A woman living in Victorian England had very limited options in her life. From birth she was ordered around and told exactly what to do and when to do it. In Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, A young girl experiences numerous hardships that act as stepping stones as she matures in this time; from being exiled and isolated from her family, to adjusting to having job, and finally realizing her own self worth.
In the early chapters of the book, the quality of independence is evident in Jane’s character. At Gateshead she finds herself sitting “cross-legged, like a Turk; and having drawn the red noreen curtain nearly close, [she] was shrined in double retirement” (Brontë 7). Jane decides for herself that trying to impress the Reed family is useless and that she finds comfort in distancing herself from them. Jane rises above her place in her family and knows she is the only one worth pleasing. Jane knows she is prepared to move forward ...view middle of the document...
From her experiences Jane learns “Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need …a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do…It is thoughtless to condemn them, …if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”. During her first weeks as a governess at Thornfield, Jane begins to feel imprisoned. Jane longs for equality as she begins to experience the injustice of the way Victorian women are treated. As Mr. Rochester begins claim superiority over Jane she fights back, telling him “I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.” As Jane has grown she has acquired the skill of applying force with her employer, while trying to respectfully convey her opinion. She has made it clear she will not take anything else but what is absolutely right. Jane continues to understand her place and finds out how to make the best of what she has.
The powerful events (in the latter pages of the novel) serve to test and showcase Jane’s self-respect. Despite Mr. Rochester’s passionate plea for Jane to marry him and stay at Thornfield, Jane’s dignity keeps her from staying and she tells herself that “[She] will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. [She] will hold to the principles received by [her] when [she] was sane, and not mad — as [she is] now.” Jane knows she deserves more that what has been given to her. Not only is Jane sure she would never be on equal terms with Mr. Rochester as his mistress, but she feels if she remained she would also be doing wrong in the eyes of God. Upon her departure from Thornfield, Jane maintains her dignity despite her living in poverty; and tells Hannah, “Some of the best people that ever lived have been as destitute as I am; and if you are a Christian, you ought not to consider poverty a crime.” Jane can see that people around her are judging her for her look of poverty, but she knows she is much more than she appears. She refuses to be put down by others because of her appearance. Jane continues to show CONCLUDING.