“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” (Brontë, 378). Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre creates a strong kind and independent woman. First, Jane escaped her abusive childhood. Also, after her several years at Lowood, Jane finally decided to leave and get a better job. Finally, she doesn’t agree to marry Rochester. Jane cares for herself very much, and this is shown throughout the novel.
Her individuality and identity is shown throughout her story. This is why Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre demonstrates independence. “I do believe that our childhood experiences, which include parents, combined with our own personalities, our reaction to siblings and peers and the context of our lives send us off on a path with a particular set of beliefs and patterns that have a huge impact on our future relationships.” (Smith). Jane had quite the childhood. Her parents died when she was born, and she had to live with her aunt and uncle Reed.
Her uncle was very kind to her, but when he passed away she was left to fend for herself against her three cousins and their cruel mother. She was continuously abused by her aunt and the eldest of her cousins John Reed. In the first chapter, John is first introduced as cruel and abusive.
As Jane reads in peace behind a curtain shielding her from her family, the curtain is suddenly reared aside to reveal an angry John. He yells at her, and forced her to face the mirror, ramming the book she was reading moments before into her head. This caused Jane to fall and cut her head. “Wicked and cruel boy!” I said. “You are like a murderer-you are like a slave-driver-you are like the roman emperors!” (Brontë, 9). Jane yells at John, after she falls to the ground.
Shortly after the nurse of the house along with Mrs. Reed enter the room. Mrs. Reed is furious and sent Ms. Eyre to the Red Room. The Red Room is the where Jane’s uncle had passed away.
She is locked up in there for several hours, and began to hallucinate. She starts to see her dead uncle outside the window. After all of this, Mrs. Reed decided to send Jane Eyre to school.
Lowood. Jane’s escape from the cold hearted Reeds. Through all the mental and physical abuse, Jane still remained kind hearted. “I’m 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 anyone 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.” (Brontë, 49).
This is Jane speaking shortly after Mr. Brocklehurst makes an appearance at Gatesway. After all the years of her unfortunate childhood, being struck down, looked down upon, this is the first time Jane has ever spoken up for herself. It shows how strong she has became over the years.
She was no longer afraid of Mrs. Reed. She knew that there would be a new home or school where there would be a chance to start over. Jane felt free. “It seemed as if an invisible bond had burst, and that I had struggled out into unhoped-for liberty.
” (Brontë, 50) Jane was finally free of Mrs. Reed, John, Eliza and Georgiana. Lowood was that escape. Where she met people who cared about her, and where she got to learn.Lowood was to be called Jane’s new home for many years to come. It was where Jane met her first friend, Helen Burns.
She very much enjoyed the presence of Miss Temple, who was nothing but kind to her. Only after being there for a few days, Jane learns the bitter life that was lead at Lowood. The young orphan girls were continuously overworked, underfed, and mistreated.
For example,”Disgusting! The porridge is burnt again!” (Brontë, 81). Due to this, all the girls had skipped breakfast. One more case would be, “The next day commenced as before, getting up and dressing by rushlight; but this morning we were obliged to dispense with the ceremony of washing; the water in the pitchers was frozen.” (Brontë, 95). Yet, Jane continued to find contentment in her companionship with Helen, and Miss Temple. One day, Mr. Brocklehurst had paid a visit to the school, and placed Jane before her classmates.
He told the school how Jane was a liar, instructing no one to speak to her. “You must be on your guard against her; you must shun her example; if necessary, avoid her company, exclude her from your sports, and shut her out from your converse. Teachers, you must watch her: keep your eyes on her movements, weigh well her words, scrutinise her actions, punish her body to save her soul: if, indeed, such salvation be possible, for (my tongue falters while I tell it) this girl, this child, the native of a Christian land, worse than many a little heathen who says its prayers to Brahma and kneels before Juggernaut—this girl is—a liar!” (Brontë, 122). After, this Jane believed that her reputation at Lowood had been ruined, but is reassured that most girls would feel pity upon her. Following the embarrassment, Jane is invited to go see Miss Temple in her office, where they spent the rest of the night eating cake, and sipping tea.
Jane speaks of her time at Gatesway to Miss Temple. Who soon after this meeting publicly cleared Jane of her accusations. “Miss Temple, having assembled the whole school, announced that inquiry had been made into the charges alleged against Jane Eyre, and that she was most happy to be able to pronounce her completely cleared from every imputation.” (Brontë, 138).
When spring arrived to Lowood, many of the girls fell ill, including Helen. Helen had fallen ill due to consumption, and soon passed away. But, not before Jane had snuck into Miss Temple’s room to see her close friend one last time. Shortly after, people learned of the illness that had spread across Lowood, which lead to finding out about Mr. Brocklehurst’s poor support to the young girls. This caused a new group of overseers to run the school. Jane remained as a student at Lowood for another six years, and another two years as a teacher.
Miss Temple had married, and left Lowood, which became one of the reasons, for Jane leaving. Jane also seeked change after being at Lowood for long. Jane accepted an offer at a manor called Thornfield, where she became a tutor to a little girl named Adèle.
Thornfield is also where she met Mr. Rochester.”Jane is not only a girl with powers to attract a male; she is an individual whose key-line is: ‘I care for myself’ (Ewbank, 44).
Jane throughout the novel longed for freedom, and escape, but marriage would cease her from doing so. The thought of marrying Edward made Jane feel uncomfortable. This is because Mrs. Thornfield did not approve of her engagement to Edward, and also because she is of lower financial status. Throughout the engagement, leading to the wedding day, Rochester had spoiled Jane with gifts, such as an expensive veil for the wedding day.
Edward is also once referred to her by her name to be, Jane Rochester. But the reasons above them all, which caused Jane to leave Edward: was that he was married to another woman. Her name was Bertha Mason. One of her relatives and a companion had appeared the day Jane was to be named Jane Rochester.
Her relative claimed that Bertha and Edward wed in the Caribbean. This caused Jane to flee from Thornfield, and from Edward. “I must leave Adele and Thornfield. I must part with you for my whole life: I must begin a new existence among strange faces and strange scenes” (Brontë, 579). Although Jane loved Mr. Rochester very much, her conscience convinced her to leave for her well being.
“Some time in the afternoon I raised my head, and looking round and seeing the western sun gilding the sign of its decline on the wall, I asked, ‘What am I to do?’ But the answer my mind gave—’Leave Thornfield at once’—was so prompt, so dread, that I stopped my ears” (Brontë, 567). Edward had caused Jane too much pain. At the end of chapter 27, the narrator claimed this: “Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt! May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonised as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love” (Brontë, 614-615). “She is safe because her mind is impregnable, and because she knows her own value: ‘I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now.
Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth—so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane—quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs.'” (Ewbank, 44-45). Thornfield brought happiness and joy to Jane, but Thornfield was also a type of prison to her. She wouldn’t be able to be free, which is why she left. She left Rochester, and through this she was able to start a new, with new people, and new places.
She seperated herself from Edward, and because of this she became independent.The Oxford Dictionary defines independent as “free from control; not subject to another’s authority” or “capable of thinking or acting for oneself” (Oxford). Jane displayed great independence throughout the novel. For example, Jane was able to flee from her abusive childhood and found herself at Lowood. From there, she became quite successful and was able to leave in order to find a better job, where her education could be put to great use. Finally, Jane decided to reject Mr. Rochester, after finding out that he was married.
While still continuing to remain true to herself. She grew into a independent and kind hearted woman. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a novel that displays great independance, and will continue to be a favourite by many for this very reason.