Monday, April 27, 2009

Final Blog Post for JANE EYRE

Due: Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 @ 3:00 p.m.

Scoring Guide: APE rubric

Late work for Major Assignments & Notebooks will have a letter grade deducted for every day late.

In full disclosure, I did not come up with these topics, but I do like them. I would cite or reference this, but I don’t know from where they came.

These are prompts, meant to prompt you to make some interesting and (provable with text) assertions:

When Jane returns to Rochester she finds him blind and the house burnt down. Has Rochester has changed and learnt from this experience? Consider chapter 37 “Jane! You think me, I dare say, an irreligious dog. . .”.

  • Do you feel that it is only now that Jane and Rochester can be equal? Does his blindness and reliance on her negate her social inferiority, or is that too harsh a view of their relationship?
  • What, in the final chapter, do we learn from their marriage? Does it represent fulfillment to both characters or is it the marriage still balancing of opposite values?
  • Why does the novel end with the reference to St. John Rivers, rather than to herself and Rochester?


Mary N. said...

By the end of “Jane Eyre” Mr. Rochester has lost his sight in addition to a hand due to a fire that has been set during the night, presumably by Bertha Mason. As a result of the blindness and the crippled hand, Mr. Rochester now depends more on other people around him in order to live his life, in contrast to his independence and frivolity of the past. Although this experience may have humbled him, he shows to be the same manipulative and emotional character Jane has originally left him as.

As a result of Mr. Rochester’s new dependence on Jane, his blindness and his reliance does deny the existence of Jane’s social inferiority within their relationship to an extent. Jane now possesses more money than Mr. Rochester himself when her uncle died and left nearly his entire fortune to her; she is even considered an independent with known relatives in contrast to Mr. Rochester‘s solitary and dependent life. He admits to this difference in social standing when he says, “A poor blind man, whom you will have to lead about by the hand,” which juxtaposes Jane of the past as the governess, when she was the one to wait for his commands, “‘Drink the wine again, Jane,’” [says Mr. Rochester]…[Jane] obeyed him” (Bronte 433, 295).

However, he still demonstrates extreme control over her character through his manipulative rhetoric skills that he has shown to possess earlier in the novel. He continues to call her pet names; though he changes them in order to accommodate to the new social standing that has come face-to-face with him and Jane. Knowing that she is positioned in a much more advantaged situation in which she has the liberty to leave at any time, Mr. Rochester calls her “ my fairy-born and human-bred” in comparison to the previous “my little elfish” and “my lamb” (427). Although the names now allude to higher beings than humans and not animals, the fact that Mr. Rochester continues to use them to address Jane as his property with the constant “my” shows that he still acknowledges their inequality beyond social statuses, in which her independence is only truly recognized by societal beliefs. In addition to the continual usage of the name-calling, Mr. Rochester utilizes pathos by degrading himself in order to evoke pity and sympathy from Jane so that she will stay. He has done this previously when Jane decided to leave him after discovering his alternate life with Bertha Mason; “You don’t love me, then? It was only my station, and the rank of my wife, that you valued? Now that you think me disqualified to become your husband, you recoil from my touch as if I were some toad or ape” (299). Here, he purposely put the blame on her and made himself appear the victim of the situation, even if she had been the one deceived and tricked into marriage. Mr. Rochester continues to use the method of self-degradation after the blindness in order to keep her from leaving; “‘I am not better than the old lightning-struck chestnut-tree in Thornfield orchard,’ he remarked, ere long” (433). In both situations, Mr. Rochester strategically insults himself so that Jane would feel pity for him and thus, return to him with opened arms.

The blindness that placed itself upon Mr. Rochester actually sharpens his rhetorical skills of manipulation as it has kept Jane from leaving. Prior to the fire incident, Mr. Rochester’s eyes revealed his true intentions of just escaping his undesirable life, in which Jane knew she could not be happy residing with because she would feel deceived by the false sense of happiness. Since “the soul, fortunately, has an interpreter - often an unconscious, but still a truthful interpreter - in the eye,” Mr. Rochester being blind prevents any exploration of his spirit (313). The fact that Mr. Rochester’s eyes can no longer reveal any true emotions or feelings of his soul, his words affect Jane more deeply without her realizing it being a form of manipulation as she had been able to do before. As a result, Jane decides to stay with Mr. Rochester even if her originally plan had been to return to her relatives after she visit him.

Mr. Rochester’s unfortunate fire incident has turned into a blessing for him as it has allowed him to regain Jane Eyre. While it has shown him how Jane has acquired a higher social status than he within the one year apart, it has done nothing to change his manipulative character whatsoever. Mr. Rochester actually becomes more convincing in his speech, resulting in Jane’s final decision to remain with him.

Ashley A said...

