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Deceit and Dishonesty in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

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Jane Eyre:  The Theme of Deceit and Dishonesty


"'The marriage can not go on: I declare the existence of an impediment'" (306).   Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, is the story of an orphaned girl who is sent to live at Gateshead Hall with Mrs. Reed and her three cousins, whom Jane doesn't get along with. At the age of ten, Mrs. Reed sends Jane away to Lowood Institution, an all girls' school, where she spends the next eight years of her life. At the age of eighteen, Jane leaves Lowood and accepts the position as governess at Thornfield Hall. Mr. Rochester, the owner of Thornfield Hall, and Jane fall madly in love and plan to get married, but little does Jane know, Mr. Rochester has a terrible secret that could ruin Jane's life. Throughout the novel, the theme of deceit and dishonesty results in unhappiness and suffering not only to those being lied to, but also to those people perpetuating the untruths.

In the beginning of Jane Eyre, Mrs. Reed tells the owner of Lowood Institution, Mr. Brocklehurst, that Jane has, "'a bad character, a deceitful disposition; and to let everybody at Lowood know what [she] is, and what [she] has done'" (34). Jane already despises Mrs. Reed for treating her so poorly, but now she is infuriated. If Mr. Brocklehurst describes Jane as Mrs. Reed instructs him to do, Jane will never make friends at Lowood because all of the children will fear her. Jane battles back by saying to her aunt, "'I am glad you are no relation of mine. I will never call you aunt again as long as I live. I will never come to see you when I am grown up; and if any one asks me how I liked you, and how you treated me, I will say the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treated me with miserable cruelty'" (33). Jane...


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...ugh in the end Jane and Mr. Rochester do get married, Jane is an emotionally battered character who has to look deep inside of herself to do what is best for her. This happens to people every day. They are hurt by dishonesty and deceitfulness. It can ruin their lives unless they make the commitment to be honest with themselves and those around them.

Bibliography

Fraser, Rebecca. The Brontes. 1st ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1988.

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 3rd ed. New York: The Modern Library.

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

Diedrick, James.  Newman on the Gentleman.
http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/hypertext/landow/victorian/vn/victor10.html.

Diedrick, James.  Jane Eyre and A Vindication  of the Rights of Woman.
http://spider.albion.edu/fac/engl/diedrick/jeyre1.htm.


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