Love Relationships in Jane Eyre

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Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre is typically a novel that revolves around the quest for love. There are therefore several love relationships that emerge throughout the novel, some romantic, others familial or platonic. Most of these relationships centre around Jane herself because she forms the core of the novel around whom the other characters revolve. The protagonist of the novel, Jane Eyre herself, embarks on this quest for love from the very beginning of the book. As the novel opens, we see her long for the love and acceptance of her aunt, Mrs. Reed and her cousins, John, Eliza and Georgiana. However, all she gets is emotionally and physically hurt. She is constantly chastised and discriminated against by her aunt, while she finds herself more often than not becoming the target of her cousin, John Reed’s ire. Her aunt’s indifference to her pain and need to belong, takes a toll on the little girl who longs to get away from Gateshead. When she reaches school, the first kind of steady affection she actually encounters is by Helen Burns, a girl Jane’s age, who is probably worse treated than Jane herself. Constantly at the receiving end of a teacher’s ire, Helen shows Jane the true meaning of the word forbearance. She smiles through all the hardships she must endure and subconsciously teaches Jane to deal with her pain and suffering as well. Although Jane does not subscribe to the same kind of patience and tolerance that Helen advocates, she still learns a tremendous amount from her friend and understands what true friendship is when she experiences Helen’s support for her in her must troubled and humiliating moments in school. As she grows older, her next love relationship is probably considered to be the crux of the novel. Her encounter with Rochester marks the beginning of a love story that helps carry the story forward to its appropriate end. Despite Rochester’s sternness and secrecy, Jane finds herself falling in love with her...
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