The final chapters of Jane Eyre are quite interesting because after Jane returns to Thornfield, she discovers that much has changed, which forces many residents to change as well. This sudden drastic turn of events occurs at a time in Jane’s life when she is financially stable, but seems to be missing true love. Once reunited with Mr. Rochester, on the surface love seems to prevail but it is questionable as to how much each character has learned from their experiences.

From the beginning of their relationship, Rochester strongly desired to change Jane’s social status and appearance by ordering her to “…choose half a dozen dresses”(266) from a silk warehouse, which she despised, but went along with regardless, because she knew it would make him happy. However, Rochester’s more recent situation forced him to begin “…to experience remorse, repentance, the wish for reconcilement to [his] Maker. [He] began sometimes to pray…” (435) Since Rochester’s house burned down and he became crippled, he was forced to rely on God and Jane for much assistance and I feel this event causes Jane and Rochester to become equals. Rochester finally knows how it feels to be in such as low place in his life where he needed to turn to a higher power for guidance. Although Jane was not overly religious, she valued the importance of putting her troubles in God’s hands to guide her through numerous difficult situations, which eventually led her to places that were far better than her previous establishments, such as Lowood Institution and then Thornfield. After Rochester was blinded, he lost many of his old friends and this led to seclusion from the rest of society, which ironically was a major factor throughout Jane’s adolescence. Although Jane and Rochester can finally be equal after sharing similar experiences of solitude and despair, I don’t feel that Rochester changed voluntarily. The loss of control Rochester once held over Jane was a direct result of his handicap, which later “…knit [them] so very close…”(439). He was forced to grovel for her forgiveness and to change because Jane became “…his vision…his right hand,” (439).

In addition to Rochester and Jane now being equal, I feel that Rochester’s blindness and reliance on her causes him to negate her social inferiority because Rochester now lives through Jane. In order for Rochester to function normally, “he saw nature – he saw books through [Jane] …” (439) Rochester did not have many options so he once again was forced to look past her social class and to see the world as she viewed it because Jane was his only set of eyes. This quote also introduces the ideas of reading books and this was a major symbol of the novel I felt, because reading was always something people of the wealthy class had the opportunity to experience and it signified them as educated. Based on Jane’s ability to read would signify the amount of knowledge Rochester would eventually gain.

Even though I don’t feel that Rochester changed voluntarily, I feel to a certain extent, he learned from his experiences. The readers later discover that Rochester and Jane got married and by the time they had their first son, Rochester regained the ability to see out of one eye and from that gift, he “…acknowledged that God had tempered judgment with mercy” (440) when giving his son the large and brilliant eyes he once had. From the birth of his son and his inherited characteristics, Rochester learned that God made it possible for his son to be born without any defects, although the birth of a son with deformities would have been another way to punish Rochester for his inappropriate actions early in his life. On the other hand, I feel that Rochester did not learn enough from his experiences to directly benefit Jane because he felt the “ [she] loved him so fondly, that to yield that attendance was to indulge [her]sweetest wishes.” (439) Instead of Rochester finding inner strength to prevail independently, he solely relied on Jane for all of his needs because he knew she desired to be his sole caretaker and lover.

In the final chapter, the readers learned that during their marriage, Rochester regained the ability to see in one of his eyes and this represented fulfillment in both characters. Rochester regained slight control and power because he “…can find his way without being led by the hand,…” (440) at the same time, Jane was satisfied because he still could not ‘…see very distinctly,…” (440) which reassured her that Rochester would continue to rely greatly on her assistance and she would indirectly be continuously appreciated.

Stephen said...
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Stephen said...

Bertha Mason, in a fit of madness and taking advantage of a drunk caretaker sets her attic chamber on fire. Mr. Rochester displays heroism as he went up and down his burning home, evacuating all of his servants before exiting himself. Due to falling beams, one of his hands is crushed and one of his eyes is knocked out, and the other rendered useless. A surgeon amputates his hand, leaving him a blind cripple. Mr. Rochester, having lost his principle home, but more importantly, still pining away hopelessly for Jane, sequesters himself in his other country estate, in a small manor home called Ferndean.

Jane, while with the Riverses and being browbeaten by St. John Rivers into the prospect of marriage, suddenly thinks that she hears Mr. Rochester’s voice calling for her, and hastens to Thornfield. On discovering that Thornfield is no more, she goes to Ferndean and meets with Mr. Rochester. To answer the question of equality in their relationship, one must examine their prior positions. Before these events, Mr. Rochester was portrayed as the rich, dominant man in the relationship, the employer, who at a whim, can procure mistresses and dismiss Jane. Jane is the governess, an employee who teaches Mr. Rochester’s ward. Socially, Mr. Rochester is an aristocrat, while Jane has a middle to lower class lifestyle.

