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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is one of those novels in English literature that’s strives to portray the travails girls go through to maturity. The author presents a ten-year-old girl and her struggles until she becomes a woman trying to maintain her self-worth. The story follows orphan Jane adventures and experiences until she finds love, establishes her own identity, and achieves happiness. For Jane to discover who she is, she fights hard to overcome the condition surrounding her life. In her quest, Jane meets other independent like-mind people who she accepts and fortunately gains the family she wants.
Charlotte Bonte was a writer all her life, but none of her works compares to this gothic masterpiece. Jane Eyre is a Dark Age novel focused on mysteries that took place in the dark. The book appears to be exotic and haunted, but there are an ageless love story and a terrible secret. Jane Eyre finds herself in a world that demands total obedience from an ideal woman. But, she chooses to rebel against such limiting conditions.
In the fight for her life, she struggles to find self-worth and integrity. Her personality contains virtues that people applaud as desirable. She is truthful, sincere, frank, and appears not to be worldly.
The novel also tries to highlight age-old questions such as: what is a woman’s position in society? What is the relationship between Britain and the colonies? What is the relationship between dreams and reality? And what is the basis of a practical marriage? The burning desire to see if the author provides answers to these puzzles is what makes Jane Eyre a must-read novel for multiple readers.
Fight for the Fraternity of Social Class
Charlotte Bonte wrote Jane Eyre from her personal experience, and this transformed the novel into a universal wonder. In the 19th Century in the United Kingdom, the bases for living and association were class. People who are born into the Upper Class maintain it while the Lower Class people stick to themselves. Young Jane is a poor little girl who loses her parents and finds herself in a rich environment, at Gateshead. Her sudden arrival at Thornfield also shows her the importance of belonging to the Upper Class. Being a poor girl, she continuously faces worries, sadness, personal insecurity, and denial of opportunities. For instance, her cousins will always insult her and remind her of her poor family background. Again, Jane attends Jane Lowood School, a Charity School for orphan girls. In that environment, Mr. Brocklehurst, harmfully maltreat the girls by starving them, providing poorly made cloth and shoes for them.
Another event that depicts the struggle for the class is the competition between Miss Blanche Ingram an Upper-Class lady and the man she loves. One outstanding attitude about Jane is that even though she comes from a poor background, she doesn’t feel inferior. She breaks through the class of prejudices about her standing and interacts with people of different classes at work.
Jane also breaks the jinx of the class by marrying Mr. Rochester. But, Jane didn’t marry him because she is worldly or her crave for wealth. This can be affirmed when Jane refuses to marry Rochester because she thinks he is a liar. Another instant showing her uncaring attitude towards wealth is when she shares her wealth among her cousins.
Jane’s attitude in the novel shows that anyone can achieve his/her set goals in life. All it takes is to believe in yourself and develop a positive mental attitude. One’s family’s poor background should not be an excuse to become poor if you are downtrodden, strife to work harder to find yourself in an improved status.
One of the central ideas in Jane Eyre is gender discrimination. Jane has a personal ambition to become independent because of her qualities. Jane’s gender prevents her from venturing into some careers of her dream. The men in the novel feel that women are merely objects to use at will. St. John Rivers tries to use Jane to achieve his objective by asking her to go to India with him. When Jane realizes that her uncle wants to use her to achieve his aim she decides to take a firm position.
Bronte uses marriage in the novel to paint the struggle for power between men and women. Though Bertha Marson, Rochester’s wife is seen in the novel as insane, it shows a provocative symbol of how women are treated in society. Jane is very much aware of gender discrimination. She refuses to marry Mr. Rochester till she gets her fortune before going into the marriage.
Some developing and under-developed countries face these social issues today. Women still face a lot of social hindrances as a result of the gender gap. Some of such limitations are girl child early marriage, lack of access to education, female infanticide, and in some countries, they are forbidden to drive, etc. No wonder the United Nations has been working to bridge this gap and has been empowering women to achieve a lot of things while raising awareness against gender bias.
