Jane Eyre Morality Essy.docx - J M J English 12 Quarter 2 Book Analysis Jane Eyre Morality Essay Charlotte Bronts Jane Eyre is the story of a girl who

Jane Eyre Morality Essy.docx - J M J English 12 Quarter 2...

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Unformatted text preview: J. M. J. English 12 – Quarter 2 Book Analysis Jane Eyre Morality Essay Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is the story of a girl who grows into a young woman, suffering hardship and isolation in her adventures. Jane is an orphan who grows up under the care of her Aunt Reed and lives with her cousins, all of whom treat her as an inferior and blame her for the household problems. Jane’s fate changes when she is sent to Lowood school, meeting the kind teacher Mrs. Temple and her friend Helen Burns. Later in life, Jane moves on to become a governess at a residence called Thornfield Hall, where she becomes acquainted with a woman named Mrs. Fairfax and a child named Adele. Jane soon meets the owner of the property, Mr. Rochester, a man with whom she falls in love. Jane’s journey eventually leads her to her own relatives, the River siblings, who she had not even guessed existed. In the course of this eventful decade of her life, Jane Eyre suffers much isolation and poverty, and must learn the important lesson of the importance of integrity over being liked. Throughout her story, Jane demonstrates that though a childish pride has the potential to be her downfall, she acts with prudence and humility which only grows stronger in her difficulties. Jane’s story demonstrates that her childhood vice of pride has the potential to hinder her if she does not work against it. At the beginning of the novel, Jane cares very much about her reputation. Though she has been mistreated for her entire ten years of life, Jane finally loses all control of herself when her Aunt Reed talks badly about her to Mr. Brocklehurst, who comes to visit Jane before she is admitted to Lowood school. The young girl shouts at her aunt, 1 and viciously tells her that she will expose all of the ill treatment she has received over the years and thus destroy Mrs. Reed’s good name. Once Jane has arrived at the school, she becomes angry when she sees her new acquaintance, Helen, get punished unjustly by her teachers. The self-righteous child tells the meek Helen, “If she struck me with that rod, I should get it from her hand; I should break it under her nose.”1 She continues to tell Helen that she would do ridiculous things for the sake of feeling loved by all. This flaw has clearly been worsened by the lack of affection and guidance Jane received as a child. Further, when Mr. Brocklehurst talks badly about Jane in front of the entire school, she is devastated and feels that all of her scholarly efforts have been for naught, if no one likes her. Even when Jane grows into a young woman, she continues to have moments in which her pride nearly controls her actions. Jane feels embarrassed and above begging when she renders herself homeless and friendless, and she gets to the point of desperate hunger before finally asking someone for food. Later, when she is offered the position of a teacher at a village school, Jane’s initial feeling, in spite of her expressions to the contrary, is that she is “degraded” (414) for working with uneducated children in an environment of poverty. Further, Jane’s attachment to being valued and liked causes her great distress when St. John Rivers acts cold towards her after she refuses to marry him. It drives her even to the point of considering joining him in India to become his wife in a loveless marriage. But, luckily, by the end of her tale, Jane learns that excessive concern about what others think and arrogance will not lead her far. 1 Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (England: Penguin/Random House UK, 2006), p. 66. All subsequent references will be taken from this text. 2 Jane Eyre acts with prudence in the most isolating and surprising of circumstances, always analyzing the situation and appealing to her reason and responsibility rather than purely her feelings. As a child, after she receives encouragement from Ms. Temple and Helen Burns, Jane works hard at her studies, in spite of the hardship around her, such as the death of her friend and the pitiful meals she is given. Jane works diligently at Lowood for eight years and becomes a teacher who is well-liked by the people at the school. Afterward, the young woman leaves to tutor privately, and is not concerned with the class of whoever she will work for. She considers how she had once lived in the high-class home of the Reeds and had felt bitterly towards it, and resolves that she is not going to be concerned with social status in her new occupation at Thornfield Hall. Even when Jane falls madly in love with the owner of the estate she moves into, Edward Rochester, she uses her moral reasoning in one of the most difficult situations of her life. She is silent when it appears that Rochester has another wife-to-be and works hard at her job of teaching a child named Adele. When Rochester confesses that he loves Jane, the wise young woman points out any mistakes he makes in perceiving her. She tells him he cannot adorn her with expensive jewels and dresses, and assures him that their marriage will not be a perfect fairytale. “Human beings never enjoy complete happiness in this world. I was not born for a different destiny to the rest of my species: to imagine such a lot befalling me is a fairy tale—a daydream,” (298) she says. Just when she is about to be married to Rochester, Jane discovers the terrible secret that he already has a living wife: a mad woman named Bertha Mason, who is locked in the attic of Thornfield and is a danger to all the house’s residents. Here Jane has the prudence not to follow her heart, but her mind, and leaves Thornfield Hall in the night in spite of her desire to stay. She makes no room for temptation to stay with Rochester and be his mistress for herself or for him, and leaves everything behind when she makes the decision. 3 At this point in her life, Jane comes to the realization that being alone can be a sign of strength and moral integrity rather than failure; and she sees that popularity is not as important as having a clean conscience and behaving wisely. Finally, Jane Eyre, in spite of her early days and her tendencies toward pride, behaves as a very humble young woman. To start, Jane tries to make amends with her Aunt Reed when the woman lays dying. Jane apologizes to her for her angry speech as a child, and attempts to make peace even when her aunt reveals that she has kept Jane’s only living family member a secret from her. Later in the story, Jane is reduced to begging for food, and is left outside the home of Mary and Diane Rivers in a heavy storm; she is eventually allowed in by the girls’ brother, St. John Rivers. The group is inquisitive of Jane when she first arrives, and in spite of all of her sufferings over the course of her life, she does not complain or share too much. Instead, she tells the family the answers to their questions while downplaying her struggles of being mistreated as a child, losing her two closest companions at school, and leaving Thornfield Hall after finding out about her fiancé’s wife. She avoids having others pity her and eagerly offers to help with the housework, promising that she will no longer trouble the family once she finds a humble occupation. Jane reaches a state of life where it is no longer required for her to be humble by inheriting a large sum of money from her dead uncle and discovers that St. John, Mary and Diana are her cousins. Jane is overjoyed, and, rather than keeping the fortune to herself, insists immediately that it be split equally among her beloved relatives. She proceeds to return to their house and work intensely on cleaning it to their liking. Finally, when Jane is finally reunited with Edward Rochester, she tells him nothing of her struggles after leaving Thornfield Hall. She accepts Rochester, who has become severely injured in attempting to rescue the now-deceased 4 Bertha Mason. He has lost his hand and his vision, but Jane does not care about superficial traits. She cares only about taking care of Edward and loving him, not about telling her story or thriving on her fortune. Thus does Jane Eyre learn to live a life ruled by virtue and honesty rather than material things, social status or affection from others. So, Jane Eyre grows up as a proud child, indignant and desperate for affection, but shows on her tumultuous journey that she is capable of behaving with the prudence and humility that shapes her into an upstanding adult. Jane is neglected and treated unfairly as a child, leading her to anger and desperation when she is not liked by others or feels that she is above her circumstances. But, Jane possess the foresight, caution and wisdom to behave prudently when making important decisions. And the young woman, in spite of her tendency to feel proud, learns to submit to suffering when necessary and take care of others before herself. So, Jane Eyre is overall a moral young woman, whose efforts to act with integrity win her love and family. 5 ...
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