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.