“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte is an outstanding novel about women's life in the Victorian society. Different aspects of women's lives and various difficult situations they were facing during that period can be observed in the novel. The element of tension between passion and reasoning established by the author captivates the reader. This novel combines a huge variety of positive and negative emotions like passion, romance, madness, wildness, destruction, loss etc. The main character - Jane Eyre - is presented as an orphan under the custody of her relatives, who despise her due to her low social status and straightforward character. Jane Eyre, an orphan, friendless and penniless, keeps dignity for her whole life, exerts great moral strength, and refuses to be grateful to the social order.
Jane Eyre is vividly described as “small and plain” and “poor and obscure”; however, the author gave her some outstanding features that fascinate readers (Bronte 186). The reader is attracted by the strength of her character and her principles. The main heroine is described as a brave, humble, spirited and an honest person. At the same time, while reading her speeches based on firmness and determination, she leaves an impression of a vulgar-minded woman with a solid voice. Therefore, Jane is positioned as an outstanding narrator. The reader feels the desire for struggle and independence throughout her speeches.
Edward Rochester is another fascinating character of the novel. The author introduces the main hero as complicated, dark, moody, cynical, wild, and disturbing person. Jane falls in love with her master, but through their dialogues the reader sees that she does not consider herself inferior to him in terms of spiritual level. An exceptional romance broke up between them. Jane outlines the spirit of a passionate heroine, desperately trying to restrain her desire for love and accepting the social and religious tenets. She has to run away from her love due to Rochester’s secret, facing another option for her life. In this situation, she manifests her fantastic character – independent, dignified, and honest - “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you” (Bronte 154).
Jane Eyre has to deal and react to fate even after she runs away from Rochester. Thus, the author exhibits courage of the main heroine and the fact she defies the Victorian moral of submitting to a man's will. She was taken in by her long lost cousins, and her cousin John falls in love with her. Jane finds out that she has a big fortune after her uncle's death, and shares her inheritance with her new relatives. The main character embodies kindness, virtues, and responsiveness that might be confused if they hadn’t been so persuasive and if her life story had not been such a marvelous turmoil of cruel suffering and unquenchable passion.
The author shows the emotional nature of the main heroine using the idea of conflict between logic and passion. John reasons that his marriage proposal to Jane would be logical; he concludes that Jane would be a perfect wife for a missionary and tries to persuade her with reasonable arguments "complicated interests, feelings, thoughts, wishes, aims; merge all considerations in one purpose" (Bronte 298 ). Jane does not keep her emotions and even says that she despises him and his idea of love. The reader again sees her commitment to the unwillingness to submit to a man’s power, her independence, freedom of choice, and a willingness to speak her mind. She refuses to marry her cousin because she still loves Rochester.
In terms of unchangeable circumstances, Jane's actions can be named by words dignity and moral purity. She disengages her negative emotions and makes them less injurious through forgiveness and love for enemies. The reader may observe this philosophy when Jane visits her dying aunt and forgives her. According to the abovementioned, the author shows the idea of providing a reward for kind and proper actions.
At the end of her constant struggle for happiness and acceptance, Jane returns to her lover, who has become blind. Thus, Bronte shows a progress in the world view of the main character Jane. At the same time, she only returns after she is established as a Rochester's social equal. Her return is motivated not by greed or neediness, it is her wish. Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester reunite and get reborn at the same time: Jane has gone through the final stage of spiritual and personal growth, and Rochester has become rehumanized, disengaged of his loneliness. In some way, the author reveals the urge for equality between women and men in successful relationships. Ending the novel, Bronte uses such metaphors as "brilliantly green" grass and the "sparklingly blue sky" to describe the new relationship between Jane and Rochester, showing the perfection of it (Bronte 323).
The idea of emotional sentimentality can be observed through the whole novel. Romanticism and reasonable sense have kept “Jane Eyre” transpiercing through many years, generations and interpretations. “Jane Eyre” is filled with concepts of tenderness and terror at the same time. Though the novel is based on the morals and customs of the Victorian society, it stays modern and actual throughout ages.
Bronte succeeded in creating a character challenging the image of an ideal Victorian woman, quiet, submissive, domestic, and agreeable. At some point, Jane is Charlotte's avatar in the fictional world. The reader feels that Bronte knows the main heroine very intimately; she feels her spirit. “Jane Eyre” expresses the author's view of women's equality through words and actions of the main heroine. Full of contradictions and dramaticism, the novel is directed at the innermost heart of the reader, where the literary sympathy lies.