"Jane Eyre": Loves Vs. Autonomy. Essay

1525 words - 6 pages

In the novel by Charlotte Bronte, "Jane Eyre", there is a constant battle of love versus autonomy in Jane, the main character. At points Jane feels as if she would give anything to be loved. Yet over the course of the book Jane needs to learn how to gain affection of others without sacrificing something in return.In the early stages of Jane's life she was a very autonomous girl. She grew up in a hostile environment in the home of Mrs. Reed and her three children, John, Eliza, and Georgiana that is known as Gateshead. The Reed family showed no love or any sort of affection towards Jane in any way, shape, or form; for they all despised her. She spent most of her time out of contact of others. The most contact she had with someone was a household maid, Bessie Lee. She was the only figure in Jane's childhood who regularly treated her kindly, telling her stories and singing her songs. Bessie was the only person Jane felt comfortable around. Next to Bessie was a beat up doll that Jane looked to for comfort. Soon enough Jane embarks on a new stage of life, adding something else to this battle of love and autonomy, Lowood.Jane's quest for love, value, and belonging continues at the Lowood Institution. It's an institution for girls that are orphans, abandoned children, or they have no one to ward with. Once she settled into her new surroundings at Lowood she began to look around for potential friends and acquaintances. The first person she ran into was an older girl, Helen Burns. Helen is a clumsy girl that's constantly doing something that the teachers there see worthy of punishment. However she endures her miserable punishment with a passive dignity that Jane cannot understand. Jane reacts differently when she takes punishment that is like Helen's. When she drops a writing slate on the floor and breaks it in front of Mr. Brocklehurst, the director of Lowood, had her sit on a stool and he verbally abuses her in front of the entire school body, calling her a liar and that no one should associate with her. Afterwards she is with Helen, even though Helen is not supposed to be with her.If others don't love me, I would rather die than live-I cannot hear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain some real affection from you, or Miss temple (a teacher at Lowood), or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and let it dash its hoof at my chest. (Bronte 69)Stated here is Jane admitting to be willing to give up anything or have anything be done to her just to gain the affection of a couple people whom she cares for. This shows how strong the battle of love and autonomy rages within her. She wants to be loved but she doesn't to loose her autonomy.As time passes, eight years to be precise, Jane decides she needs to move on with her life somewhere away from Lowood Institution. She posts an ad in the local newspaper that she is an available governess...

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