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Themes

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Introduction

1. Themes Love The theme of love in Jane Eyre covers both the romantic variety and the type encountered within a family, a sense of belonging, and a desire to be needed. The romantic love portrayed by Bronte through her novel is quite apparent. There is her love for Rochester, which eventually wins through, and her relationship and possible love for St. John. Balanced against this love is Jane's desire for individuality and integrity. It is this desire which leads her to refuse Rochester's hand once she learns he is still legally married to bertha, Jane will not allow herself to become a mistress just to satisfy her emotional needs. Jane also has a problem with the lack of equality between herself and Rochester; will her individuality allow her to be a kept woman? The refusal to marry St. John is different to her refusal to marry Rochester in that she knows that it would be a marriage of convenience and thus loveless. This can be seen as love balanced with integrity versus a lack of love balanced with practicality. Jane's love for Rochester can be allowed free reign only once she has gained independence by inheriting money balanced with Thornfield being a ruin and Bertha has flung herself from the roof; ...read more.

Middle

Helen's sense of self is almost puritanical when she goes on to describe herself as slatternly, chaotic and careless. It is on her death bed that Helen shows just how strong her faith is when she proclaims "I am very happy, Jane; and when you hear that I am dead you must be sure and not grieve:" The third strongly religious character is St. John Rivers. His brand of Christianity is one of glory and fulfilling moral duty through religious devotion, he appears a good and sincere man who plans to go abroad as a missionary. It does become apparent later that St. John is prepared to use religion to force Jane to marry him and accompany him to India when, in chapter thirty-four, he suggests that rejecting him would be tantamount to rejecting God, desperation or just an over-zealous zealot? This re-enforces the feeling within Jane that would be an appendage rather than a partner. The theme of Christian values appears throughout the novel. It is first shown strongly in Mr Brocklehurst's quizzing of Jane at the Reed's house and goes on to be contrasted with Helen Burn's beliefs at Lowood. The theme of religion runs through the novel when Jane has to keep making decisions between her emotional needs and her moral values. ...read more.

Conclusion

St John sees the relationship in purely pragmatic terms, Jane sees the danger of falling in love with St John while in India and says to Diana in chapter 35 "He would not want me to love him;" Gender seems to be an important theme to Bronte and the battle between the sexes commences early on between Jane and John Reed. This gender conflict re-occurs throughout the novel in almost every male encounter Jane has. There have been suggestions that Bronte was being quite risqu� in her approach to feminism at the time this novel was first published. This feminist approach is seen clearly in chapter 12 where Jane states "Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel;" It could be argued that there are more themes within the novel than I have written of above, I feel that these are the more important issues Bronte wished to raise in Jane Eyre and that the themes of appearances, struggles and atmosphere (arguably an intrinsic part of the novel rather than a theme within it) are dealt with under the sub headings above. There is the exception of social class but this will be dealt with in section three. ...read more.

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