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Marriage and Jane Eyre

Oct 08, 1999 816 Words
To fully know one's self and to be able to completely

understand and interpret all actions and experiences one

goes through is difficult enough. However, analyzing and

interpreting the thoughts and feelings of another human being

is in itself on an entirely different level. In the novel Jane

Eyre, its namesake makes a decision to reject her one true

love in favor of moral decency. Certain aspects of the novel

discredit the validity of Jane's choice.

The truthfulness of Jane's reason to leave Mr. Rochester can

be questioned because Jane Eyre narrates the novel herself.

She therefore, can exaggerate or warp any details in regard

to her feelings at any present time in the past, as well as her

true intentions or fears. At several points in the book Jane

chooses to avoid going into detail because the subject is too

painful or would be of no interest to the reader. Such painful

memories may have an influence on her development as a

child and would give further insight into her personality,

weaknesses and strength. Although Jane has a stringent

moral Christian upbringing, she has a great deal of pride and

cares about the opinions of others around her. When

walking from house to house begging for food from

strangers, she has a great deal of loathing for herself. She

also admits that if she saw someone in a similar situation to

herself, she would treat her the exact same way as the

people of the hamlet treat her. The pride that Jane carries

with her might influence her as she tells her tale. She may

change details in order to seem more pious or more proper.

Jane has reached a blissful state in finding the love of her

employer Mr. Rochester. Unfortunately he has a wife in a

deranged woman who lives in the attic, where she is tended

by a strange, jinn drinking servant. Despite the strange

circumstances surrounding the marriage, Jane chooses to

end her life a Thornfield Manor and flee through the country

side. She claims that the reason she leaves her true love is

that their marriage would be one that would go against God.

Mr. Rochester is already spoken for. The possibility of him

as an acceptable husband is slim. He admits he lied to Jane

and attempted to become a "polygamist", but he appeals to

her sense of reason asking how an insane animal could be

his wife. Still she rejects his proposal and leaves, but does

she leave because of God, or another reason.

The novel, narrated by Jane, shows a less than flattering side

of organized religion. The two representatives of the Cloth

are Mr. Brokelhurst and St. John Rivers. Both are unloving

and cold. The school Jane attended was under the iron clad

rule of Brokelhurst. He demanded the girls of his school be

prepared for a life of hardship and misery. St. John wanted

not to be loved by another, but to serve God. He rejected

the love of another, and his love for her in favor of serving

God as a missionary. He asks if Jane will marry him and go

to India, but offers a loveless marriage. He says the only

thing he wants is a wife and becomes nearly violent when

Jane does not accept his offer. The depiction of these two

members of the Church in the novel may show that Jane

does not respect the stringent ways of organized religion.

Many people she hated held God in high regard and thought

themselves to be quite pious and religious, most notably

Mrs. Reed. Mrs. Reed, Jane's former guardian, constantly

warned Jane about the wrath of God and called her a

wicked girl with great frequency. She threatened Jane with

promises of Hell and suffering for such an unwholesome girl.

Jane may have had her own idea about religion and God.

Perhaps she found the marriage acceptable, but would not

allow herself to part with the teachings she had become

some familiarized with and used to identify herself.

When contemplating Mr. Rochester's offer she almost

accepts it, but fears her acquiescence would ruin everything

she believed in and make the entire union a hollow travesty.

She may have even chosen to reject Rochester because she

wanted to obey the laws of England. Perhaps the idea of

breaking the marriage laws of England would cause her to

think of herself as a common thief or criminal.

The reason Jane gives for choosing to leave Rochester is not

one to be accepted without hesitation. One must remember

that a human being is telling the tale. A human being with

feelings, weaknesses and opinions. The story of Jane Eyre is

not told by an omnipotent impartial observer, but by a

woman looking ten years back at what her life was or what

she hoped or wished it to be.

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