Jane Eyre And The Theme Of Independence

Essay, Research Paper

In Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, a theme of independence is portrayed throughoutthe entire book. The main character, Jane Eyre, is constantly seeking ways in which shecan achieve independence. She has always depended on herself since she was a youngchild due to the death of both her parents and eventually becoming an unwanted orphan.Jane has been through many painful situations throughout the book and understands theneed for independence. The beginning of Jane’s life is spent living at her aunt’s house which is known asGateshead. Although Jane is a relative to the Reed family, she is treated more or less like aservant. Her aunt is cold and makes Jane aware that she is unwanted, ugly, and stupid.Jane is caught reading a book by her cousin John Reed and John throws the book at Jane.Jane is seriously injured and in need of health care. Mr. Lloyd is called to examine Jane.Mr. Lloyd suggests to Mrs. Reed that Jane might be happier in a school. Mrs. Reed doesallow Jane to leave Gateshead. She is extremely excited and decides that it is necessary toexpress her feelings to Mrs. Reed. Jane feels that she is the victor and states to herself, “My soul began to expand, to exult, with the strangest sense of freedom, of triumph….andthat I had struggled out into unhoped-for liberty.” (page 30) Jane begins to feel freedomand independence from the restraints that Mrs. Reed had put upon Jane. Jane arrives at Lowood and sees that it is not as luxurious as Gateshead but shewould much rather be here than with the Reed’s. Everything at Lowood seems to revolvearound a full schedule and it is very orderly. The uniforms which every girl wears is plainand boring. Jane befriends Helen Burns who is a strong girl who gives advice to Jane.Jane learns from Helen to learn from criticism which will avoid any type of punishment. Atyphus epidemic hits Lowood in the spring and many girls are sick and dying. One day,after returning from an outing, Jane sees the surgeon enter Lowood and learns that Helenis dying. She finds her way to where Helen is and falls asleep with Helen who dies duringthe night. Eight years later, Jane is still at Lowood but sees the need to move on out. Janeplaces an ad in the newspaper for the position of a governess. She gets a response to herad from a lady named Mrs. Fairfax. Jane accepts the position and before leaving Lowoodshe says, ” I mounted the vehicle which was to bear me to new duties and a new life in theunknown environs of Millcote.” Jane sees the need to break free from Lowood and lead amore independent life. Jane takes a sixteen-hour ride to Millcote and then an additional six miles to arriveat Thornfield. Mrs. Fairfax greets Jane and serves refreshments. The next day, Jane meetsAdele and tells Jane how she arrived at Thornfield. One day, Jane walking home she meetsa man who has fallen off his horse. She helps him and has a brief conversation with thestranger. Later on, she finds out it is Mr. Rochester, her employer. One night, Jane wakes up to find smoke coming out of Mr.Rochester’s room. Hisbed had been set on fire. Jane believes that Grace Poole had set flames to his bed andRochester agrees but makes her promise not to tell anyone what truly did happen. As timepasses, Jane and Rochester become closer and closer. Rochester shares with Jane manypersonal thoughts and experiences. Rochester eventually proposes marriage to Jane andJane accepts. Suddenly, a storm arrives and the tree which Jane and Rochester were sitting


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