Independence in Jane Eyre Essay

Jane Eyre, a novel written by Charlotte Bronte, is about a young girl named Jane that struggles to discover her identity. Jane’s a girl who is “unhappy, very unhappy”(23). She grows up with relatives that treat her unfairly because her diseased family was not wealthy. Jane’s uncle Mr. Reed had reminded his wife and family to consider Jane as their own, but in contrast she experienced physical abuse by her aunt and cousin John. “John Reed knocked me down and my aunt shut me up in the red-room...”(23), the abuse that Jane experienced impacted her young soul, but also helped her grow into a stronger person. Unlike her cousins, Jane’s childhood was unpleasant because “...I have no father or mother, brothers or sister...”(23). Years later, Jane goes to Lowood institution where she succeeds and becomes a school teacher. From there, Jane meets Mr. Rochester who turns out to be the love of her life. Throughout the novel the readers see a dependent girl transform into an independent young lady that overcomes all her tribulations. 

Charlotte Bronte allows us to trace Jane‘s character. While at Gateshead, Jane is a dependent young girl learning and yearning to be independent. Jane acknowledges that without Mrs. Reed’s assistance of financial issues and disciplinary actions, she wouldn’t be able to survive. “Benefactress!...They all called Mrs. Reed my benefactress;”, here Jane declares she knows who's responsible for raising her. Jane’s independency is also shown at Gateshead because she grows up on her own. She ate, read and played by herself, Jane also knew how to please herself without the presence of others. Although Mrs. Reed and her children were mean and cruel to Jane, they made a substantial difference in her life.

In chapters one through ten, we noticed that Jane was both needy and self-directed, but starting in chapter eleven Jane becomes fully independent. At Thornfield she’s a governess, Jane adapts to the new environment without the help of those around her. An independent woman has many characteristics; those include helping others, being happy by themselves, not being controlled by others, not requiring or relying on something or someone else and being free to their own will. In chapter thirteen, Jane helps Mr. Rodchester when he has an accident with his horse. Mr. Rodchester says, “...necessity compels me to make you useful...”, this proves to the reader that someone besides Jane saw her as an independent woman who can make herself dependable. From this point on, Jane is a new person, she’s strong and tough. 

Jane was always surrounded with wealth, but that wealth was not her own. Mr. Rodchester continuously babied her, but Jane did not think anything of it and didn’t care if she had a lot of money. Her main goal was to be a successful governess. Jane’s independency is shown when Mr. Rodchester started to baby her. She did not always accept what he wanted to buy her and this shows the reader that Jane was not devoted to money and his wealth. This makes Jane a stronger person because women that grow up poor are usually unhappy and they would change themselves so that they could acquire the wealth, but Jane was different. She stuck to who she was and did not fall for wealth. Things like money and wealth can change people, but it did not change who Jane Eyre was.

In the novel Jane Eyre, there are many themes that people come up with. One that I agree with is the theme of aggressiveness and women becoming stronger. Jane is such a strong person from the beginning until the end. One literary device that was used in this book in conjunction with this theme is shown with this quote by Jane, “...send me to school soon Mrs. Reed, for I hate to live here...”(37). This shows foreshadowing of Jane’s independence. After this is stated, Mrs. Reed does send Jane to school and she grows into her own person. Jane is an admirable person because she did not alter who she was although her surroundings did change. Charlotte Bronte allows us to see Jane overcome all hurdles in her life and at the same time grow into an independent woman.

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