In a way, the crippling and blinding of Mr. Rochester does “lower” him. He is dependent on others for his daily needs. At the same time, however, Jane inherits a small fortune that gives her independence. Since she comes from an aristocratic family, Jane can be said to be socially equal to Mr. Rochester. In terms of financial independence, both demonstrate that each is capable of living without the other. Although Thornfield is destroyed, Mr. Rochester has both Ferndean and the means to provide shelter. Jane expresses her own financial independence, saying, “[I am] quite rich, sir. If you won’t let me live with you, I can build a house of my own close up to your door, and you many come and sit in my parlour when you want company of an evening” (Bronte 423). While before, Jane was dependent on Rochester, after the residence with the Riverses, Jane becomes “independent” (425) and Rochester is dependent on Jane. In short, I don’t think that his marriage necessarily indicates an equilibrium between the two established through the “humbling” of only one character- Mr. Rochester. While Rochester needed to lose some of his power and his independence, Jane needed to gain security as well. Jane needed to be an equal partner in this relationship, not a subordinate.

I further think of this marriage as a fulfillment of what both Mr. Rochester and Jane need. Jane cannot find happiness through love and marriage to Mr. Rochester, and Mr. Rochester gains a companion, a guide, and a new lease on life that brings him out of a depression, and allows him to find love. No one character “gains” more than the other and both characters now are able to participate in marriage following one moral code. Mr. Rochester adopts Jane’s moral laws, and presumably, he is no longer a philanderer. They marry legally, and no one is compelled, as Jane was, to break personal moral codes by marrying. This marriage does represent fulfillment of both characters and a merging of values.

Finally, on the question of why St. John is mentioned at the end instead of the marriage, I believe that the author sought to bring closure to all characters. In the “Conclusion,” Eyre narrates that she married Rochester, became a joyful companion to him, and bore him a son, while Rochester can begin to see in one eye again. Both of the Rivers sisters are married happily. In tying up loose ends, I believe that the author chose St. John to somehow project a strong moral message, as well as to redeem him. The reader finds that “St. John is unmarried: he never will marry now. Himself has hitherto sufficed to the toil; and the toil draws near its close” (440-441). First, this phrasing means that he will die, and thus, “he will never marry now” and his “toil draws near its close.” Second, this scene of death allows Jane to narrate that the news of his death “drew from my eyes human tears” (441), thus allowing both forgiveness and closure on Jane’s part.

Tzivia H said...

Following the fire at Thornfield, Rochester is very much reduced to the status of invalid. Beyond merely suffering emotionally and psychologically at the loss of Jane, his home, and Bertha, Rochester’s pain is compounded by physical ailments. His newfound blindness and amputation moored Rochester to Ferndean hospital, granting him very little mobility beyond his chair. Jane’s return to Rochester’s life notes a shift in their relationship, where there appears to be greater inter-reliance between them, rather than being characterized by Rochester’s sole domination of Jane.

Although cynical to consider, Rochester’s treatment of Jane shifts dramatically following his accident, revealing greater levels of dependence whereupon. Prior to it, Rochester dictated and influenced all Jane’s decisions, subtlely prodding her to bend to his will. Even in his initial marriage proposal he noted, “Little scpetic, you shall be convinced” (253). This concession on the part of Rochester serves to exemplify his domineering nature- that Jane never seemed to find disagreeable. This overbearing even authoritarian nature was all but effaced following the accident, where Rochester in his second attempt at marriage notes, “A poor blind man, whom you will have to lead about by the hand?” (433), after Jane initially agrees. In stark contrast to his first attempt, rather than using his influence to convince Jane, Rochester appears shrunken, seemingly attempting to convince her not to marry him. At this juncture in her life, Jane has also achieved a greater level of independence and self-worth outside the realm of love and marriage, through her trials with the Riverses. During that period, Jane accrued a great deal of personal wealth and rejected another marriage proposal, which if accepted, would have solidified her position as inferior. From such, one could argue that the equality produced from the marriage to Rochester was a result of Jane’s growing independence, produced while away from Thornfield. Although I find this in some respects true, Jane’s subordination to St. John during her stay with the Riverses suggests her inability to separate a desire for personal independence from a male influence. It appears then that the scruples of Jane were not quite as effective in creating an equalizing gradient than Rochester’s accident- Rochester had to be degraded in order for the two to become equal. Jane herself even concedes in the last chapter, “Mr. Rochester continued to be blind the first two years of our union: perhaps it was that circumstance that drew us so very near…” (439).

After so long refusing to be bound to the doldrums and repetitions of a domestic life, Jane ultimately agrees to the marriage and by the last chapter, the two are wed. Although Jane speaks with rapture of the decision, her comments speak little of personal happiness outside of Rochester. She notes, “I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and white what I love best on earth…we are ever together” (439). Although content, it would be impossible to say that Jane was fulfilled. Hearkening back to her early time at Thornwood, Jane noted, “the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes…” and continued on to say, “it is narrow-minded…to say that they [women] ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stocking, to playing o the piano and embroidering bags” (116; 117). In ultimately marrying Rochester, rather than being fulfilled, Jane unconsciously molds herself to this domestic ideal.

