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jane eyre st.john

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April 16, 2013

Same Goal, Opposite Paths, Opposite Outcomes
Change is an essential part of development throughout life. One’s attitude toward change correlates directly with the outcome of his or her life. In the novel, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte examines how emphasizing or neglecting what makes one truly happy when dealing with change impacts one’s life. St.John throws away the possibility of a happy life when he makes the life changing decision to be a missionary and thus dies a lonely unsatisfied mad, whereas, when Jane faces the two biggest changes of her life, she puts what will make her happy first, which in turn leads her to a life of great fulfillment.

St. John’s life changing decision to become a missionary exemplifies his disregard for his own happiness. “’I thought I had made a mistake entering the ministry… I burned for the more active life of the world- for the more exciting toils of a literary career- for the destiny of an artist, author, orator, anything rather than that of a priest… God had an errand for me”(392). St. John does admit that a life outside of the priest hood would make him happy but he has an unbearable drive to go out and prove himself against difficult challenges. He’s become “hard and cold… as an iceberg” because he “locks every feeling and pang within” (402) as to not disrupt his holy path. Despite this, St. John does have an opportunity for happiness. He is in love with Ms. Rosamond Oliver and is aware that her feelings are mutual. “While I love Rosamond Oliver so wildly- with all the intensity, indeed, of a first passion… I experience at the same time… she would not make a good wife…”(405). St. John shakes himself of the notion of pursuing a life with Rosamond simply because she doesn’t have what it takes to be a missionary’s wife: “Rosamond a sufferer, laborer, a female apostle? … No!” (405). St. John also has the option to relinquish the idea of being a missionary so that he can pursue her but he earnestly believes...