Jane Eyre's Development With Characterization Essay

1017 words - 4 pages

Two major men teach Jane to appreciate the complexities of her emotions and passions for life: Mr. Rochester and St. John. Both are antithesis of each other but both help Jane blossom into a woman with morals and ideals. With Mr. Rochester, she thrives in Thornfield’s environment where she does not need to suppress her passion and responds naturally to Rochester’s strong fervor. Because she did not receive proper moral schooling as a child, she did not know how to control her emotions. This problem is solved when Rochester fully exploits Jane’s weakness to his advantage by constantly making her feel jealous and inferior. It is not until Jane realizes Rochester’s sadistic intentions of making her feel jealous does she rebel and develop her independent thinking. “Her nature is passionate, but she also recognizes the dangers of uncontrolled passion…inherently conscious that actions must be tempered by reason” (Napierkowki 164). Because of the heartache and betrayal she experiences with Mr. Rochester, Jane finally recognizes her unrestrained emotions. His constant bombardment and humiliation leads Jane to learn to control her emotions or risk getting harmed. By becoming aware of her faults, she is able to reason her every move and make wise actions. Jane’s aspirations to finding a family of her own with Mr. Rochester overshadow her problem of being easily manipulated through her emotions.
While Rochester was passionate and fiery, St. John was the opposite of him. The cold restraint and extremes St. John goes to subdue Jane’s ardor to the point where it no longer exists. “…fixed his blue pictorial-looking eyes full on me. There was an unceremonious directness, searching, decided steadfastness in his gaze” (Brontë 517). Living in an everlasting stifling environment was a dose of cold water for Jane. She did not feel a sense of helplessness with St. John and had time to calmly reason through everything, unlike her interactions with Mr. Rochester. Jane observes St. John and his potent influence on her. Through her observations, Jane uncovers the appreciation for Mr. Rochester’s unrestrained setting. “By forcing Jane to overcome her dualistic model of selfhood and actively confront the question of the relationship…, St. John offers her a model of empowerment” (Shuttleworth 35). While St. John may have inhibited her emotions, he also could not develop it because of his restraint. His acknowledgement of Jane as an equal to him mentality-wise gives little assurance to Jane. She does not experience the passion or strong spirit that naturally attracted her to Mr. Rochester. Though she naturally responds to St. John’s character because of her curiosity of his mind, it ultimately leads to nothing being accomplished. Slowly, Jane begins to gauge the inner-workings of his thinking. Through this, she attains St. John’s “compressed, condensed, and controlled” method of dealing with emotions (Brontë 528). Her constant observations lead her to emulate St. John’s...

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