Jane Eyre: Imagery
Jane Eyre tells the story of a woman progressing on the path towards
acceptance. Throughout her journey, Jane comes across many obstacles. Male
dominance proves to be the biggest obstacle at each stop of Jane’s journey:
Gateshead Hall, Lowood Institution, Thornfield Manor, Moor House, and Ferndean
Manor. Through the progression of the story, Jane slowly learns how to
understand and control her repression. I will be analyzing Janes stops at
Thornfield Manor and Moor House for this is where she met the two most important
men in her life. The easiest way to compare and contrast Rochester and St. John
Rivers is by examining when and under what circumstances these two gentlemen
come into contact with Jane.
It is at Thornfield Manor that Jane first encounters Mr. Rochester.While
living at Thornfield, Rochester demands undivided attention from the servants,
Jane included. He needs to be in control of every aspect of his life, and he
needs to feel superior to all of those around him. Jane de cides to accept his
control and she concedes to him by calling him sir, even after they begin to
have an intimate relationship. At one point, she even goes so far as to excuse
herself for thinking. She says, “I was thinking, sir (you will excuse the idea;
it was involuntary), I was thinking of Hercules and Samson with their charmers”
(p.289). This statement possibly begins to suggests Janes unsatisfaction with
Rochester’s position of complete dominance in their relationship. To Jane,
Rochester embodies the idea of love which she has so long been denied of. As I
stated earlier, the whole movie is about Janes journey towards acceptance, by
herself and by others. It is this journey which persuades her to move on when
she finds Rochester’s physical and material love unacceptable.
Jane’s next stop on her journey is Moor House. Here, she meets St. John
Rivers, her cousin. Unlike Rochester, St. John is portrayed as the ultimate
sacrificer, willing to do anything for others, no matter how undesirable the
task might be. St. John also expects this sacrifice from Jane, and she must
decide whether to accept his proposal. At this point in her journey, Jane
understands that her search for herself can not be accomplished without real
love. She denies St. John’s marriage proposal by saying, “I have a woman’s
heart, but not where you are concerned; for you I only have a comrade’s
constancy; a fellow soldier’s frankness, fidelity, fraternity. . .nothing
more.” (p.433). She knows real love can not be given to her by St. John and she
must continue on her journey. She must continue towards her destiny rendezvous
Ferndean Manor is the final stop in Jane’s journey. Once again, Rochester
appears as the dominant figure, although his air of superiority has become
greatly reduced due to the accident. Due to his ailments he is now completely
dependent on those around him, a situation which humbles him. A new man results
in this change, and in him, Jane finds her real, spiritual and physical love.
She says, ” All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would
remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever” (p.469).
Rochester no longer demands people to act inferior around him to boost his eg o.
he is finally at a point in his life where he demands an equal partner. He does
not try to contai n Jane; he sets her free. He says, “Miss Eyre, I repeat it,
you can leave me” (p.468). She does not leave him though.Rochester embodies
the perfect balance between the physical and th e spiritual, the natural and
graceful, intellectual and physical beauty, and love and servitude. These were
feelings that were not present with St. John. Jane is now able to find her
true abilities and her balance.
Jane makes many stops on her journey for happiness and equality but the
two most important sto ps I feel are with St. John and Rochester. It is through
the experiences with these two gentlemen that Jane learns many of her life
lessons. Through her experiences with these two gentlemen she is able
understand and realize qualities in herself and others. With each experience she
has with these gentlemen, she learns how to confront her past repression, which
in turn leads to her own growth.