Jane is an orphan who does not have any family except an Aunt Mrs. Reed, who curiously hates her with passion. She is under oppression, humiliation, and dependent, but she continues to seek a way to break out. At home, Jane starts looking for a way to strike a balance between service and love. Later, a way outcomes and she begins to live with a commitment to love.
But, she needs a family where people will love and support her in return. In her search for a family, she comes across two friends who play important roles in her life. From Miss Temple, she learns a good behavioral attitude as a lady, while Helen Burns imparts so much in her spiritual life.
But Jane did not stop there. She goes to work as a governess at Thornfield and meets her love who she eventually marries. As the novel takes another shape, Jane feels loved and develops a sense of belonging. The reader is satisfied when at the end of the novel Jane creates her own family with Rochester in a loving relationship.
Take a few minutes to think of a world where you find yourself alone? It will look so dull, demoralizing, frustrating, and disinteresting. People naturally want to love and be loved. That is the case of Jane Eyre. In her early in life, Jane yearns for affection, relationship with family and friends. But they shut her off from the family circle and deprive her of the love she needs. Like she tells her aunt, “I should have been glad to love you if you would have left me”. However, having a loving family is the greatest thing everybody will appreciate. Even in her aunt’s dying bed, she is ready to forgive despite hiding the message from her uncle.
In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte represents religion as a powerful tool that can be used for evil or good. She also treats the supernatural with great contempt. After all, she is the daughter of a priest of the Church of England. Jane is a devout Christian, notwithstanding that her childhood abusers use religion to excuse their behavior. At Lowood School, Mr. Brocklehurst uses religion as an instrument of power. His preaching is full of hypocrisy. He is worldly and renders emotional abuse to the students. He eventually leaves the management of the school.
Jane’s spiritual life develops because she learns to follow Christian teachings and resist temptation. Her friend Helen Burns teaches her the New Testament, which guides her morally throughout her lifetime. Jane uses her Christianity to influence the life of Mr. Rochester, who learns to pray and become humble.
Many people today hide under the cover of Christianity and commit a lot of atrocities in the church just as the novel relates. Christianity is a religion and prescribes a Christ-like life. Today, a lot of people attend theology schools, becomes pastors, but fail to live like children of God. They see the church as a money-making organization without any modicum of selflessness and humility.
Inward and Outward Beauty
In the novel, Charlotte Bonte looks at the analysis between inward and outward beauty. She describes Bertha Mason and Blanche Ingram as beauteous and attractive. The outward appearance of Bertha is what attracts Rochester to her. He did not take the time to look at her character. It is after the marriage that she reveals her true nature. Mr. Rochester seems to have learned his lesson when he met Blanche. Despite her natural beauty and endowment, he learns not to judge on outward appearance. Therefore he refuses to marry her.
Jane’s beauty on the contrary relates to her mood and character. She has an inward beauty that attracts Rochester. Her natural intelligence and good moral upbringing express her beauty than any other female character in the novel.
Bronte pinpoints the benefits of a good moral upbringing than physical appearance. Also, she emphasizes that a beautiful heart is a person’s great virtue, nobility, and beauty. But nowadays, people tend to judge beauty based on physical appearance, social status, and wealth.
Jane Eyre is one of those literary works that will never fade. Charlotte Bonte was a poet whose novel Jane Eyre formed part of the western literature. Her imaginative prowess and understanding of human nature made her work to be unique. For instance, her description of Jane’s emotion is so beautiful that one can feel it. There were many unexpected events in the plot, which leaves readers enthralled until the end.
The author also plays with human emotions such as happiness, sorrow, anger, fear, hate, and pity to put life into the novel. This is something that many authors are incapable of achieving. Many enthusiasts believe that Jane Eyre was an account of Bronte’s personal experience, which she transforms into a novel. She keeps an indelible mark in the heart. Jane Eyre is not just a novel but a British romantic movie. It was captured in a TV show released in 2011. Director Cary brought the novel to life by using Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench.