Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre: Love or Independence? Essay

Submitted By rebeccafez
Words: 838
Pages: 4

“The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself,” she cries as justification for her abandonment in her moment of desperation, for Jane must choose between being with the man she loves and being respected by God and herself. Jane Eyre, in the novel by Charlotte Bronte of the same name, is conflicted between her love and passions for Mr. Rochester, and the reason and morals she learned as a child from her childhood friend Helen Burns. Her emotional side is full of a feminine and dependent love that makes Jane completely vulnerable to her intended. Jane’s cerebral, logical side cries for independence and freedom from obligations to society to be beautiful and tactful. It is the conflict between her rational, religious, and independent way of thinking and her emotional and dependent side that defend and create the meaning of equality and happiness in her relationship with men and herself.
Her love for Rochester grows from a resistant and wary relationship started when she arrived at Thornfield Hall, into an abundant and heavy feeling. As her love slowly blooms into a feeling that overwhelms Jane, it also grows into a dependency Jane has on Rochester for her happiness. She let her emotions consume her and when she feels they are not reciprocated, she falls into a depression. Although she seemingly finds her constant happiness when she and Rochester declare their love for each other and proclaim themselves as equal, the chestnut tree that so symbolizes their love is struck by lightning. The Chestnut Tree is a foreshadowing of the future event of Jane leaving Rochester; she cannot suppress her need to be moral and ethical, and when she leaves him, the chestnut tree symbolizes the breaking of the relationship, for just their love was not enough to keep them in tact. Her side of emotion and passion does not bring an actual equality to their relationship, and therefore cannot satisfy Jane or the novel’s theme of happiness through equality. As a child, Jane Eyre’s personality of eruptive and spiteful behavior changed into on of calm and relative repressions through her friend Helen Burns. Helen teaches Jane to respect and be logical, without being too passionate and emotional. When Jane meets Rochester and falls in love with him, that reasoning in Jane is challeneged and defeated, for she allows her admiration for him to cloud her judgement. However, Jane still has a strong respect and love for her God and her morals, aso when being with Rochester would challenge those beliefs (living with a married man is considered a sin in the Christian religion), she once again become a cerebral and logical person who chooses her love of God and reason over her love for man. As she chooses her independent and responsible side, however, she loses her happiness and does not find satisfaction the equality that she feels necessary. When she leaves Rochester and makes the acquaintance of John Rivers, he treats her as a domestically obligated object, nothing more than a future missionary’s wife. Jane’s cerebral side does not bless her with the equality and happiness so needed by her in the novel. Both of Jane’s conflicting sides fail to bring a true sense of equality and happiness in Jane and