In reiterating the fate of St. John in the final chapter, the readers are reminded of the entirely dominating figure he represented to Jane, in his modes of control and influence. Although her marriage to Rochester contrasts with her idealism and personal values, a marriage to St. John (reminded again in the last chapter) would have produced complete and total subordination. The continued use of St. John as the foil to Rochester merely conveys Rochester as the lesser of two evils.

Jenny L said...

In Jane’s return to Rochester “on an evening marked by the characteristics of a sad sky, cold gale, and continued small, penetrating rain…” (419), Bronte paints a scene of eerie darkness, foreboding in nature and marked by “close ranked trees”, “granite pillars”, and “grass-grown track.” (41) Jane’s return is foreshadowed by negative overtones that are troubled by the fact that “there is no opening anywhere” (419) that leads to Ferndean to see Rochester. Through Bronte’s creation of a struggle for Jane’s return to Rochester, she also creates a parallel for the struggle Jane soon faces in their reunion. With the loss of his hand and his eyesight, Rochester’s character undergoes a struggle to acknowledge equality and perhaps even inferiority to Jane. The superiority complex that Rochester has once projected has been torn to reveal an insecure and humbler man. Ironically, Bronte uses a fire, connecting the motif of red and its symbolization of Jane, to destroy the arrogant and seemingly strong exterior he had once possessed. From his loss of sight as well as sense of touch, Rochester ultimately becomes the “lamenter” (423) forcing him to experience a role of vulnerability as well as inferiority.

Throughout the novel, the concept of appearance has been linked to social standing. With Rochester’s physical appearance being destroyed by the passion that is represented by the fire, Bronte harshly enforces the undeniable prevalence of not appearance but love. With the loss of both sight and touch comes Rochester’s growing insecurity and struggling acceptance of equality within his relationship with Jane. Rochester strays away from the shallowness of appearance in connection with stature and takes on the position Jane was once in. In isolation from the overly judgmental and harsh views of society, Rochester begins to experience the same sense of solitude Jane has struggled with throughout the novel. Though it is at first difficult for Rochester to fathom the fact that Jane is “independent”, asking “What do you mean, Jane?” (423) when told, Jane’s persistence in remaining by his side regardless of her independence slowly breaks his skepticism and his shallow view of love. Questioning Jane’s decision to stay with him, Rochester points out that “[Jane] is rich…[she has] now, no doubt, friends who well look after [her], and not suffer [her] to devote [herself] to a blind lameter like [him].” (423) Portraying him to hold a superficial view of wealth as well as love, Bronte shows the change brought about not only by the fire, but by Jane as well.

Though there is an obvious shift in roles in Jane and Mr. Rochester’s relationship, it would be unfair to say that it is only through the degradation of Mr. Rochester’s physical ability that this shift towards equality occurs. It is true that the incident in which Mr. Rochester has unfortunately suffered great physical pains has bound him to a sense of isolation from society, it is Jane, who like Rochester has once done for her, that has brought him back from the darkness of solitude. It is not only the loss of sight and touch that creates a Rochester accepting and understanding of the less superficial concept of wealth, love, and status, but it is in Jane’s persistence and devotion that truly gains Rochester’s respect. For though he is “a crippled man, twenty years older than [Jane], whom [she] will have to wait on” (434), Jane without hesitation accepts his proposal.

In the final chapter of Jane Eyre’s autobiography, the couple, after overcoming the obstacles posed by questions of morality, reason, conscience, and feeling, at last marries. Their marriage, unlike their first attempt took place with “a quiet wedding” where “[Mr. Rochester] and [Jane], the parson and clear, were alone present.” (437) The intimacy of the wedding signifies the rejection of society’s narrow and often times suffocating ideals, and the acceptance that “conventionality is not morality [and] self-righteousness is not religion.” (18) Straying away from the harshly divided black and white areas of right and wrong, their marriage fuses the two extremes to create a more human morality.

Cynthia R said...

A major turning point in the relationship between Rochester and Jane was when Jane comes back from being with her newly found relatives only to find a miserable and disheartened Rochester. After Bertha had set fire to Thornfield, Rochester tried to save all of his servants and Bertha as well and as a result ended up losing his hand and sight.

