Jane Eyre: Romanticism Essay, Research Paper
Through the late 17th and into the mid-18th century, English literature remained in the Classical Age. Classicism emphasized clarity, logic, and reason, conforming closely to the classical eras both n music and in culture. Because of strict adherence to the fundamental aspects of classicism, there was rebellion against these principles; therefore inhibiting the firm holds that the classical age held in literature. This deviation from restraint, clarity, and reason resulted in the beginning of the Romantic Age in English literature. From the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century, Romanticism came into play as the major form of literary expression of the time. The Romantic view emphasized emotion, nature, mysteriousness, and self discovery, among others. Jane Eyre clearly demonstrates that it adheres to the characteristics Romantic Age despite the fact that it was written in the Post-Romantic era.
In Jane Eyre, mysteriousness, one of the defining ideas of the Romantic Age, is used in the novel. Mystery is first emphasized in Jane s experience in the Red Room when she is convinced that she has seen the ghost of her dead uncle, Mr. Reed. Jane says, I thought the swift-darting beam was a herald of some coming vision from another world. My heart beat thick, my head grew hot However, the first significant mystery begins when Jane arrives at Thornfield. She hears strange laughter coming from the upstairs: When thus alone, I not unfrequently heard Grace Poole s laugh: the same peal I heard, too, her eccentric murmurs; stranger than her laugh. She is told that the servant is a little on the eccentric side, thus accounting for the strange noises heard. As the mystery unravels, Rochester is nearly killed due to a fire supposedly set by the servant, Grace Poole. Another attack on a friend of Rochester s is yet again blamed on the servant. The mystery continues until Rochester finally acknowledges that the evil woman is really his wife, Bertha, whom he was forced to marry. In addition, the personality of Rochester evokes a sense of mysteriousness in the novel. Mrs. Fairfax calls Rochester peculiar and eludes to the Rochesters as a violent family. Mr. Rochester, much like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, is relatively taciturn, thus adding an air of elusiveness and mysteriousness to the personality. This was further emphasized by the fact that he was hiding the secret of his wife from Jane.
Besides the mysterious elements in the novel, Jane Eyre demonstrates through Jane s journey the notion of self-discovery, one of the aspects of Romanticism. The female journey in a Bildungs Roman is characterized by the main character(Jane) finding the truth in herself and figuring out the truths in her life and trying to find a place in the world. Jane begins to discover her true feelings for Rochester and sees the direction in theses feelings when she says, For when I say that I am of his kind, I do not mean that I have his force to influence and his spell to attract; I, mean only that I have certain tastes and feelings in common with him. I must, the, repeat continually that we are for ever sundered-and yet, while I breathe and think, I must love him. While Jane begins to realize her own feelings, she struggles with the self-discovery of her place in life, despite having a greater sense of freedom. On her return to Gateshead, Jane says, I still felt as a wanderer on the face of the earth, but I experience firmer trust I myself and my own powers, and less withering read of oppression. At the end of the novel however, Jane seems to find her place in the world by settling down with Mr. Rochester and living a life which she describes by stating, I am independent, sir, as well as rich: I am my own mistress. Here, Jane has finally discovered and recognized her own independence. Not only does this emphasize the self-discovery aspect of…
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