Passion Vs. Ration Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, is the story of a young girl as she struggles to grow into a woman in a time when marriage was often viewed as a matter of business rather than love. The novel follows Jane Eyre’s life as an orphan while she matures into an adult who must make difficult life decisions which will ultimately impact her happiness. She eventually finds herself a governess to a young french girl, in the house of a rich man named Edward Rochester. Jane and Rochester fall passionately in love, and proposes to Jane, but she leaves after realizing that he is already married to an insane creole woman. She leaves and ends up in the house of a small family, who she eventually realizes are her cousins. Here she is proposed to again by her cousin, St. John, but she cannot accept as she is still in love with Rochester. Both of these proposals are crucial in understanding Jane, as they show her maturation as she searches for balance within her life. Each in turn, reveals details about Jane’s nature, and of the nature of life itself. These two contrasting proposal scenes show the conflict between Jane’s passionate and rational natures.

Rochester’s proposal scene is indicative of Jane’s passion for life and his love. Jane has thus far fallen hopelessly in love with Rochester, but she always has reason behind her, reminding her of the fact that their relationship will never occur. The reader sees this when Rochester tells her that she must leave Thornfield and travel to Ireland to be a governess there. She “did not cry so as to be heard,” and the thought “struck cold to [her] heart; and colder the thought of all the brine and foam, destined, as it seemed, to rush between me and the master at whose side I now walked, and the coldest the remembrance of the wider ocean--wealth, caste, custom intervened between me and what I naturally and inevitably loved,” (236). Here, Jane is talking first about her pain, for she does not want him to know that she does in fact love him. The thoughts of leaving for Ireland pains her, and yet the ration within her tells her that she “‘must go,’” for there are so many things which are working to keep them apart (238). She can barely bear the thought of leaving a place that she loves so dearly, and yet she would sacrifice her feelings for the reason she feels to be most important in their society. This allows the reader to see her as a self-sacrificing character, who cares about the happiness and well-being of others. She wants to let her passions be free, and she wants Rochester to know of her love. At the same time, she knows that if he were to find out, it would be more painful for her. Thus, she only admits her love after being “roused to something like passion,” while she attempts to convince him she needs to leave (238). She believes that since she has “spoken [her] mind, and can go anywhere now,” (238). She vehemently believes with her rational mind that there is no plausible way he can love her, and yet her...

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