Once Rochester realizes that he must be dependent on others, there is a change in his character. It is only natural that he is depressed after having lost his hand and sight, but there is also another change in Rochester; he becomes more humble. Before the accident, he had the control within the relationship, not only because he was a man, but also because of his higher status and wealth. Now, however, it seems that Rochester has realized that the material objects no longer matter, because at the end of the day, he must rely on Jane’s aid. Now, it seems, the relationship will finally be balanced because there is a mutual reliance within the relationship. Before the accident, society (including Jane and Rochester) would have seen their marriage as Jane marrying up in social status. Both Jane and Rochester were aware of the gap between their statuses and it even seemed as if Rochester tried to change Jane to better fit his social group. As seen on page 266, Rochester was buying Jane all new dresses and she was not comfortable with the change. At the end of Volume II (page 292), Jane even began to feel as if she was losing her identity. Unfortunately, it seems as if Rochester’s blindness and reliance on Jane was the only way that the two could be equal. Jane’s social inferiority was less noticeable if she was to aid Rochester day to day. No longer did Rochester look like he was doing the “nice” thing by marrying Jane, but in fact, now society could look at Jane and say that she was doing the “nice” thing by marrying Rochester.

An example of Rochester’s new attitude is on page 435 when he says to Jane, “Jane! you think me, I daresay, an irreligious dog: but my heart swells with gratitude to the beneficent God of this earth just now… His chastisements are mighty; and one smote me which has humbled me for ever. You know I was proud of my strength: but what is it now, when I must give it over to foreign guidance, as a child does its weakness?” (435). In this passage, two things are evident. The first is that Rochester realizes that all of his strength (both physical and in the material sense) and all of his pride no longer matter, because he is dependent on Jane. The second is that Rochester now seems to have a reborn faith in God. Before the accident, Rochester was never described as a religious character, and even he mentions it. After the accident however, he has come to realize that he should be fearful and faithful in the higher power. I found this to be interesting because Jane too, became more religious as the story progressed. What does this say about religion or people who follow it?

In Chapter 38, we learn that both Jane and Rochester, for the past ten years, have paid no attention to what society has said or might say about their marriage. On page 439 Jane writes, “I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth…I know no weariness of my Edward’s society; he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together,” (439). Besides being madly in love with one another, according to Jane at least, we also learn that the couple does not let society get in the way of their love. Although highly cliché, what Jane is basically saying is that love has conquered all. From this final chapter, it seems as though both Jane and Rochester are content and fulfilled with the way their lives turned out. Although their social imbalance no longer matters or even seems to be an issue, it is still interesting to see how it took an accident like Rochester’s to bring them together. Had it not been for Rochester needing to rely on Jane, I am not sure that the two would have ended up together or that the problems of their social imbalance would have been resolved.

To be perfectly honest, I am not sure why Bronte chose to end the novel with a reference to St. John rather than with Jane or Rochester. If anything, I think that it might have to do with personal fulfillment. Each character has to find happiness in his own way, whether it is how they had always pictured it or not. In St. John’s case, he should have been content with spreading the word of God as a missionary.

Pretty Lady said...

After Mr. Rochester's house burns down, he is left blind and dependent on others to live properly. As opposed to his previous freedom and independent lifestyle, Mr. Rochester is not only crippled physically, but also emotionally. Though his controlling and and sensitive character still remains, Mr. Rochester appears to know be inferior to his past character, demonstrating a hint of a lesson learned. Mr. Rochester, however, is not solemn character to have learned from his past experiences; Jane is the one who shows the most change in character.

Because Mr. Rochester's blindness has crippled him physically, Jane and his character can be seen as an equal pair. A blind man in society is seen as a defect, as well as a poor person is looked upon with pity. Rochester's dependence on Jane equalizes there social "defect;" Jane's social inferiority is parallel to Rochester's physical inferiority. Not only is their equality observed by society, but Jane also realizes the sameness in the stature and feels more comfortable in accepting Rochester as her husband. In the final chapter of the novel, volume 3 chapter 38, Jane writes to the reader: "I know no weariness of my Edward's society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together," (Bronte 439) and due to the fact that Jane is a reliable character--she has previously been short-tempered, but the audience has noticed the truth in her actions--Jane's comment on her husband's "society" can be believed. Also, because Rochester and Jane loved each other dearly, and because Jane, the honest character, writes that their marriage is a "perfect concord" the marriage is fulfilling to both characters. Though we never hear Rochester confess his happiness for the marriage as Jane does, we can deduce from previous conversations that Rochester is in fact satisfied with having Jane in his life.

The final chapter in the novel is a reference to St. John to help the reader infer the importance of his character. Although Jane does not end up with her intended husband, St. John, she has learned from him what she was blind to in the past. Jane left Rochester believing that she could find happiness somewhere else. Once she has a relationship with St. John and realizes that she may never find a person who cares for her as much as Rochester--and also for fear of feeling neglected once again--Jane is willing to accept Rochester's past mistakes to be with him. St. John, though a detestable character, helped Jane appreciate Rochester's love and also helped bring Jane closer to God. Instead of a reference to Jane and her husband, St. John is the final mention in the novel to illustrate to the reader that his existence in Jane's life helped her make the decision to be with Rochester; and Rochester's blindness amplified that desire.

In conclusion, the marriage of Rochester to Jane is the perfect "happy ending." Both are blessed in having each to depend on--be it financially or physically. With Rochester slowly gaining his vision back however, the audience can infer that he is gradually gaining back his freedom and independence.

