Jane Erye: A Woman Of Independent Means

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"Jane Eyre....a Woman of Independent Means" Charlotte Brontes, Jane Eyre is a novel which employs many themes. Of them all, Jane the main character, displays a strong character trait of being an independent woman. For example, Jane has an ability to survive in life as a woman with little education and no family. Living with a distant family who shows disrespect and hatred for Jane, she is isolated into a world of her own. She receives little education, but many experiences at her first school Lowood and eventually goes on to become a governess. Also, as a wife in the 1800's most women were the ones being taken car of. However, Jane was the one taking care of her handicapped husband, Mr.Rochester.

It is childhood where Jane is first on her own in life. Jane was an orphan being taken care of by her mothers brother, Mr. Reed, and his not so loving family.

After the death of Mr. Reed, Janes life begins to slowly worsen for her. Life at Gateshed, the Reeds' estate, is hard for Jane. Her three step-cousins and aunt show disrespect and hatred towards her.

Because the three cousins, John, Eliza, and Georgiana constantly harass Jane. At times, she is so distraught from her cousins' actions that she isolates herself from them from them, trying to build an imaginary wall between her and her so-called family. "It is well I drew the curtain," thought I; and wished fervently he might not discover my hiding place...," Jane said to herself.(Bronte 8) Jane is forced to survive on her own in life. With little education as a young child, she has many experiences at her first and only school, Lowood, which help her to mature and obtain skills to enter the world as a young independent woman. For one, she learns to love and receives love from two people in particular who she becomes close with, Helen Burns and Miss Temple. This love, which Jane never received in the Reed home was a necessity which helps Janes to reach her independence as a person. "Her need for love is compounded with a female sense that love must be purchased through suffering and self-sacrifice..."(Rich 95) With the experiences and lessons she is taught at Lowood, Jane is ready to enter the world as a young woman and she receives a position as a governess.

As Jane continues to live life as a governess with her employer Mr.

Rochester at Thornfield Hall, she later falls in love with him. As situations complicate with Mr. Rochester Jane is confronted with many challenges in life. Mr.Rochester threatens her personal beliefs, and Jane decides that she would eventually end up hurting herself so she ends the relationship, staying independent. She leaves the estate and ventures to another part of the country where she is again on her own. Then, time goes by and Jane decides she is still in love with Mr. Rochester so she returns to the manor which has burned to the ground in an accident where her lover had lost his vision and one hand. "It is a dream; such dreams as I have had at night when I have clasped her once more to my heart, as I do now..." (Bronte 441) Eventually, Jane and Mr. Rochester fall in love again and are wed. As a married couple in the 1800's; the man is usually expected to take care of his wife. However, in Janes case, she is the stronger one of the two partners and must take care of her handicapped husband.

Jane, a woman with no family to raise her and very little education survives through life rather genuine. Throughout the story Jane struggles to resist the manipulation of others to transform her into their own views of who and what she should be like. Her devotion to her own principles in life bring a great deal of suffering, but she ends up surviving many challenges of her personal beliefs. "Jane Eyre, motherless and economically powerless, undergoes certain traditional female temptations, and finds that each temptation presents itself along with an alternative - the image of a nurturing or principled or spirited woman on whom she can model herself, or to whom she can look for support." (Rich 91)