Jane describes that Lowood became in time a truly useful and noble institution

Jane describes that lowood became in time a truly

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Temple’s control, the school transforms from a place of oppression to a place of support. Jane describes that Lowood “became in time a truly useful and noble institution” (91). Jane, herself, goes through a similar transformation in becoming both ‘useful’ and ‘noble’: “I had imbibed from [Miss Temple] something of her nature and much of her habits: more harmonious thoughts: what seemed better regulated feelings had become the inmates of my mind. I had given in allegiance to duty and order; I was quiet; I believed I was content: to the eyes of others, usually even to my own, I appeared a disciplined and subdued character” (92). Through Miss Temple’s guidance, she has become an acceptable member of society; however, the values she has learned are the patriarchal ideologies of the society she is preparing to enter. The patriarchal forces of her life from both Gateshead and Lowood, much like her punishment in the red room as a child, attempt to subdue her inner rebellious nature. A woman who was more thoroughly subdued would logically follow in the path of Miss Temple, who represents the “impossible Victorian ideal,” and would likely stay at Lowood until they were ready to seek out a husband and start a family (Gilbert 480). Instead, Jane seeks out a new form of employment, one which does not require her to be at the mercy of an institution. However, she feels that servitude is truly her only option, as it is the only option that has ever been offered her. Directly, she begins seeking employment through advertising, and it is through her own agency that the next stage of her life begins. The Thornfield chapter of Jane’s life, characterized primarily by her relationship with Edward Rochester, is marked by a relationship that hovers between equality and inequity. Through this relationship dynamic, Jane’s character is more fully explored. Jane both acts as Rochester’s inferior as well as his equal, despite their differences in class and amount of experience. As an inferior, she is surpassed by Rochester in knowledge about sex, marriage,
Golden 5 society, and the world. Rochester is also her employer and states that he is “old enough to be her father” (138). However, adamant that God made all humans equal, Jane still argues that she doesn’t think that “[Rochester has] a right to command [her], merely because [he is] older than [her], or because [he has] seen more of the world than [she has] – [his] claim to superiority depends on the use [he has] made of [his] time and experience” (140). She believes that, at “God’s feet,” they are equal, and Jane refuses to allow Rochester to dominate over her as John Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst had done in the past (252). However, Jane is not alone in the viewpoint that they are equal; Rochester agrees with her standpoint, and states that he doesn’t “wish to treat [her] like an inferior… [and he] claim[s] such superiority as [a] result from twenty years’ difference in age and a century’s advance in experience” (139).

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