fire that destroyed Thornfield Hall, crippled Rochester, and killed Bertha. The image offire might symbolize signifying first sinfulness, then rebirth.Since the passionate love thatRochester and Jane first held was sinful, it was accompanied by images of fire and burning--possibly a portrait of Hell. After Jane leaves Thornfield, and her "burning" desires forRochester are somewhat subdued, the next and final image of fire occurs. In the fire thatdestroyed Thornfield, Rochester proved his worthiness to Jane by attempting to saveBertha from the blaze.A feat that indicated that he had tempered his "burning" passionsregarding Jane and Bertha and atoned for the wrongs that he had perpetrated on thewomen in his life. Shortly thereafter, Jane and Rochester reunited and each proved to bereborn, Jane after undergoing her own final period of personal and spiritual growth, andRochester after facing his vices and rescinding his sinful nature.
External vs. Internal BeautyThroughout the novel, Brontë plays with the dichotomy between external beauty and internal beauty. Bertha Mason, Georgiana and Blanche Ingram are described as stunningly beautiful, but, in each case, the external beauty obscures an internal ugliness. Only Jane, who lacks the external beauty of typical Victorian heroines, has the inner beauty that appeals to Mr. Rochester. Her intelligence, wit, and calm morality express a far greater personal beauty than that of any other character in the novel, and Brontë clearly intends to highlight the importance of personal development and growth rather than superficial appearances.Jane however, is a character that recognizes internal beauty. She recognizes the appeal in characters who are not originally portrayed as beautiful, but Jane herself says beauty is held in the eye of the beholder:“I am sure most people would have thought him an ugly man; yet there was so much unconscious pridein his port; so much case in his demeanour; such a look of complete indifference to his own external appearance; so haughty a reliance on the power of other qualities, intrinsic or adventitious, to atone for the lack of mere personal attractiveness, that in looking at him, one inevitably shared the indifference; and even in a blind, imperfect sense, put faith in the confidence”“Most true is it that "beauty is in the eye of the gazer." My master's colourless, olive face, square, massive brow, broad and jetty eyebrows, deep eyes, strong features, firm, grim mouth,--all energy, decision, will,--were not beautiful, according to rule; but they were more than beautiful to me” (185)“And was Mr. Rochester now ugly in my eyes?No, reader: gratitude, and many associations, all pleasurable and genial, made his face the object I best liked to see; his presence in a room was more cheering than the brightest fire”We know that when Rochester initially asks Jane if she sees him as handsome, she responds with a no. However, as they grow closer, she starts to appreciate his intelligence, confidence and his passion (“more cheering than the brightest fire” in the second quote relates to fire vs. ice).