Jane Eyre - 1 Alex Rubi Victorian Literature Paper 1...

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Alex Rubi Victorian Literature Paper 1 Professor D. Kurnick October 29, 2007 Jane Vs St. John: A Dialogue of Conflicting Principles Bronte’s seminal literary masterpiece Jane Eyre cannot simply be categorized as a classic romance novel of the Victorian age, but should be viewed as an important piece of literary satire, which comments on themes such as religion, gender roles, social class, and morality. Throughout this first person narrative we find Jane, the protagonist, confronted by a series of forces and barriers, mostly presented through the characters that inhabit her world and seek to thwart her liberty, happiness, and ultimately her personal growth and development. Bronte helps to illustrate this struggle through the presence Jane’s strong independent character. It is through Jane’s interactions and dialogues with these antagonists that Bronte emphasizes the importance of unyielding independence and personal development in the face of oppression and adversity. By the novel’s climax in chapter thirty four, Jane’s integrity has been tested so vigorously that she is seemingly on the verge of finding a sort of balance within the conflicting aspects of herself, in relation to love and god amongst other issues, which may harbor a sense of contentment within her own self. However the attainment of this state of mind and being does not come before a final confrontation with the minister at Morton, St. John Rivers. The dialogue between the two is a perfect representation of not only the novel’s major thematic entities but of the harsh and imprisoning nature of the societal standards in which Jane has done so well in liberating herself from. Through Jane’s final confrontation with St. John, the reader is presented with an exemplary depiction of a dynamic character as she struggles to uphold the convictions, morals, and ideologies presented in the novel’s major themes. 1
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The confrontation between St. John and Jane in Chapter thirty four is inarguably one of the most crucial scenes in the narrative. Not only does it serve as the climax of the novel but helps reinforce two major themes found resonating throughout the text. Whenever Jane encounters one of the novel’s antagonists or secondary characters, especially a male, she is faced with the task of finding a balance between what they represent and what is appropriate for her own life. She undergoes these tribulations when it comes to finding religion and spiritual peace on her own terms and balancing a sense of autonomy within the idea of romantic love. In Chapter 34 we find St. John Rivers making an extremely forceful effort to convince Jane into fulfilling her “god given duty” of performing missionary work across the sea in India by his side as his wife. Expectedly, Jane resists for the most part. While the scene outside of Moor house is crucial to the novel’s theme and characterization of its protagonist, the dialogue, shaping, and outcome of the entire scene is typical to many
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course ENGLISH 101 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '07 term at Rutgers.

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Jane Eyre - 1 Alex Rubi Victorian Literature Paper 1...

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