Kristen W. said...

In the novel, “Jane Eyre” Charlotte Bronte creates a character whom puts off the interpretation of a completely changed character. Mr. Rochester is a character that was in completely dominance over an already dominant characteristic of Jane. Eventually, in a fire accident, Rochester becomes blind and helpless. Jane marries him and agrees to take care of whatever needs he may have.

Although Jane may have a sense of dominance over Rochester’s newly handicapped body, she is treated basically just the same as she way before the accident occurred. Rochester says that he “did wrong” (Bronte, 435) he continues to strive off of Jane. They may be a bit more equal, yet socially the male is more dominant than the female. Jane may be more physically powerful at this point, but Rochester is still in control. Rochester makes Jane do whatever he needs done, and Jane faithfully follows the orders. She says that she will be not only his wife, but his “housekeeper” (424). This is the exact opposite of what Jane said that she would never become. She had such a strong personality, yet she is just bowing down to Mr. Rochester’s needs. Although it is for good reasoning, she is still back in the shadow of Rochester and he isn’t doing much to get her out of it. Due to gender roles in that society, the male and the female will never be considered of equal stature.

During chapter 38 we find out that the marriage doesn’t have that emotion that it once had. It seems more of an obligation than a marriage. The first sentence says, “Reader, I am married.” (437) That line signifies just a fact stated. Although they have that connection, it is not established to the reader by Jane. It seems as if guilt may have lead the marriage rather than actual emotion. Jane doesn’t seem happy at all. She is still doing whatever Rochester might want her to do rather than living on her own independently like she has always said that she would. The marriage lies unbalanced as Rochester continues to establish the foundation of the relationship. The values of a realistic marriage do not lie within the marriage of Jane and Rochester. Somehow, even when blind, Rochester still has a lead within the relationship.

The ending really provides evidence for that idea. The end was prepared with an acknowledgement to St. John Rivers. This shows that there may be some sort of regret to where Jane’s life has taken her. In the back of her mind, St. John and how her life could have been, ideas linger. She will always have that curiosity around her. Since the end does not have Jane or Rochester, it signifies a lack of connectivity between the two. Since St. John was ill, there is that emotion toward him inflaming. The bond arises and Jane just cannot seem to get away from it.

Although the characters went through many changed as the book progressed, it wasn’t enough for a change of roles. Jane was still the one doing things for Rochester. Rochester also remained dependent on Jane for support and his needs. Overall, the characters remained and lived off the basic lifestyles that they originally derived from.

Andy V. said...

Jane and Mr. Rochester switch their position in dominancy by the end of the book. Mr. Rochester loses everything in the fire and become a “sightless block.” The traumatizing event causes Mr. Rochester to lose his sight and a hand. His home and his wealth are destroyed in the process. He loses everything with “old John and his wife: he would have none else.” (418) Jane on the other hand gained friends and the money to become independent. In a sense, Jane and Mr. Rochester’s position has switched that allow Jane to have control. However Mr. Rochester still tries to exhibit his control on her to some degree. In the end, the two never reaches equality.

Jane seems to be more in control of her choices in the final chapters of the book. Only a year earlier in the book, she had no where to go and was stuck with Mr. Rochester. Only when she was able to make the difficult choice of leaving him she gains control of her life. Similar to the events in “A Doll’s House,” by Henrik Ibsen, the wife, Nora, gains control in the end by leaving and becoming independent. In that year, she gains a new home, new friends, and money to support herself. Coming back to Mr. Rochester, she has control over her own life as she is finally able to make her own choice about following temptation. When she first comes in, Jane seems to set the rules and show control. When Mr. Rochester asks questions she explains that he “shall not get it out of [her] to-night. (427) Jane also talks about how she met people hundreds of times better than him, showing she has options and is not afraid to move on. She gain some control but Mr. Rochester is still able to manipulate and call her pet names.

Mr. Rochester still exhibit some control over Jane. Mr. Rochester constantly uses pet names like “my sky-lark.” (428) He often refers to her as “my Jane” and “my darling” (428) as if she is completely in his possession. The use of “my” shows that he still believes that he is the superior one in the relationship. His actions as well such as when he “broke out suddenly while clasping me in his arms,” (428) show how he possesses Jane. He does not drop into her arms but rather bring her into his arms. He also grasps her when asking questions. Mr. Rochester “retained [her] by a firmer grasp than ever” (430). When Mr. Rochester uses his arms and hands to hold her down, it gives an image of Jane being tied down and restricted. In his mind he believes Jane is his as he loudly states that “[he] thought [his] little Jane was all [his].”(432) The questions he asks seems like demands for information as well. As he grasps her not giving her a choice to ignore his requests, he states if she would “be pleased just to answer a question or two.” (430) The statement gives an illusion of free choice. Earlier in the conversation, she had the ability to turn down his questions and answer it when Jane wanted to. Mr. Rochester did not give her a chance to escape, even if the question sounds like he is giving her free choice. He barrages her with questions to see where “his Jane” has done while she was away. The way he demands for the answers is almost like a parent demanding answers from a child. Mr. Rochester even manipulates Jane’s actions by causing her to feel pity while trying to be considerate. He beats down on himself saying “’I am not better than the old lightning-struck chestnut-tree in Thornfield orchard.’” (433) Jane feels pity for him and causes her to vow to take care of him.

