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To what extent does Jane change throughout the course of the novel?

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Introduction

To what extent does Jane change throughout the course of the novel? Jane Eyre as a character is a very interesting mix of extremes and contrasts. As she matures we see her traits develop in many different ways, but throughout the course of her life she is a strong-minded person and her morals and basic views on life do not change in essence. The main themes of the novel are centred around her passion, her great need for love, as she was denied it as a child, and her strength of character and rebellious nature in a period when society did not accept the equal rights of women. From this point it can be argued that Jane Eyre is a feminist novel. As a child Jane was never spoilt or doted upon. She was not the kind of girl that was attractive to adults, because she was sombre and solemn and did not play up to the charade of a sweet, adorable little girl that adults liked to fuss over; in chapter 1 Mrs Reed tells Jane that she should keep at a distance from her until, "she/could discover/that I was endeavouring in a good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner- something lighter, franker, more natural". ...read more.

Middle

These passage is very relevant in comparing the characters of the young, and matured Jane Eyre. When she is older, Jane goes to visit her aunt on her deathbed, forgives her and offers her peace and an end to the hostility between them, "Dear Mrs Reed/think no more of all this, let it pass away from your mind. Forgive me for my passionate language: I was a child then; eight, nine yours have passed since that day. My disposition is not so bad as you think: I am passionate, but not vindictive. Many a time, as a little child, I should have been glad to love you if you would have let me; and I long earnestly to be reconciled to you now: kiss me, aunt." Mrs Reed refused to kiss her and died that night. Another obvious trait that Jane has as a child is her morbid way of thinking and her pessimistic attitude towards her life. This is hardly surprising considering her circumstances, and I believe that she was truly depressed during her stay at Gateshead, "to achieve escape form insupportable oppression- as running away, or , if that could not be effected, never eating or drinking more, and letting myself die." ...read more.

Conclusion

She longs for a richer life and to explore the world, "I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit; which might reach the busy world, towns, regions full of lire I had heard of but never seen- that then I desired more of practical experience than I possessed; more of intercourse with my kind, of acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my reach." Jane knows that she is not of a higher class, and does not desire material things; she is insulted when Rochester tries to dress her up in fire clothes. This could be seen as modesty but I think she associates those fine things with all the things she despises, including the Reeds. However she does have a low opinion of herself at some times, but this could be seen as her being perceptive and truthful with herself about her possibilities and chances in life, "you... a favourite". This happens again when she compares herself the Blanche Ingram. She always objects to people trying to change her, she says she will "be herself": " I am not an angel." In this sense she has a great deal of integrity, as she does throughout her life. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rose Clark ...read more.

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