

“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte and the Women of the Victoria Era

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

Jane Eyre criticizes assumptions about both gender and social class. It contains a strong feminist stance; it speaks to deep, timeless human urges and fears, using the principles of literature to chart the mind. Thus, Jane Eyre is an epitome of femininity – a young independent individual steadfast in her morals and has strong Christian virtues, dominant, assertive and principled. That itself is no small feat. Feminism has been a prominent and controversial topic in writings for some time.

Charlotte Bronte uses Jane Eyre, to explore the depth at which women may act in society and find her own boundaries in Victorian England, which most other novels before the time never did. Jane Eyre does not reinforce the past, but gives an idea to the future. There is an ample amount of evidence to suggest that the tone of Jane Eyre is in fact a very feminist one and may well be thought as relevant to the women of today who feel they have been discriminated against because of their gender.

At the beginning of the 19th century, little opportunity existed for women, and thus many of them felt uncomfortable when attempting to enter many parts of society. The absence of advanced educational opportunities for women and their alienation from almost all fields of work gave them little option in life: either become a housewife or a governess. Although today a tutor may be considered a fairly high class and intellectual job, in the Victorian era a governess was little more than a servant who was paid to share her scarce amount of knowledge in limited fields to a child.

With little respect, security, or class one may certainly feel that an intelligent, passionate and opinionated young woman such as Jane Eyre should deserve and be capable of so much more. The insecurity of this position, being tossed around with complete disregard for her feelings or preferences, is only one of many grueling characteristics of this occupation. However for Jane to even emerge into society, becoming a governess seemed the only reasonable path for her.

The women of the Victorian Era can be regarded as the first group to do battle for the equality of the sexes. They lead all women to follow after them, and though their progression may not have been as vivid as the women of the 70’s, they did have an effect. Feminism was not outright spoken of in this time, rather passed through literature. Any era before never gave and thought to the women and how they felt about anything.

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159

Victorian Novel Analysis:Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

Charlotte Bronte wrote the victorian novel Jane Eyre with the intention to tell the story of how a seemingly mere governess, Jane Eyre, managed to challenge the notion of what a conventional woman during the victorian era was capable of accomplishing with sheer courage.

Jane tells her story through a strong narrative voice which is one of the many factors, along with her strength and perseverance, that allow for Jane to be a unconventional female heroine. Throughout her life, it is amazing how Jane refuses to live down to what a conventional woman was expected to achieve. Instead of conforming to what women were expected to be, she was able to triumph through adversity, and lived her life as a strong independent woman who could rely on herself.

One of the early adversities Jane dealt with on an ongoing basis was her home life. Jane was brought up by a neglectful aunt who would unjustly punish her. Jane was also raised alongside her spoiled cousins, they would attack her and get her in trouble because they knew they could. When Jane says, “ “I am not deceitful: If I were, should I say I love you, but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed” (Bronte 32) The reader is able to paint a clear picture as to the constant conflict that took place between Jane and Mrs. Reed. She lived in a neglectful home where she was treated with constant indignity.

In spite of everyone ganging up on her, and woman being seen as virtually second class citizens during that time, Jane still has the courage to stand up for herself and express her hate and anger.One example of when Jane is mistreated early on is shown when the author states, “She never saw him strike or heard him abuse me, though he did both now and then in her presence” (Bronte 6). Jane´s cousin constantly abuses her both physically and mentally without consequence because her evil aunt always seems to look the other way.

The one time Jane does stand up for herself, Mrs Reed immediately takes John´s side, and unjustly punishes Jane, “Take her away to the Red room, and lock her up there.” (Bronte) This example shows a test of strength for Jane, despite knowing that John will go unpunished, and she will get in trouble, she knowingly defies the “just take it” attitude of a conventional female woman and fights back against her spoiled cousin John. She at least sends John a message that she isn’t going to be pushed around.

