The novel, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte delivers a strong feminist message. Jane was a strong woman in a time when women were not meant to be strong. She was very out spoken (even as a child) and very sure in her values and opinions. She would not change them for anyone. She did not even let men control her, which is what was expected of women in this era.
Jane’s father died when she was a little girl, leaving her basically on her own. The only kin she had that she knew of was an aunt that saw her as nothing but a burden and treated her cruelly. Her three cousins were just as bad, which further distressed her situation. Jane’s only escape from living with these awful people was the solitude she found in books. Any time she had spare time she would read. It is Jane’s love for reading and the knowledge she gained from them that gives her the power to finally stand up to her aunt.
Her aunt ultimately gets rid of Jane by sending her to a very strict boarding school designed for orphans called Lowood. At Lowood Jane befriends a girl by the name of Helen Burns. When she first meets Helen, she sees her being punished in front of her entire class for virtually no reason. After witnessing this incident, Jane talks to Helen about it because she does not understand why she did not resist the teacher she says: You are good to those who are good to you. It is all I ever desire to be. If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and unjust, the wicked people would have it all their own way: they would never feel afraid, and so they would never alter, but would grow worse and worse.
When we are struck at without a reason, we should strike back again very hard; I am sure we should-so hard as to teach the person who struck us never to do it again (p. 60). This quote shows Jane’s strength and determination, which demonstrates her tendency to stand up to those who treat her unjustly. While at Lowood the reader also starts to see one of Jane’s weaknesses – she desperately needs people to love her since she was without love for so long at Gateshead. She receives this love from Helen and the head of the school, . Unfortunately Helen dies after Jane being there only a short time.
Jane finishes her schooling at Lowood and begins to teach there. Eventually Miss Temple gets married and leaves. Since Miss Temple moves on, Jane has nothing left there and takes a Governess job at Thornfield that she knows nothing about. At Thornfield, the head of the house is Mr. Rochester, a Bachelor who took in a child named Adele after her mother died. It is possible that Rochester is her father.
Mr. Rochester is almost twice the Jane’s age, which is only eighteen at the time. When she first meets him, he comes off as rude and condescending. Jane exhibits, once again, her ability to stand up for herself in one of the very first conversations she has with him saying: I don’t think, sir, you have the right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the the use you have made of your time and experience (p. 137). This quotation shows that Jane does not let herself be intimidated by him even though he is male, he is much older than her, and he is her boss.
Jane and Mr. Rochester, in time, come to enjoy each other’s company and end up falling in love. Rochester eventually proposes to Jane and she accepts. After she…
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