The Universatility In Bronte
’s Jane Eyre Essay, Research Paper
The Universality of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre
Although Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre was published almost 150 years ago, it portrays feelings that people today can recognize. Since the nineteenth century, cities are larger, homes and businesses are more modernized, more violence occurs, and in general the whole of society is completely different, but what has not changed is the way people feel. The only difference is the experience or event that causes the emotion. We have all felt the same feelings that Jane experiences: isolation – the first months of college when you know no one and no one knows you; pain – your boyfriend of two years breaks your heart; loneliness – the best friend you thought would be there forever moves a thousand miles away. To feel such emotions is human. Because Jane exposes her humanity as she grows as an individual, people of any century can relate to her journey. Bronte shows the universality of Jane’s journey by organizing it into stages that parallel the development of a child into a mature individual. Jane begins her journey at Gateshead where we can identify with her because of our own childhood experiences. When John Reed says to Jane, “You have no business to take our books; you are a dependant,
mamma says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentleman’s children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mamma’s expense” (Bronte 42), he is trying to make her mad, maybe even shed a few tears. John’s actions resonate the actions of the class bully who too frequently stole lunch money and never got caught. Also, he plays the role of the big brother who blames his little sister getting her sent to her room, as Jane gets blamed and sent to the Red Room. Jane never voices her anger, or any other emotion, to Mrs Reed. During childhood,
we are often afraid of telling our parents, or guardians what we feel, but there is time when we can no longer hold our emotions in. Thus begins our adolescence. Jane’s transition to adolescence occurs when she retaliates against Mrs. Reed upon her departure for Lowood. Lowood becomes the place where Jane questions everything, especially religion and life. Not only are the adolescent and teenage years characterized by rebellion, they are also the years in which nothing makes sense; when you no longer believe only what you are told, but you start wanting to discover what you believe on your own. When Helen is dying, Jane asks Helen, “Where is God? Who is God?” (113). As
teenagers, we demand to know the truth, and we desire for something or someone to depend on in hard times. Jane needs something, but she does not know what. Our self-esteem rises and falls throughout the teenage years, as Jane’s does while she is at Lowood. One minute she is on the stool in front of the entire class with her head held high
and the next she is weeping with grief: “The spell by which I had been so far supported began to dissolve; reaction took place, and soon, so overwhelming was the grief that seized me , I sank prostrate with my face to the ground” (100). Another example of adolescent grief is the pain that Jane feels at the loss of her first friend which is similar to the pain of losing that first friend. In Helen, Jane found someone to whom she could relate, and now that she is gone Jane must move on with her journey as a young adult. Jane’s mixed feelings about Thornfield “It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connexion, uncertain to whether the port it is bound can be…
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