“I walked about the chamber most of the time. I imagined myself only to be regretting my loss, and thinking how to repair it; but when my reflections were concluded, and I looked up and found that the afternoon was gone, and evening far advanced, another discovering dawned on m – namely, that in the interval I had undergone a transforming process; that my mind had put off all of it had borrowed of Miss Temple – or rather, that she had taken with her the serene atmosphere I had been breathing in her vicinity – and that now I was left in my natural element, and beginning to feel the stirring of old emotions. It did not seem as if a prop were withdrawn, but rather as if a motive were gone: it was not the power to be tranquil which had failed me, but the reason for tranquility was no more. My world had for some years been in Lowood: my experience had been of its rules and systems; now I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils.” (101
An adult Jane Eyre narrates this passage on the afternoon of Miss Temple’s wedding, after she has left Lowood for her honeymoon. Jane is eighteen years old, and teaches at the school. In this passage, Jane reflects on her present situation, and begins to realize that she has reached a forked road. Although Jane knows that she will miss Miss Temple, a role model and significant influence on Jane’s adolescence, Jane believes that the peace created around her is not true to her own nature. Her thoughts have taken her through a “transforming process”, and it leaves her in her “natural element.” Therefore, Jane has been denying her natural inclinations and feels that she no longer needs to be tranquil, but can allow herself to feel “the stirring of old emotions.” The word “natural” is important in the novel; Mrs. Reed always wished that Jane acted more...
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