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Published: Thursday 31st of October 2013
The book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte reveals some amount of significance to the Victorian period while creating the Victorian respect for high decorum standards and moral behavior. As a result of her moral choices, the main character, Jane Eyre, attests that in the Victorian era, the women who desired to be rewarded required to be patient for these rewards to come to them. Jane’s steadfastness to decline Mr. Rochester’s offer of becoming his mistress, her honesty and empathy for her family which is shown in her decision to divide her inheritance amongst her cousins (the Rivers), and the love she had for Mr. Rochester which makes her go back to him eventually all illustrate this idea.
This novel was written in the first person from the title character’s perspective. The location is someplace in Northern England, during George the Third’s rule. This novel takes us through five clear stages:
Throughout all these stages, this book provides an outlook on several significant societal concerns, most of which tend to go against the status quo. This book has 38 chapters. Most editions have almost 400 pages. Initially, it was published in three volumes.
When it comes to the context in the early stages of the book, when Jane goes to Lowood (a harsh school), it is drawn from the author’s experiences. In the novel, Helen Burn’s death as a result of tuberculosis recalls the deaths of the author’s sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, who passed away due to the conditions at their school. John Reed’s descent into alcoholism and dissolution brings to mind the life of the author’s brother Branwell, who became addicted to alcohol and opium before he died. Then, just like Jane, Charlotte became a governess. The Gothic nature of Thornfield Hall was possibly inspired by the North Lees Hall that’s near Hathersage. Charlotte Bronte started to write this book in Manchester and probably visualized the Manchester Cathedral yard as Jane’s parents burial place.
The day when Jane is set to be Rochester’s bride, she has high hopes and dreams. However, as they move towards the altar, she is once again left in a lot of despair when the issue of Rochester already having a wife is eventually exposed. Overcome by emotions, Jane is torn between her moral conscience and her passion for Mr. Rochester. She concludes that she has to disappear from Thornfield immediately. Jane reveals to Mr. Rochester her plans to leave and his love immediately changes into aggression. Fearing that Rochester will not respect her anymore and not wanting to be forced to live life as his mistress, Jane leaves that same night. Even though the notion of leaving Mr. Rochester breaks her heart, her conviction cloaks her and drives her forward. Departing Thornfield with only a small package which she leaves in the coach by mistake, she is forced to resort to begging. With nothing left other than death at this point, Jane knocks on the door of the Rivers, asking for some food and a place to sleep for the night.
After the housekeeper declines, Jane remains outside. Suddenly St. John comes back home and lets Jane in. Jane is given a room, and within a short time, she falls asleep. She manages to recover after a while and St. John offers her a job. Later on, she finds out that the Rivers are actually her cousins and is excited to know that she has relatives when all her life she had known that she had none.
Apart from the information that she got concerning her long-lost family, she further learns that John Eyre, her uncle, has died and left behind a large inheritance that belonged to her. As she is overwhelmed by the death of her remaining uncle, St. John goes on to tell her that her uncle had left her twenty thousand pounds as inheritance. Her sadness quickly transforms into joy and she begins to mention out loud how she’ll divide the inheritance into four. “5000 pounds for herself, Mary, Diana, and St. John,” she said. At first, her cousin John doesn’t understand the excitement and Jane goes on to explain how lucky she is to have finally met her relatives and have the ability to pay back the kindness that they had shown her.
After being told of the inheritance, Jane is told by St. John that she should get married to him and travel together as husband and wife. Jane refuses this suggestion but proposes the idea that she goes with him as his sister. She implies that if she passed away in India, St. John wouldn’t care because he didn’t have genuine feelings of love towards her. St. John goes ahead and rejects the suggestion as the idea of a 30-year-old man going around with a single 19-year-old girl is unusual. On the day that St. John is supposed to travel, Jane tells the Rivers that she plans to go away for four days so that she could deal with a certain issue concerning a ‘friend.’ Finding Thornfield in ashes, she goes to where Rochester’s old butler tells her what happened and where Mr. Rochester is. Straight away Jane heads towards Mr. Rochester’s location, telling the driver that she will give him double the usual rate if he can take her to Ferndean before darkness creeps in. Upon reaching Ferndean, she is reunited with Mr. Rochester. Doubtful of Jane’s real objectives for returning, he shoves her. However, determined, Jane says that she still has feelings for him. Mr. Rochester asks for forgiveness for leading Jane to thinking that she would have been forced into a bad marriage and states that he plans to lead a clean life and has created a closer association with the Almighty. Ten years later, Jane tells us her union is going on well, and she and Rochester are happy.
Two years after their wedding, Rochester regains his eyesight and can now see his first-born child. She also adds that she still communicates with Adele who has even visited her in her home and also the Rivers siblings.
In summary, this book is a suitable case in point of the view that in the Victorian period, women should at all times have had the patience in order to get what they desired most in life. This is evident in:
She ends up becoming rich and getting married to the person that she loved the most.