"Jane Eyre": Loves vs. Autonomy.

Essay by brillowpad71High School, 12th grade December 2005

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In the novel by Charlotte Bronte, "Jane Eyre", there is a constant battle of love versus autonomy in Jane, the main character. At points Jane feels as if she would give anything to be loved. Yet over the course of the book Jane needs to learn how to gain affection of others without sacrificing something in return.

In the early stages of Jane's life she was a very autonomous girl. She grew up in a hostile environment in the home of Mrs. Reed and her three children, John, Eliza, and Georgiana that is known as Gateshead. The Reed family showed no love or any sort of affection towards Jane in any way, shape, or form; for they all despised her. She spent most of her time out of contact of others. The most contact she had with someone was a household maid, Bessie Lee. She was the only figure in Jane's childhood who regularly treated her kindly, telling her stories and singing her songs.

Bessie was the only person Jane felt comfortable around. Next to Bessie was a beat up doll that Jane looked to for comfort. Soon enough Jane embarks on a new stage of life, adding something else to this battle of love and autonomy, Lowood.

Jane's quest for love, value, and belonging continues at the Lowood Institution. It's an institution for girls that are orphans, abandoned children, or they have no one to ward with. Once she settled into her new surroundings at Lowood she began to look around for potential friends and acquaintances. The first person she ran into was an older girl, Helen Burns. Helen is a clumsy girl that's constantly doing something that the teachers there see worthy of punishment. However she endures her miserable punishment with a passive dignity that Jane cannot...