Independence in ‘Jane Eyre’

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This book is a masterpiece of literature. Jane Eyre itself is an autobiography of a fictional character Jane Eyre. This novel was written by Charlotte Brontë under the gender pseudonym Currer Bell, she was born on April 21st, 1816 in Yorkshire, England. In 1847 Bronte published Jane Eyre. The Themes include channeled passion versus uncontrolled passion, gender and class which determined the opportunities characters are provided, religion and self-control following Christian scripture to protect against risks of the uncontrolled passions.

In Jane Eyre independence is very important because Jane, since she was born, was not independent even from her family nor from her husband to be. When she was sent to a school more like an institution for poor orphan girls that was called Lowood it was not her choice, her aunt Mrs. Reed decided for her because she never loved her and did not want her anymore in that house. When she went there she almost never experienced independence most of the teachers were cruel to her especially the principal he was very mean he told everybody that she was a witch and a lot of other things. This did not stop Jane to be successful, her friend Helen helped and learned her many ways how to be calm and other things that she always remembered and never forgot.

After 8 years in that school she decided to apply for a governess, she teached in Lowood for two years and also opened a school for girls only when she met St. John. When she went in Thornfield as e governess she got what she wanted from Mrs. Fairfax a very lovely old lady and Mr. Rochester too. The most independence of her life she got it in that house most of the time she was happy, free and loved only the thought of leaving Thornfield would make her sad but one day she decides to leave because of the current circumstances that were in that time.

As an orphan, Jane yearns to be loved but, she is also fiercely protective of her independence and her identity, and we see this conflict through Jane’s journey. Her main quest in the story is to discover how to be loved without sacrificing any part of herself in the process. Both of Janes’s romantic relationships test her ability to fulfill this quest, for example when Jane was offered a marriage from Mr. Rochester that will be emotionally fulfilling, but that would require her to sacrifice her integrity because he was already married to Bertha and Jane would be his mistress. The other example is when Jane was offered another marriage proposal from St. John that is based in a common purpose in a business offer, that would have Jane acting as his equal but the problem is that he does not love her and neither does she. So she decides to go back to her love Mr. Rochester and she marries him.

Jane is a very assertive heroin in many ways, she is the person who speaks the truth against powerful figures, against her aunt or against St. John Rivers, she is the person who speaks the truth against them and there is often these powerful dominant male figures, against whom Jane has to find her own voice and her own identity and so it is very important text for defending the value, the independence and the depth of women’s lives. Jane is often trying to stop herself but it is exactly that moment that she is most passionately expressive.

According to Paris (1997) Jane’s aunt described her as mean spirit, dangerous duplicity, and a compound of virulent passions. In the opening chapter her aunt shows that she is full of rage and resentment against Jane. Jane was trying to be useful and pleasant in order to avoid being sent away but she explodes, because she is done of playing this role and that is when Bessie says she has never done this before but Abbot says she always had this rage inside of her.

In every act of the novel the scenes are played out the same Jane comes into struggle with force, beats it by her inner power, and escapes into exile. For example in the case of Mrs. Reed “she is the harsh bully but Jane maintains she influences suffering and is exiled to Lowood Institution”. In this part, Jane beats Aunt Reed’s outside strength of cruelty with her powerful passion. When she goes to Lowood she learns how to overcome cruelty by quiet submission and her self-control, she defeats her inside force of her own passion (Solomon, 1963).

The moment of leaving from Thornfield came and Jane had a conversation with Mr. Rochester before she left, he tried to convince her to stay, and as much as she wanted to stay she could not accept to be his mistress. She loved him very much and she also knew that Mr. Rochester loves her very much too, there were no words that could convince her to stay. She had a lot of respect for herself and could not accept the marriage. She forgave him the very moment he started to speak, his eyes spoke more than words for her. In that moment she also forgave her Aunt Reed and all the people that have done harm to her, she remembered Helen and the lessons of life that she gave to Jane. After deciding to leave they both cried and told each other that, they will love each other till death (Bronte, 1847)

According to Bronte (1847) Jane was living with the Rivers, Diana, Mary, St. John and Hannah. After some months St. John found out that Jane was their cousin and told Jane, she could not believe it that she has someone in her life as family. St. John’s mother was Jane’s father’s sister. She felt like she had found a brother and two sister, she was very happy. He told her that Uncle John left all his fortune to her, an amount of 20,000 pounds. Jane Eyre immediately decided to divide the money with her brother and sister, which it means 5000 pounds each. They called their sisters to come back because they were working as governesses. Another month had come and St. John suggested Jane that she should learn Hindostanee and Jane listened him and learned a little of Hindostane Language but one day they were talking and St. John told Jane that he wanted to go to India as a servant and he asked Jane to go there at first she accepted to go as a sister but he told her that she asked her as a wife and that was something that Jane could not accept, she could not marry someone that she does not love and also that calls brother. He tried to convince her but could not achieve it (Bronte, 1847).

As a conclusion in this novel are many lessons for life that we can learn. As Jane Eyre always wanted to respect herself and women’s right as well, we should not give up on our independence instead we should always fight for it just like Jane Eyre did. She is a perfect example for everyone, she went 8 years in Lowood, she had more downs than ups and achieved to finish it successfully and to always remember her best friends Helen’s advices and lessons on life. She refused to marry Mr. Rochester and St. John because she had a lot of respect for herself and that she could not do only what they say because she supported the thought of always saying the truth even if it hurts.  

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Independence In 'Jane Eyre'. (2021, Jul 26). Retrieved May 17, 2024 , from

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