In Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre, the characters of Jane and Mr. Rochester can easily be considered a dichotomy of each other; they are dissimilar and separate, almost like polar opposites, not only because of the obvious gender differences, but also in terms of station; Mr. Rochester, is an well-educated man of privilege, and Jane’s employer, while Jane, herself, whose only education stems from an all girls boarding school, is his employee, and Mr. Rochester’s subordinate. Mr. Rochester has ‘more’ compared to Jane; he is more educated, is more well-versed, more well-traveled, and is more prosperous. With Bronte’s novel, it is understood that this abundance Rochester lives in is not solely based on his status, but also based on his sex; he also has the ability, should he choose to, to improve his standing even further because he is a man.
Jane, unlike Mr. Rochester, is completely fixed in her position; her sex and her occupation as a governess limits her, and what she could obtain. For Bronte, Jane was innately given the motivation and drive to desire more than what she has; as the author, Bronte, must have been absolutely influenced by the social order of her time, and the challenge of increasing one’s station.
What Rochester and Jane do have in common is that, despite their difference in position, they can both be considered misfits. While Rochester’s is man of wealth and power, he can be considered somewhat of a rogue; his fall from grace in his youth assigns him being of the world but not truly in it:
“….I have a past existence, a series of deeds, a colour of life
to contemplate within my own breast, which might well
call my sneers and censures from my neighbors to myself...
I started, or rather was thrust on to a wrong track at the
age of one and twenty, and have never recovered
the right course sense… “(135).
For Jane as a person, and for her position as a governess, the reverence she has for herself makes her also a misfit; she is more concerned with the spiritual reward she will receive in the next life, than with immediate gratification she would be obtained by what she considers as doing wrong; she thinks more about the weight of her name and the denial of her flesh in respect to a possible advancement in life: “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep to the law give by God; sanctioned by man” (317). For Jane, suffering is not part of a dilemma, rather it equals the ultimate reward, to suffer as Christ did; on order for her worth to be determined- she must suffer. The education Jane receives at Lowood, as a girl, stresses her Quaker beliefs of suffering in adulthood; at Lowood, the principle of the headmaster, Mr. Brocklehurst, on the undertaking of going without promotes spirituality, and the emphasis of perfecting oneself, even in regards to things like burnt porridge and cheese:
“Should any little accidental disappointment ...