The Realization Of Passion In Jane Eyre

Essay, Research Paper

The Realization of Passion in Jane Eyre

It is believed that we are born with a predestined personality . Our spiritual

individuality is just as much a product of our genetic makeup as the color of our skin or

our eyes. With our soul firmly planted , we can then build upon this basis as we are

educated of the world. The social climate and cultural atmosphere shape our

personalities, however, it is the people in our lives who have the greatest influence.

Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre reveals this idea by the development of the

protagonist. Through a series of character foils , Bronte expresses her idea of

self-development and growth of the human spirit by contrasting passion with reason. By

my interpretation of the novel, Bronte suggests that in one’s life time, they will encounter

a number of people and experiences that will arouse enough emotion in them to have the

power to change their direction in life. St. John Rivers plays one of these life determining

foils to Jane Eyre. His confidence, devotion and reason intrigue Jane almost enough to

silence her inner passionate spirit , but it is the forces of nature that prove to be stronger

than human will.

The life path of a Victorian woman was somewhat limited in it’s direction and

expression of individuality. Jane Eyre strongly adheres to the Victorian morality which

was dominated by the Anglican party of the Church of England in which passion and

emotion were kept concealed. Jane’s instinct for asserting herself was stifled at an early

age and could only be expressed through defiance. The defiant declaration of

independence from Mrs. Reed , “You are deceitful”,(v.i.37) gives Jane the power of

freedom and opens up a life of “unhoped-for liberty”,(v.i.37).

Through the preceding years Jane develops into a highly educated, well spoken

and strong willed woman . She is taught to be patient and thoughtful during her years in

Lowood , and is introduced to the emotions of the heart and spirit in meeting Rochester.

Bronte makes an emphasis on the spiritual and supernatural atmosphere of


Thornfield. The reference to the “Gytrash” and the mystical atmosphere she illustrates of

their first meeting in the woods (v.i.113) could suggest that she is playing upon natural

imagery and allusions to express the idea that Jane and Rochester are a destined, yet

mysterious match of the souls. “ I knew …you would do me good in some way… I saw it

in your eyes when I first beheld you,” Rochester tells Jane. (v.i.152) and the use of the

repeated references to fire foreshadow and symbolize their growing passion for each

other. However, it is the symbolic interpretation of the lightning striking the

horse-chestnut tree in half that hints that their love will not evolve without a crisis.

( v.ii.259)

It is this crisis that throws Jane into the life of the Rivers family . Moor House and

the values of the Rivers are the mirror image of Thornfield. Where Thornfield was

mystical and romantic , Moor House has a comfortable and domestic setting. Jane’s

instant rapport with the “ spontaneous, genuine, genial compassion”, of Mary, Diana and

St. John allow her to feel at ease and safe. The contrast between Rochester and St. John

play a major part in the development of Jane’s self-fulfillment.

It is in Jane’s description of the two men that the reader gets the most tangible

picture of their contrasts. Bronte uses words such as “wild” and “moody” to describe

Rochester, whereas St. John is “compressed, condensed and controlled”, (v.iii.356).

A disciplined and educated missionary, he is focused on his one devotion and…

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