The novel, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, has a plot that is filled with an extraordinary amount of problems. Or so it seems as you are reading it. However, it comes to your attention after you have finished it, that there is a common thread running throughout the book. There are many little difficulties that the main character, the indomitable Jane Eyre, must deal with, but once you reach the end of the book you begin to realize that all of Jane’s problems are based around one thing.
Jane searches throughout the book for love and acceptance, and is forced to endure many hardships before finding them. First, she must cope with the betrayal of the people who are supposed to be her family – her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and her children, Eliza, Georgiana, and John. Then there is the issue of Jane’s time at Lowood School, and how Jane goes out on her own after her best friend leaves. She takes a position at Thornfield Hall as a tutor, and makes some new friendships and even a romance. Yet her newfound happiness is taken away from her and she once again must start over. Then finally, after enduring so much, during the course of the book, Jane finally finds a true family and love, in rather unexpected places.
At the start of Jane Eyre, Jane is living with her widowed aunt, Mrs. Reed, and her family after being orphaned. Jane is bitterly unhappy there because she is constantly tormented by her cousins, John, Eliza, and Georgiana. After reading the entire book you realize that Jane was perfectly capable of dealing with that issue on her own, but what made it unbearable was that Mrs.
Reed always sided with her children, and never admitted to herself that her offspring could ever do such things as they did to Jane. Therefore, Jane was always punished for what the other three children did, and was branded a liar by Mrs. Reed. This point in the book marks the beginning of Jane’s primary conflict in the novel. She feels unloved and unaccepted by the world, as her own family betrays her. This feeling intensifies when Mr.
Brocklehurst arrives to take Jane away to Lowood School. Her aunt is pleased to see her go, but manages to influence Jane’s life even after Jane is settled in at the charity school, by informing Mr. Brocklehurst that Jane is a liar and must be watched carefully.
The teachers at Lowood are pious and strict and are completely intolerant of someone they consider untrustworthy. However, Jane finds her first friends at Lowood at this point in the book – her classmate, Helen Burns, and the school superintendent, Miss Temple. They teach her that not everyone in the world is harsh and unaccepting of her. Miss Temple even clears Jane of the charges of being a liar by writing a letter to Jane’s childhood doctor who confirms that Jane is an honest child, and that Mrs. Reed had lied to Mr.
Brocklehurst. But part of Jane’s happiness is shattered when Helen falls ill and dies. She feels alone once again. However, Jane’s time at Lowood only lasts until she is 19.
She has found some of the acceptance and respect she was looking for as a teacher at Lowood. But her main reason for staying is that her only friend, Miss Temple, is there. Once Miss Temple decides to marry and leave the school, Jane finds that she has nothing left to hold her there. She applies for and obtains a job at Thornfield House as a tutor to a young girl named Adele Varens.
She quickly makes friends with the girl and the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax. When Jane meets Mr. Rochester, the owner of Thornfield, she quickly wins him over with her honesty and quick-wittedness. After a period of time, Jane and Mr.
Rochester find themselves falling in love with one another, and he proposes to her. Unfortunately for Jane, her newfound love and happiness is about to be ripped away from her. It turns out that Mr. Rochester is already married. But his wife is insane and lives locked away in the upper floors of the house, and the English government will not allow him to legally divorce her, so he suggests eloping to France. Jane, being an intelligent girl, refuses to go with him, and leaves Thornfield the next morning.
It seems that once again she is alone, without love or even hope. She has no idea where she is going this time, unlike before when she left Lowood. Luckily Jane is taken in by some friendly strangers, Mary and Diana Rivers. Their brother St. John helps Jane also by helping her find a teaching position at a local school. But Jane has a secret. She has not told them her real name because she is fearful of the scandal that would occur if anyone knew about her and Mr.
Rochester. When St. John finally discovers her true last name, he reveals that she is his long lost cousin. Finally Jane has found the love and acceptance that she desperately wanted.
She has family. But she also has a loose end to deal with. She returns to Thornfield to deal with her memories of Mr. Rochester, only to find that the house has burned down, Rochester’s wife is dead, and Mr. Rochester is blind from the fire. Despite this, they start a new life together. Jane finally has everything she dreamed of having – a family that loves her, and a doting husband.
Her long lasting struggle to find love and acceptance are finally over.Therefore, Jane has her happy ending. After enduring so much along the course of her young life – her abusive aunt and cousins, the travesties at Lowood School, the death of her best friend, her lack of family and friends, the betrayal of her fiance, and so on, at the end of Jane Eyre, she has found the two things she so desperately needed and searched for all her life – love and acceptance.