Jane Eyre-criticism of the mai

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Downloaded 629 times

Jane Eyre is a novel about struggle of a little governess for self-realization and dream-fulfillment. In that determined and almost obsessive struggle Jane appears as a self-involved person in an absolute denial of the world around her. This particular layer of Jane's complex personality is important because it shades a general course of the novel. At one point it even raises social and moral issues from the standpoint of Victorian conventionality. In this passage I will show in which way Jane expresses her self-involvement through the denial; I will seek for the evidence and reasons of that; and at last I will give the explanation of how this 'innocent', 'honest' creature developed its mechanisms that influenced broad picture of Jane's personality.

Jane grabbed her reward with blind happiness and joy. "I thought only of the bliss given me to drink in so abundant a flow. Again and again he said, 'Are you happy Jane?' And again and again I answered, 'Yes.'

" (224). Jane doesn't have any questions for Rochester. She accepts the rapture of the moment and steps into the future refusing to discern or reveal the vale of mystery that surrounds them. Her strong individuality and feeling of self-respect persuades her that she deserves this happiness after all the torturing that she has experienced. She is too exhilarated to think that something bad could happen. Thus, she doesn't see the change of weather as a bad sign, but as a part of a nature. She describes how bad weather that night was, but concludes that even aware of it, she "experienced no fear, and little awe" (225). It is impossible to overlook her selectivity in what she believes to be a sign, and what she believes is nature, especially if we look at the very next chapter. Here we have Jane experiencing beautiful, sunny morning. Birds are singing, everything appears to be wonderful, and Jane thinks that this is nothing but the sign of God's approval of her happy fortune. This is a peak of her unseeing that the horrible and for her tragic event will take place.

Another aspect of Jane's denial comes from the moral and social point of view. "…there stood the widow, pale, grave, and amazed. I only smiled at her, and ran up stairs. 'Explanation will do for another time,' thought I. Still, when I reached my chamber, I felt a pang at the idea she should even temporarily misconstrue what she had seen" (225). But that was just a pang. Very next moment Jane's thoughts are filled with joy. Her whole being is too happy to think that she has crossed the border of conventionality and what is called social decency at the time. She does not see herself as a typical governess anyway; nor she sees herself being equal with Ms Fairfax (although she claims so). And this points to Jane's shadowy character. They communicate in a warm and friendly manner, with the difference in their attitudes toward their positions in society and Thornfield. Jane denies that her education and family origin don't mean anything, except a good recommendation for governess, and gives herself right to claim the kind of happiness offered to her by Rochester. Kind of happiness that was completely non-imaginable and acceptable by society. She sees that as a reward for the hard life she had, and Ms Fairfax sees it as an unacceptable behavior of a governess that is supposed to comply with her duties. Jane doesn't think about the big picture and her worry is that she can be judged as his mistress. She denies the existence of a big class difference that separates them. And maybe there is a little naivete in her believing that people around her understand and approve this relationship if it is lawful.

Charlotte Bronte describes Jane's character and personality as a passionate, honest and innocent. I, personally, did not see Jane so. Through the novel Jane learns how to control her feelings, her wild and passionate nature. From that innocent child, she grew in a person who almost appears manipulative (for the lack of the better word) in her wish to become appreciated and loved by people. She uses the experience she gained through her life in Lowood, and clears her path not really thinking about anything, but herself. That experience rooted in her wish to succeed and that she deserves love. It also made her act and appear as a hypocritical and selfish person. She decided to fulfill her dreams and she will use all her energy and intelligence in that self-centeredness, even if the price of it is a complete denial of everything that is around her.

Jane Eyre, after all, does fulfill her dreams, somehow leaving the impression of a spotlessly moral person. She goes through the temptations and stays straight. Her maker slides her through a wide prism of realistic and unrealistic elements, trying to show us a complexity of Jane's personality. Her task is to make us believe that through the life, pure and honest love can remove all denials, all selfishness that we carry within ourselves. Jane Eyre will stay an enigma, made of complex, opposite, inconsistent literary techniques that crafted complicated characters, unexpected turns, and confused our minds. All this layers and levels of Bronte's writing make the novel interesting and exciting. She will continue to polarize attitudes, to disappoints or fascinates its readers with the content.