Jane Eyre: A Character Study | Teen Ink

Jane Eyre: A Character Study

September 21, 2019
By gzq SILVER, Deerfield, Massachusetts
gzq SILVER, Deerfield, Massachusetts
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Jane Eyre is a romantic fiction novel written by British author Charlotte Bronte, published in 1847. The entire book narrates the story surrounding the protagonist, Jane Eyre, including her experiences in different stages of her life. Throughout the book, Jane undergoes several rises and falls, especially on the subject of love, and these events greatly influence and shape her character. The hardships that she encounters during her life since she was a child are a riveting portrayal of her will, and thus enhance the narrative.

The book starts off with the scene of Jane’s young life at her aunt, Mrs. Reed’s, house. As an orphan adopted by the family, the treatment Jane receives there is no different from a servant. In such circumstance, I appreciate Jane’s early persistence in pursuing education; she asks to be sent to a boarding school even though she is only ten years old. During the quarrel before she is sent away to school, Bronte skillfully creates Jane’s character. Jane tells Mrs. Reed that, “People think you are a good woman, but you are bad, hardhearted. You are deceitful!” (29). Through her detailed character descriptions as well as Jane’s witty dialogue, Bronte depicts a vivid picture of Jane’s unyielding and assertive personality.

At Gateshead, the school that Jane attends for eight years, she initially enrolls as one of the younger girls. In dealing with the unfair and hypocritic master, Bronte clearly portrays the strength and perseverance in her character. She is slandered as “not a member of the true flock, but evidently an interloper and an alien (56)” by the clergy, and thus is isolated from the rest of the children at school. However, she remains strong and persists that, “I have been wrongly accused. (60)” For a girl of such a young age, it must have been extremely depressing and upsetting to be treated unjustly; I greatly admire the courage Jane shows when faced with the conflict, the unfairness, and the evil she encounters at school. Fortunately, with the help of Miss Temple, a kind-hearted teacher at Gateshead, Jane’s innocence is proven, and all the injustice is redeemed.

Later in the story, after Jane is determined to leave her romantic interest, Mr. Rochester, due to her dignity, she is saved by a family, who turns out to be her cousins. St. John, a member of the family who is also a priest, does not hide his appreciation towards Jane and says, “you are docile, diligent, disinterested, faithful, constant, and courageous; very gentle, and very heroic: cease to mistrust yourself – I can trust you unreservedly” (357). From St. John’s comments, we can get a clear view of Jane’s great character. In the former quote, from a series of consecutive, complimentary adjectives used by St. John, his words greatly reflect Jane’s inspirational character, as St. John appears to be a reserved person and have an indifferent emotion towards everything else.

I think the reason why Jane Eyre has become such a worldwide classic is because the storyline and plot was pioneering at the time it was published. Very few of the female characters of that era were portrayed to have similar characteristics as Jane: self-respecting, kind-hearted, brave, and persistent. Also, it is really touching to see that the love between Jane and Rochester is so firm that at the end of the book, even though Jane becomes independent and wealthy while Rochester becomes blind and poor, Jane still persists to marry him. This is another sign that shows the strength and inherent morality of Jane’s character.

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