Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre
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Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre, shows an enormous amount of relevance to the Victorian era while establishing the Victorian respect for high standards of decorum and moral conduct. The main character Jane Eyre proves by the results of her moral choices that in Victorian society the idea that women who wanted to gain various rewards would need to obtain the patience to wait for these rewards to come to them to be true. Jane’s firmness to refuse the offer from Mr. Rochester to become his mistress, the integrity and compassion for her family which she shows in her decision to split her inheritance with the Rivers(her cousins), and the unconditional love she feels for Mr. Rochester which leads her back to him in the end all exemplify this idea.
On the day Jane is to become Mr. Rochester’s bride she in at the apex of her hopes and dreams. Yet, as they approach the altar she once again is thrusted toward the deepest point of despair when the fact that Mr. Rochester already possessed a bride is ultimately exposed. Overwhelmed with emotions Jane is torn between her passion for Mr. Rochester and her own moral conscience. She comes to the conclusion that she must leave Thornfield at once. Jane confronts Mr. Rochester with her plans to leave Thornfield and his passion quickly transforms into aggression. Jane, fearing Mr. Rochester would lose respect for her and not desiring to be forced to live a sinful, degraded life as his mistress, slips away from Thornfield that very night.
Although the thought of leaving her beloved Mr. Rochester wrenches at her heart her faith envelops her and pushes her onward. Leaving Thornfield with only a parcel which she accidentally forgets in the coach she is constrained to begging. Jane, almost at the point of facing death, knocks on the Rivers door begging for a little food and some shelter for the night. Refused by the housekeeper Jane stands out in the rain when all of a sudden St. John returns to the house and overrules the housekeepers decision. Jane is giving a room for the night and promptly falls asleep. In a few days she recovers her full health and is approached with a job by St. John. Sometime later she learns that the Rivers are in fact her cousins and is thrilled to learn that she indeed has a family when she had been told all her life she lacked one.
Along with the news of Jane being related to the Rivers she is also informed that her uncle, John Eyre of Madeira, has passed away and left her a wealthy inheritance. As Jane feels heavyhearted with the word of her only uncle’s death St. John continues to inform her that John Eyre had left an inheritance of twenty thousand pounds to her. Jane’s sadness quickly turns to joy as she starts shouting off ways she will be able to split her inheritance four ways. “Five thousand pounds each for Diana, Mary, St. John, and myself,” she suggests. St. John misunderstands her excitement of her uncles death and Jane explains to him how fortunate she is to receive a family and be able to repay kindness with kindness.
Soon after the announcement of Jane’s inheritance St. John proposes the idea that Jane shall marry him and travel with him as his wife and helper. Against St. John’s wishes Jane refuses to marry him, but suggests she travels with him as his sister. She implies the thought that if she were to die over in India that St. John would not care since he did not hold true feelings of love for her. Disgusted with the thought St. John rejects her offer because of the concept of a thirty-year-old man traveling with an unmarried nineteen-year-old girl was unheard-of. On the morning of St. John’s departure Jane announces to her cousins that she intends to leave Cambridge for at least four days so that she can ease a concern she has over a “friend”. Finding Thornfield crumbled to ashes she returns to the a local inn where Mr. Rochester’s old butler informs her of the previous events and of the whereabouts of Mr. Rochester.
Immediately Jane begins a chase offering her driver double the rate if he can deliver her to Ferndean before dark. Here she is once again reunited with her beloved Mr. Rochester. Skeptical of Jane’s real intentions for coming back Mr. Rochester pushes her away, but strong-willed Jane replies that she is in fact in love with him still. Rochester apologizes for leading Jane to think that she would have been forced into a sinful marriage and claims that he intends to lead a pure life and has established a much closer relationship with God. Ten years later, Jane describes to us her marriage is very well and her and Mr. Rochester are very happy together. Two years after they were wed Mr. Rochester gained full sight and was able to see his first child born. She also notes that she has kept in contact with the Rivers and Adele who has even stopped by for a visit.
In conclusion, the novel Jane Eyre is an appropriate example of the idea that in the Victorian era women must always be patient to receive what they most want in life. Jane’s decisions to refuse Mr. Rochester’s offer to become his mistress, her choice to split her inheritance with her cousins, and her unconditional love for Mr. Rochester all led her to the finding of family something she had always lacked but wanted, becoming wealthy, and being married to the one she longed for. The novel proves the old saying,” All things good come to those who wait.”