Self Respect In Jane Eyre

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Topics: Marriage, Love, Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre illustrates the significance of self-respect, confidence, and integrity in overcoming several predicaments. Bronte portrays this through Jane, who possesses both a sense of self-worth and dignity, which are continually tested and depicted throughout the novel. These attributes are illustrated when she refuses St. John’s hand in marriage, leaves Rochester after discovering his secret that he is married, and when she bravely stands up to Mrs. Reed.

Jane’s confrontation to her Aunt Reed is the first time the readers witness her possess a sense of confidence. Throughout her life in Gateshead, Jane is treated with cruelty and abuse, and during the event of Mr. Brocklehurst’s visit, she is treated no differently. Mrs.
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John’s request for marriage because she possesses self- respect and therefore, will only marry out of love. Once again, Jane esteemed principle over feeling, and in this case, Jane feels no romantic feelings for St. John. For this reason, Jane declines her cousin’s proposal, which is another unethical confrontation that she encountersbut but ultimately overcomes. As time goes by, St. John continues to exert a greater influence on Jane, which leaves her feeling empty, cold, and sad. At last, he asks her to go to India with him to be a missionary—and to be his wife. Jane agrees to go to India as a missionary but states that she will not be his wife because they are not in love and would be “abandon[ing] half of herself” (Bronte 432), for she would be disregarding her values. Consequently, St. John harshly insists that “[this] is what [he] wants.. Jane, [ ] would not repent marrying me” (Bronte 436). Additionally, he declares that to refuse his proposal is the same as to deny the Christian faith and goes to the extent to tell Jane that she will not encounter enough love to be part of a true union in marriage. In many ways, the proposal tempts her because it is an opportunity to perform good works and to be more than a governess or schoolteacher, where her jobs at Lowood, Thornfield, and Morton have all made her feel trapped, however, while contemplating his request, she claims that “there would be recesses in [her] mind” (Bronte 436), which depicts

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