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Jane Eyre’s Search for Human Affection and Independence

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Jasmine Hilliard

Mr. Meyers

English IV DE

March 7, 2017

Jane Eyre’s Search for Human Affection and Independence

The novel, Jane Eyre, can be associated at a fictional memoir of, the author, Charlotte Bronte’s life. Jane Eyre is a very strong young woman with a great sense of independence. She faces several difficulties, some in which are similar to the author. Jane is considered to be “plain”. She has a very strong attitude towards equality. She is a prime example of a nineteenth century feminist. Throughout the novel, Jane develops character and independence that she has never had before. It helps to shape her into the strong and independent woman that she desired to be.

Jane desired to be financially equal to Rochester before she could marry him. She wanted to have her own wealth and independence.  Jane and Rochester are reunited and now she feels comfortable enough to marry him because she sees herself as his equal. Rochester is now blind and disabled. He is now dependent, which sorts of levels the difference in feminism between him and Jane. Jane stated “Mr. Rochester, if ever I did a good deed in my life—if ever I thought a good thought—if ever I prayed a sincere and blameless prayer—if ever I wished a righteous wish—I am rewarded now. To be your wife, is, for me, to be as happy as I can be on earth.” (453). Jane reassures Rochester that she is still in love with him. She tells him to be his wife would truly be a blessing.

During her time in Gatehead, after her Uncle Reed’s death, Jane lacked human affection. She was treated as an outcast. He aunt proclaimed, “No; you are less than a servant, for you are nothing for your keep. There, sit down and think over your wickedness.” (11). She was treated cruelly by her aunt and bullied by her cousins. Jane was not treated as she was part of the family, and was punished for absurd reasons. She was an orphan and had no other place to live. “You have no business to take our books; you are a dependent, mamma says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentlemen's children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mamma's expense. Now I'll teach you to rummage my book-shelves: for they are mine; all the house belongs to me, or will do in a few years. Go and stand by the door, out of the way of the mirror and the windows.” (10). She loved to read, but she was constantly tormented by her cousins.

After leaving Thornfield, Jane travels across England with little to no money. Jane is taken in to the home of the Rivers family, where Jane quickly makes friends with the sisters. St. John at first is very reserved but he eventually opens up to Jane after the sisters leave. St. John wanted Jane to marry him, because he thought of it as her Christian duty. He tries to guilty Jane into marrying him with a passage from the bible. Just as Jane was about to accept his proposal she heard Rochester’s voice calling her name.

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