What does Jane Eyre want? What is standing in her way? And what strategy does she pursue to overcome this block?
Jane wants to live happily with Mr. Rochester, but she also wants to be independent. Unfortunately, Mr. Rochester has been married, and living with him would degrade her, and in the end make her dependent. She sacrifices her happiness by eluding her master, thus gains honor and independence.
Who is telling you this story?
Jane tells her story from first point of view, and she often confused me while telling the readers what others were asking her, while using her point of view. And because Jane is a reserved and typical of Victorian women, this story becomes rather flat. I wished Charlotte Brontë wrote it in third POV and let us delving into Mr. Rochester’s mind and feelings more often. :D
Beginning and ending
The story begins with passivity and stagnation. “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.” Although it does not sum up the whole story, there is an impression of dependency in that opening line. I don’t know whether Charlotte Brontë meant to do that (I believe she did not), but Jane Eyre’s early life is really hinder her from freedom.
The ending is the resolution. I believe whatever would happen in her marriage, Jane has reached her independence.
Do you sympathize with the characters? Which one, and why?
This might be strange, but I sympathized more with Mr. Rochester than with Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is a woman with strong character. I knew from the beginning, she would be able to take care of herself. Mr. Rochester is far more vulnerable. He seems to be so strong and powerful when Providence took him in her embrace, but when unfortunates and sorrows came one by one to his life, he became lifeless. Actually, it is Mr. Rochester who is dependent. He needs someone to support him to live; he needs his seemingly-fragile Jane Eyre more than Jane needs him. I kept thinking, what would become of Mr. Rochester if her lunatic wife didn’t die soon? He would be desolate and degraded to the lowest level!
Did the writer’s times affect her?
Yes, very. Had Charlotte Brontë written this in more modern times, Jane Eyre would have revealed her passion and vigor more often, and the reader could have related more with her.
Is there an argument in this book? Do you agree?
People consider Jane Eyre as a feminist novel. I am not a feminist, as I always believe that men and women are created differently. There is no such absolute equality, because they have their own strength and weakness. I think when Jane leaves Thornfield, it is because she wants to keep away from temptation which would then degrade her to sin. Had Mr. Rochester been flawless, she would have pleasantly accepted the marriage. It is not because Mr. Rochester is blind and crippled, and because she is now a rich woman, that Jane finally consents to marry him. The obstacle, in my opinion, has only been Mr. Rochester’s marriage status. I think it is more about morality than feminism.