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Essay about Passion and Practicality of Jane Eyre

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Passion and Practicality of Jane Eyre

 
     Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is a coming-of-age story about an unconventional woman's development within a society of strict rules and expectations. At pivotal moments in Jane's life, she makes choices which are influenced by her emotions and/or her reason. Through the results of those choices, Jane learns to balance passion and practicality to achieve true happiness.

 

Jane is a spirited woman, and her emotions give her a strength of character that is unusual for a female heroine of this period. Rather than being nervous and oversensitive, Jane expresses her feelings through anger. The first example of this occurs at one of the pivotal moments of her life, when John Reed hits her. "'Wicked and cruel boy!' I said. 'You are like a murderer- you are like a slave-driver- you are like the Roman emperors!' I had read Goldsmith's History of Rome, and had formed my opinion of Nero, Caligula, etc. Also I had drawn parallels in silence, which I never thought thus to have declared aloud." Jane realizes for the first time that she need not be passive and accept her fate; instead she fights back, losing control, and her actions are a blur in her memory. "I don't very well know what I did with my hands, but he called me 'Rat! Rat!' and bellowed out aloud," she says.

 

This act changes Jane's life forever, in both positive and negative ways. She learns that she need not tolerate abuse, and that she deserves better treatment than she has received. From that point forward, she becomes direct and honest, and forms a strong dislike of frivolity, false kindness, and the hypocrisy of the upper classes. She even finds the couage to confront Aunt Reed and speak her mind: "'I am not de...


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...nsulted:

 

Beaty, Jerome. Misreading Jane Eyre. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1996.

 

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1991

 

Bronte, Charlotte. "Charlotte Bronte's Letters". New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1971.

 

David Lodge, Fire and Eyre: Charlotte Brontë's War of Earthly Elements

Gates, Barbara Timm, ed. Critical Essays on Charlotte Bronte. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1990.

 

Jane Eyre. Dir. Franco Zeffirelli. Perf. William Hurt, Charlotte Gainsborough, and Anna Paquin. 1996

 

Jane Eyre. Dir. Julian Aymes. Perf. Timothy Dalton, Zelah Clarke. 1983

 

Kadish, Doris. The Literature of Images: Narrative Landscape from Julie to Jane Eyre. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1986.

 

McLaughlin, M.B. "Past or Future Mindscapes: Pictures in Jane Eyre." Victorian Newsletter 41 (1972): 22-24.


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