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Jane Eyre character analysis
Transcript of Jane Eyre character analysis
Jane is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. She often switches to talking as if she is reminding the reader that this story is a story. Jane swaps from past to present in the same sentence. Jane's education is always ongoing, she never stops learning. In each section of the novel, Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, her escape and her return, she is always finding out new things about herself that contribute to her independance.
The poet and critic Adrienne Rich wrote of 'Jane Eyre', “It takes its place…between the realm of the given, that which is changeable by human activity, and the realm of the fated, that which lies outside human control: between realism and poetry.” And we noted earlier how for most of the novel, Jane is between servant and lady, Mr. Rochester is between married and unmarried, and Bertha, the mad woman in the attic, is portrayed as
being between an animal and human.
Jane has strong beliefs about gender and social equality. She challenges the Victorian prejudices against women and the poor.
"Then I should love Mrs Reed, which I cannot do: I should bless her son John, which is impossible". Jane never forgets what the Reeds did to her which is why it comes as such a shock to the reader when Jane forgives Mrs Reed when she goes to see her on her death bed."you have my full and free forgiveness".
Jane Eyre is famous for being a plain-looking girl rather than a beauty, but despite this, she is intelligent and honest, and a fiery woman. Even though 'Jane Eyre' is not an autobiography, it could be argued that it is one. The novelist George Eliot (a female writer who went by a male name) described Bronte almost exactly as Bronte would describe Jane, as "a little, plain, provincial, sickly-looking old maid. Yet what passion, what fire in her!". And that really gets at something at the heart of 'Jane Eyre', people assume that women who are plain and provincial and sickly-looking didn’t have the rich inner lives and the fire and the passion that we find in Jane.
Jane is level headed and intelligent and views most things with her governess brain. Although at some moments she cannot decide whether to follow her head or her heart. Jane talking about Mr Rochester: "I must leave him, it appears, I do not want to leave him- I cannot leave him" She is split between doing what is right and what she wants to do.
"Reader, I married him"
Jane doesn’t marry Mr Rochester until she can meet him on an equal, if not superior footing. Earlier in the book he has all the money and all the power and all the secrets. By the end of the novel, she has money, and also vision, both literal and metaphorical. Jane consistently rejects men who try to control her and she shows a lot of perceptive critiques of gender dynamics, like a passage in which she declares: “Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do…and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings.”