Jane has the courage to pursue the idea of being sent away to a school called Lowood, which was already defying society’s moral codes because women weren’t supposed to receive such a formal education, “It was assumed that a girl would marry and that therefore she had no need of a formal education, as long as she could look beautiful, entertain her husband’s guests, and produce a reasonable number of children.” (Picard) Jane starts off at Lowood on a bad note after her evil Aunt tells Mr Brocklehurst, the headmaster at Lowood, that she was not to be trusted, and she was a liar who wouldn’t tell the truth. Mr Brocklehurst believes Mrs. Reed, while disregarding whatever defense Jane tried to rebuttal and publicly shames Jane by making her stand all alone in front of the class, while telling everyone that she was a lier.

Fortunately, Jane receives some comfort when Miss Temple explains that Mr. Brocklehurst is just a miserable man. “Mr Brocklehurst is not a God: nor is he even a great and admired man: he is little liked here.” (Bronte). Jane takes her unjust punishment without resistance. Mr Brocklehurst labeled her under false pretenses as a liar, But finds comfort in the fact that it is better to be his enemy than friend.

Jane always has an opinion of her own that won´t be suppressed for the well-being of a man. For example Rochester, head of Thornfield, asks Jane ¨You examine me, Miss Eyre,¨ said he; ¨Do you think me handsome?¨ (Bronte 157) Jane blurts out an honest answer ¨No, sir.¨ Jane apologizes for not being more politically correct but Rochester doesnt seem to mind. Now if Rochester asked Blanche Ingram the same question she would have replied with a compliment about how handsome he is. She is a perfect example of how a victorian woman would act around a man of such high status. Jane refuses to conform to the ideals of how she should act around a man with the stature of Rochester to sacrifice her moral beliefs. Jane and Rochester fall in love because of love not for other reasons that were common during the time like money or status.

Jane Eyre tells her story of becoming a fierce independent woman through a strong narrative voice. One passage expressing how Jane feels her and Rochester measure up states “Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!” This passage emphasises that Jane thinks of Rochester and her as equals. The sole idea that Jane a “mere governess” sees her lover as her equal is unheard of during the victorian era and is a very big deal. Jane’s strong willed nature is one of the main qualities about her that Rochester falls in love with. Jane’s strong willed nature also allows her to get it through Rochesters thich skull that they are on a level playing field regardless of their difference in social status.

After Jane’s wedding with Rochester is ended when she finds out Rochester has a preexisting wife who lives in secret with them, Jane realizes that she doesn’t need Rochester, and that she is a strong independent woman. She states, “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man . . . Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation.” (Bronte) Jane is able to say no to a marriage that would go against her moral values because of her strength and dignity. Jane Places herself over Rochester, this shows how she is able to refuse the expectations of society, and be independent at a time where most women would have stuck with Rochester because of his wealth and because they can’t rely on themselves. This independence alone proves just how much of an unconventional female heroin Jane was. In addition, despite Rochester being the love of her life Jane still does not compromise her integrity to run away with Rochester and live the rest of her life as a mistress.

Another example of Jane’s ability to have strength when pressured by men is shown when Jane says, “Shall I?” I said briefly; and I looked at his features, beautiful in their harmony . . . but as his wife—at his side always, and always restrained, and always checked . . . this would be unendurable.” (Bronte) This passage of Jane coming to a realization that she is her own person and not a weak dependent person who would succumb to the pressure of not having to rely on themselves. Jane shows great mental strength to put her wants above those of the controlling missionary St. John, who would take away Jane’s freedom.

All in All the novel, “Jane Eyre”, by Charlotte Bronte is told with a strong narrative voice by a strong independent woman. Jane´s mental strength and perseverance along with other character traits are responsible for how Jane refuses to live down to what a conventional woman was expected to achieve. Despite the adversity that Jane faced as a child during her home life, her schooling, and her experiences with men, she was able to surpass the expectations placed upon her by society.

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