Jane Eyre, One of the Greatest Love Stories of All Time?

Topics: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, Romance novel Pages: 6 (2158 words) Published: May 10, 2008
“Jane Eyre” is a novel of passion, desire, rage and defiance, combining to form a literary sensation that has withstood the test of time. The novel’s sense of mystery, betrayal and deceit create the perfect romance narrative which has been evoking passion from its readers for over a century. Jane’s enduring quest for love, love of a family and of an equal fulfill the human ideals of romance as she defies all obstacles in her way. The love between Rochester and Jane dissolves the constraints of Victorian society where social status becomes of little significance. “Jane Eyre” epitomizes triumph over impossible odds as two people of different status can love each other for who they are and nothing more.

A major theme of “Jane Eyre” is Jane’s quest for love, which is made plain very early on in the novel. Before the novel has even begun, Jane has lost the love of her parents and her Uncle through their deaths. Jane seeks and finds certain degrees of maternal love in characters from each volume of her life, such as Bessie at Gateshead, Miss Temple at Lowood and Mrs. Fairfax at Thornfield Hall. However, these characters are promptly taken away from her. Jane finds not only a romantic love with Mr. Rochester, he is also a Byronic father-figure to her, Jane’s love for Rochester stems from the fact that he is the first to offer her a lasting love and a home, ‘I ask you to pass through life at my side- to be my second self, and best earthly companion,’ they are also ‘kindred spirits’ and although Rochester is Jane’s social and economic superior, they are spiritually and intellectually equal, however after chapter 11, volume 2, Jane becomes Rochester’s moral superior.

Jane searches not just for romantic love, but also for a sense of belonging and being valued. ‘To gain some real affection from you or Miss Temple… I would willingly submit to have the bone of my broken or to let a bull toss me.’ Although this is very melodramatic and derived from childish notions, it shows Jane’s desperate need throughout her life to love, and to be loved. Jane finds a passionate and companionable love with Mr. Rochester towards the denouement as equality has been achieved; Jane becomes an emotionally and economically independent woman. ‘No, sir; I am an independent woman now.’ With her time at Moor House, Jane matures and learns that she must love without sacrificing and harming herself, whilst Rochester learns to respect Jane and see her as an individual. This respect of Jane is what makes his dependence on her at the end of the novel more bearable to him, and makes Jane love him even more. ‘One is in danger of loving you too well for all this; and making too much of you.’ Mr. Rochester’s dependency on Jane is foreshadowed at their first meeting in chapter 11 when he is forced to lean on Jane to get to his horse. ‘He laid a heavy hand on my shoulder, and leaning on me with some stress, limped to his horse.’

Jane finds freedom through her marriage to Mr. Rochester but would have enslaved herself through loss of dignity if she had agreed to his proposal of becoming a mistress. Mr. Rochester and Jane overcome many obstacles and their relationship is symbolized by the chestnut tree at Thornfield Orchard, the tree is split in half and damaged, yet it still remains. ‘The great horse-chestnut at the bottom of the orchard had been struck by lightening in the night, and half of it split away.’ The tree at this point symbolizes the disastrous wedding to come and yet Jane and Mr. Rochester’s relationship survives. What appeals to readers about this romance is that there is betrayal and deceit in Jane and Edward’s relationship, which applies to couples of all generations; however Jane is still able to forgive Rochester. This degree of betrayal, often leads to the end of relationships however, in “Jane Eyre” it actually leads to the forming of a perfect relationship and marriage. ‘I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine…We are precisely...
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