Jane Eyre Essays


Jane Eyre Essay Sample: Excerpts

In Jane Eyre we watch the gradual awakening of an unquickened life. "You are cold," says Rochester to Jane, "because you are alone; no contact strikes the fire from you that is in you." He tells her that happiness is close beside her; all she has to do is to stretch out her hand and take it. But she is of the kind to reject external opportunities. The flame within her is something isolated, secret, and selfdependent. In her face Rochester reads aloud the witness of her thoughts: "I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born within me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give." It is this "hitch" in Jane's character which stirs Rochester to persistence. He fans her fire till her heart trembles and glows in the exaltation of dawn breaking over the garden; the red glow bursts later into flaming words, terse, scorching, invincible: "I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh; it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet equal -- as we are!" -The fierce tearing flames died down to the sullen burning of disillusion. This is one of the exceptional places in Charlotte Bronte, where the thought of religious consolation comes -but only for a moment -- with the simplicity and exaltation of a fresh and vital passion: One idea only still throbbed lifelike within me -- a remembrance of God. It begot an unuttered prayer; these words went wandering up and down in my rayless mind, as something that should be whispered, but no energy was found to express them, -- "Be not far from me, for trouble is near; there is none to help."

The trouble came: "In full heavy swing the torrent poured over me." And Jane found what she deemed a fit reason for this suffering: she had been overwhelmed just because she had been incapable of articulate prayer. This is literally the meaning of the last paragraph of the twenty-sixth chapter. There is something astounding in the harshness -- no, the brutality -- of the motives so unhesitatingly imputed to God. It is after such words as these that we begin to understand more clearly the inadequacy of Charlotte's religious utterances. The passion then fades to a great quietness as Jane forgives Rochester -- "yet not in words, not outwardly; only at (the) heart's core." -- She goes out to face the "awful blank" of the future -- "something like the world when the deluge was gone by." After that the savage flames die down to a more temperate warmth. Never for a moment is the story cold; but we pass out of the Torrid Zone.

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