The relationship between Mr. Rochester and Jane still gives Mr. Rochester control. It is never truly equal. Mr. Rochester uses his pet names and the word “my” to show his possession of Jane. Meanwhile he grasps her and contains her almost like he Jane is truly his. Using manipulation, he is able to make Jane feel pity for him and cause her to watch over him. Jane does not show the resiliently she once showed when she was younger. Jane is calmer and chose to settle down to serve Mr. Rochester. In this sense, the relationship is not equal.

sodaba said...
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sodaba said...

In the final volume of Jane Eyre, Rochester’s house burns down, and he is also left blind. His condition makes him dependent, which switches his role with Jane. In the start of their union, Jane saw herself as the one depending on Rochester, which gave her an uneasy feeling. The fact that Rochester became disabled did not make Jane and Rochester equal. In my opinion Jane became the more dominant one in the relationship, which contrasted from all of the previous relationships she had with the other characters in the book, and even Rochester.

When Jane falls for Rochester, it is obvious that she does not feel she can ever live up to his standards. Not only because she is not as attractive as the other woman, Blanche Ingram, but because she is also in a lower social position than Rochester or Blanche. Rochester acts as if he owns Jane, once they declare their love for each other, by calling her pitiful nicknames like his “lambs” and even showering her with gifts and trying to turn her into a doll-like figure, which makes Jane feel very dependent on him. Later on in the book, Jane inherits money from her uncle. This puts her in a higher social standing. She does not feel inferior to Rochester but equal. Rochester is helpless without Jane and therefore not her equal but her subordinate. Jane no longer feels any doubts about being married to Rochester, because for once in her life she feels that the person will not put her down or disappoint her.

Throughout her life Jane has been seen as an inferior by her contrasting characters, such as Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst. Mrs. Reed saw Jane as only an orphan and never treated her well. Mr. Brocklehurst, similarly, saw all of his students as inferior to him, and saw them as helpless orphans, which led him to be unjust and cruel. Being with people such as Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst, Jane always got the feeling that Rochester would treat her the same when he started to take control of her life, which gave her doubts about their relationship. But in the final chapters of the book, Rochester’s dependence gives Jane a feeling of security, a feeling that she will not be mistreated. Jane finally has someone she does not feel is in a better social situation than her when she marries Rochester, which does help her stay in the relationship with him.

Matt Z! said...

At the conclusion of Jane Eyre, author Charlotte Bronte creates an interesting dynamic between two of the main characters shown through their interactions with each other and their own personal changes due to the events that transpired throughout the book. When Rochester is left blinded due to a house fire, it is his wife Jane who must care for him- effectively changing the balance of dominance and dependence in the relationship.

Throughout the book, it is extremely evident that an almost philosophical juxtaposition is being set up between various types of complementary opposites. Wealthy and poor, dominant and submissive, male and female, dependancy and self-sufficiency. These things are all simultaneously represented in depth with the relationship between Jane and Rochester.

As the relationship between Jane and Rochester progressed, it first became apparent that Jane was far more attached to him than he was to her. The tide of “power” in the relationship ebbed and flowed throughout the course of the novel, and only at the end of it did the relationship, in a sense, equalize in terms of power and dependancy. This is because of Rochester’s tragic loss of sight. Previously, he had supported Jane monetarily and materialistically and therefore was imperative to her ascent into a higher class standing. She did, however, learn to stabilize her own financial situation after this point in time, and by the time Rochester had gone blind she had no longer any dependancy on him for capital. Specifically after Rochester had gone blind, it was Jane who inverted the stereotypical gender roles in the relationship and became the supporter and “man” of the relationship.

I do not believe that the relationship as depicted at the end of the novel represents the highest state of fulfillment that could have been achieved by Jane and Rochester together. This is because in the end of the story, Jane has already established herself as an independent unit and therefore did not depend on Rochester, while he on the other had absolutely depended on her for his safety, mobility, and above all, her sight.

Mels1619 said...

By the end of Jane Eyre, many events came to an end and others begin. Starting from Jane finding close relatives up to Mr. Rochester losing everything he built. Jane’s and Rochester’s relationship has never been truthful, there was always something. But by the end of the story, this foolish relationship came together as one. Ending with the result of Rochester’s blindness and the crippled hand, he has become a more kind man who is in need of others to get himself around. A new personality has grown out of Rochester, making his life worth living.

