Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre epitomized a classic coming of age fairy tale, similar to that of Charles Perrault’s Cinderella. Raised by a spiteful aunt, this Victorian novel portrayed a young girl struggling with conflicts between her moral beliefs and passion, as well as a desire to discover her inner strength. Despite Jane’s unfortunate beginnings, she was able to stay true to herself, and ultimately attain a life brimming with love and happiness. Much like Cinderella, Jane had been orphaned at a young age, and cared for by an unloving, cruel aunt who ignored her own children’s faults while punishing Jane for minor infractions. She was treated as an outcast, and was offered relief only when allowed to attend Lowood, a modest charity boarding school for young girls. Here too, Jane was treated unfairly when the owner, Mr. Brocklehurst, publicly accuses young Jane of being a liar as per the false claims of Mrs. Reed. Jane found solice only in the friendly face of Helen Burns. Charlotte Bronte had first introduced Jane Eyre as a free spirit, as can be seen in her first interaction with Mr. Brocklehurst. QUOTE QUOTE QUOTE It was the combination of the intelligent, good-doing Helen Burns and Mr. Brockleburst, that served as the first moral and religious role models Jane had in her young life. Throughout the novel Jane struggles to formulate her own opinions and beliefs about religion, as she seeks a balance between the oppressive, hyprocritical practices Mr. Brockleburst and the kind yet meek and passive Helen. As the story line progresses, Jane encounters another religious influence, St. John, who is so devoted to her belief that he retreats from everyday life in an attempt to fulfill his moral obligations. It is only after experiencing the vast differences between these three characters that she finally establishes a middle ground in which she trusts completely in God without sacrificing her happiness. QUOTE QUOTE QUOTE Just as Cinderella was of a much lower social class than her Prince Charming, Jane Eyre was only a poor, unattractive governess when she met Mr. Rochester. Though she was not as beautiful and popular as Blanche Ingram, her quiet grace captured Mr. Rochester’s attention. Jane soon found herself forgiving her employer’s faults, and even began to find his abrasive facial features becoming. QUOTE QUOTE QUOTE Jane had managed to find her own Prince Charming after years of being shunned. Throughout the novel, Jane fights an internal battle brought on by the social hiarchy of the nineteenth century. While she possessed knowledge and sophistication, defining characteristics of the upper class, she was but a governess with no money to her name. Though she needed no more for her personal contentment, the fact that Mr. Rochester was wealthy and powerful made her feel unequal. QUOTE QUOTE QUOTE It was not until, as though a fairy “godfather”, her uncle willed Jane a considerable inheritance that she finally felt an equal to the man she loved. This aspect of the novel showcases the importance of society’s boundaries at the time of publication. When Bertha was exposed at the wedding of Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane forced herself to resist the temptation of staying with a married man. Instead, she fled, with little money or possessions and no where to go. This decision was another testament to Jane’s inner strength and ability to do the right thing. She was able to establish a life of happiness on her own due in large part to Diana, Mary, and John Rivers, who housed and befriended the destitute Jane. This phase in Jane’s journey proves to Jane she is capable of creating her own happiness and fulfillment in an environment of equality. QUOTE QUOTE QUOTE The time spent with her cousins also characterized Jane as courageous and self confident, as she had the strength to reject St. John’s marriage proposal. Even after he begged and pleaded, Jane had finally come to the conclusion she could not marry a man who she did not love and who in return requested her hand with only intentions of fulfilling his personal goals, not because he truly cared about her. Jane’s return to Thornfield was a symbol of the ultimate power of love shared between her and Mr. Rochester. After overcoming numerous internal and external obstacles, the two were finally able to marry and, as in Cinderella, “live happily ever after”.
FINDING HERSELF -personal strength -leaving rochester to do the right moral thing (helen). -strength to reject st johns offer coming back (ultimate power of love)
-Bertha -cousins (rivers) -cinderella paradigm (happily ever after) character to admire
courage/self confidence sticking up to mrs reed doesn’t conform to society