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Jane Eyre

By blackshamrock Apr 01, 2007 565 Words
Jane Eyre centrals around a quest to be loved. Jane (the main protagonist) searches, not just for love, but also for a sense of belonging. It also is apparent however, that Jane has a longing of being autonomous, something that is hard to retain while one is in a relationship, and it happens on many occasions that she is forced to choose between one or the other. Over the course of the book, Jane must learn how to gain love without sacrificing and harming herself in the process.

Jane's fear of losing her autonomy is the driving force behind her refusal to marry Mr. Rochester's. Jane is under the impression that "marrying" Rochester while he remains legally tied to Bertha would mean rendering herself a mistress and sacrificing her own integrity for the sake of emotional gratification. On the other side of things, while she is living at Moor House she is tested in the exact opposite manner. There, she enjoys economic independence and engages in worthwhile and useful work, teaching the poor; yet this lacks emotional sustenance.for Jane. Although she is offered marriage by St. John at this facility, Jane knows their marriage would remain more or less loveless.

Nonetheless, Jane's stay at Moor House are vital tests of Jane's autonomy. Only after proving to her self that she can be self-sufficient, will she consider wedlock with Rochester, as she would not be asymmetrically dependent upon him as her "master" or "keep." Their marriage would be one between two equals. As Jane says: "I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine. . . . To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. . . . We are precisely suited in character—perfect concord is the result."

The development and evolution of Jane Eyre's character through the novel is strongly influenced by the choices she must make to get her morals satisfied. From the beginning of the story, Jane possesses a sense of her self-worth and dignity, and a passionate disposition, even through the cruel treatment she receives from her Aunt Reed and her cousins. This may actually have been the main force behind her constant internal battle between being self sustaining and having a place to fit in, because when she lived with her Aunt, she primarily had to look after herself, having next to no one who would be her friend, let alone talk to her. Through this, Jane is afraid that she will never find a true sense of home or community, Jane feels the need to belong somewhere, to find "kin," or at least "kindred spirits." This desire tempers her equally intense need for autonomy and love.

Charlotte Brontë may have created Jane Eyre as a way of coming to terms with elements of her own life. It is very likely that Bronte struggled to find a balance between love and freedom and to find others who understood her. At many points in the book, Jane voices the author's then-radical opinions on religion, social class, and gender which effected Jane so much through out the novel. The ultimate reason behind Jane's battle to keep the need of being loved, and retaining her ability to be autonomous may simply have been the manefestaions of an authors frustrated thoughts on civilization.

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