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Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte Theme Essay, Research Paper

Longing for Love Charlotte Bronte created the novel "Jane Eyre," with

an overriding theme of love. The emotional agony that the main character

experiences throughout the novel stem from the treatment received as a child,

loss of loved ones, and economic hardships. To fill these voids, Jane longs for

love. Ironically, Jane rejects affection at some point throughout the novel

though it is that which she seeks. Her painful childhood experiences create an

emotional center derived from this pain. Thus, she views love as consuming and

it is not a high priority in Jane’s life. She accepts the fact that she will

probably live her life in loneliness. From the onset of the novel we view the

world through the eyes of Jane, a young, penniless, orphan. At the beginning of

the story she is under the care of her widowed aunt, Mrs. Reed. At the Reed

household, Jane is neglected and mistreated with favoritism being given only to

the three obnoxious Reed children. Jane begins her struggle for love here at

Gateshead. Her temper and self-will become apparent there. She stands up for

herself not only to her cousins, but to Mrs. Reed as well. "You think I

Burkhart 2 have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or

kindness, but I cannot live so: and you have no pity" (Bronte, 45). Her

early life at Gateshead proved to be a rather traumatic period in Jane’s life.

Jane "dared commit no fault: [she] strove to fulfill every duty; [she] was

termed naughty and tiresome, sullen and sneaky, from morning to noon, and from

noon to night" (Bronte, 22). Trying to act in accordance with Mrs. Reed and

the Reed children, never purposely committing a fault, Jane was continuously

"naughty" in Mrs. Reed’s eye. Living a childhood such as Jane’s, one

would expect a self-willed and rebellious personality to emerge. "I was a

discord at Gateshead Hall; I was like nobody there…If they did not love me, in

fact, as little did I love them" (Bronte 23). Treated with disrespect and

lack of love Jane began her journey, her quest for love. Her rebellion towards

the family that hated her fueled an inner subconscious conflict dealing with

love and trust. Mrs. Reed eventually sends Jane to a boarding school called

Lowood Institution. Lowood is a charitable school and has the worst conditions

imaginable. It is here, where Jane meets her first true friend Helen Burns. At

the orphanage, Jane forms a passionate attachment to Helen. Burkhart 3 Helen

assumes a sisterly like role and teaches Jane love in the form of religion.

"Read the New Testament," Helen instructed Jane, "love your

enemies" (Bronte 69). "Then I should love Mrs. Reed, which I cannot

do; I should bless her son John, which is impossible"(Bronte 69). Jane does

not comprehend the act of loving thy enemies. Her lack of comprehension stems

from her childhood and the lack of love she received. Never in her childhood did

she get the attention and love that a child deserves. How could anyone expect

someone to be able to love when she has had no example to follow? In Jane’s eyes

her self-worth would severely diminish if she were to love someone who did not

love her. Helen explains to Jane how Miss Scatcherd dislikes Helen’s "cast

of character" (Bronte 65) and the deep impression the injustice of an enemy

makes on your heart. Jane is able to gain strength from Helen’s faith. It is

this faith that she attains that guides Jane through her life and ultimately

leads to her happiness. Another character that has a significant influence in

Jane’s life at Lowood is Miss Evans, the superintendent. Miss Evans is primarily

the first person in Jane’s life that treats Jane with justice and confidence in

her ability to "make good." In her dealings with Miss Evans and the

Burkhart 4 scolding she receives from Miss Evans, Jane puts Helen’s lessons to

use. She tries to accept her scolding as if it had some higher purpose, though

she is hurt inside when she is scolded. Her experiences at Lowood make her a

much stronger self-willed person, though they also contribute to her decrease in

rebelliousness. Jane eventually leaves Lowood and ventures to Thornfield Manor

where she gains the position of governess under Mr. Edward Rochester, her

master. Meeting Mr. Rochester completely changes Jane’s life. The attention she

receives, the interest, and the affection all fill voids in Jane’s life. For

once a person of the opposite sex cites a level of equality among male and

female, he and Jane. He states, "we stood at God’s feet, equal-as we

are" showing his dedication to Jane. This was very uncommon in the

Victorian era. Despite Mr. Rochester’s somber looks and brusque manner Jane

grows to like him and he more than approves of Jane as well. Rochester tries to

win Jane’s affection by making her jealous of the beautiful Miss Blanche Ingram

with whom Jane believes he is involved. Eventually Jane and Rochester mutually

fall in love and become engaged. The night before Jane’s wedding, the mad…

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