Monday, January 20, 2020
Jane Eyre is one of the earliest English novels with a strong, female central character. Do you think she sells out by marrying Rochester, thus enabling a conventional, romantic ending to the novel? "He stretched his hand out to be led." (Jane) Form start to finish, this novel has had one strong, female central character - Jane Eyre. We see her fight for independence as a female from her childhood right up until her marriage. These ardent, passionate beliefs do not leave her once married, if anything; they get stronger. Jane does not 'sell out' by marrying Rochester for now she is the more powerful half of the relationship. Jane is her husband's eyes and "He (Rochester) saw nature...books through me." She has everything she wished for and is dependent upon no one just as she had dreamed. "I resisted all the way- a new thing for me" Here Jane declares her independence for the first time in the novel after an argument with her cousin, John Reed. It was to be a turning point in her early life as now she did not take anything lying down, "(She) was a discord at Gateshead Hall." The next time we see Jane express her passionate nature is in her outburst with Mrs Reed. Here Jane realises she has made a mistake but excuses herself, "Something spoke out of me over which I had no control I was now in for it." Jane's lack of submission seems to be a recurring theme throughout the novel as she displays it once again in her meeting with future principal, Mr Brocklehurst. When Jane is quizzed by him, she tells the truth to the shock of Brocklehurst. "And the psalms, I hope you like them?" "No, sir" She also displays a huge amount of wit when asked by Brocklehurst what she must do to stay out of hell... ...nding. We have established that Jane is unquestionably a strong, female, central character. As you have read she displays her emotive and controversial views on more than one occasion and finds courage when she needs it the most. These are all factors which contribute to my argument that Jane does not 'sell out'. However, in my opinion, the most important argument is; how could she have 'sold out' if she is happier than she has ever been in her life? I can understand where critic, Sally Mitchell was coming from in 1983 when she said that, "their subsequent marriage not only ends the many conflicts involved, but also fulfils every woman's wish of achieving both independence and love." The overwhelming bliss combined with the strong feeling of self-reliance can assure us that Jane has sold out on nothing apart from the misery with which her life began.