Due to this incident, it leaves Jane in an advantage. She is now the one with complete power, both economically and physically: “…I cannot be so blest after all my misery…but kiss me before you go…” (Bronte 423). Rochester’s attitude when he realizes that Jane has come back, enlightened him with joy. The roles in this scene have change, Jane’s impression of Rochester when she first saw him, were the impressions Rochester felt once Jane came back. The difference is that unlike Rochester, Jane is more comprehensive and more friendly.

I believe that at this point, Rochester is at the same level of Jane; humble-like. He seems to consider more the people around him and appreciate them for who they are. “Jane! You think me, I daresay, irreligious dog: but my heart swells with gratitude to the beneficent God of this earth just now… His chastisements are mighty; and one smote me which has humbled me for ever. You know I was proud of my strength: but what is it now, when I must give it over to foreign guidance, as a child does it weakness?” (Bronte 435). This is the perfect example to get to know the new personality of Rochester. Rochester realizes that the power that he had before, no longer matter, as well as his pride. He now depends on Jane.

Rochester’s incident was crucial to his relationship with Jane. Jane finally saw a humble man willing to live by love. Rochester realized that status wasn’t everything. In chapter 38, the reader learns that their love has become stronger over the past ten years, and it is due to the little importance that they pay to what society says. This final chapter clarifies the universal issue of others caring what society thinks. Most couples are affected by this issue and both Jane and Rochester demonstrated that at the end what matters is that they are together and happy.

Kayla P said...

Absent on 4-27 so you gave me an extension.

Jane, after an absence from Rochester, finally misses him so much that she returns to him. She finds that Rochester is blind, and seems to be changed, but under the surface, it seems that he is the same man he was before, with a softer edge. He still controls her, she just seems to have become used to it now. By the end of the book, it appears clear that it is impossible they will ever be completely equal or completely happy.

Rochester, ever demanding, finally has an excuse to lean on Jane. His blindness still does not make them equal, though it may appear so at first glance, but rather like the relationship of Jane and Adèle. Jane was superior to her in many ways, but of course, at the end of the day, she was still being paid by Adèle’s guardian, which gave Adèle more power. It was Jane’s job to teach, and provide comfort for her, just as it is her job with Mr. Rochester now. Though she has her sight, which he does not, his comfort lies in her hands, and she is expected to serve him, though her powers may dictate that she is in a higher status than he. On the other hand, no matter Mr. Rochester’s status, he always has Jane serve him. He calls to her with pet names, saying “Oh, you are indeed there, my sky-lark! Come to me.”(428) He calls her a sky lark, which is, of course, a bird. Birds are meant to be free and not caged, yet he ties her to his side by pointing out what is to be pitied about him. He demands that she comes, and never with a please or thank you. He will forever hold himself above her.

In the final chapter, their marriage seems bittersweet. Though Jane can be called happy, she is much more factual than joyful when she recounts her wedding. “Reader, I married him,” she says, with not much more joy than that, (437). Mr. Rochester may be fulfilled, because in the end he has both Jane, and partial vision back. His temporary full blindness led to a closer knit feeling between the two of them, perhaps because without his sight, neither could see the other’s true intentions. When Jane claimed that she was happy, and content, and glad to serve, Rochester was not able to look into her eyes, and see what they really said. He prided himself on being able to do that, and of course, that was one of the first things he told her when they met. Before they marry, he asks her to “overlook his deficiencies” (434). He realizes that she is still able to see, and that her world is not dark like his. But because she cannot see into his eyes, he hopes that she can overlook them, though he doesn’t say so in so many words.

Another way of control Rochester uses is self-deprecation. Almost every word out of his mouth is a way of getting Jane to pity him. “‘My seared vision! My crippled strength!’ he murmured regretfully. I caressed, in order to soothe him.” (433). He artfully controls Jane, because he is aware of her soft heart, which makes her want to care for him until he is well again. The grief and pity he creates for himself keeps Jane busy, and she tells herself that she enjoys it. The relationship differs from the one she would have with St. John in only one way: she can at least pretend she is loved in this one. While she has herself thinking that

Rochester loves her, she did not feel that with St. John because he was honest with her, and only claimed to work for God. Perhaps she closed with the letter from him for this reason. The relationships could have been so similar, with just that one difference. But instead of St. John being the master, and giving the commands, it is he who is receiving them, saying “My Master… has forewarned me. Daily he announces, ‘Surely I come quickly!’”(441). This relationship contrasts that of the one Jane and Rochester have, making it an interesting piece to put at the end of the story.

Though Jane is happy to be with Rochester, they are still never going to be equals. Though she does a good job of acting like she is happy, it will never be fully so.

Michaela I. said...

Although Rochester loses his sight and a hand in the fire at Thornfield, his disability still doesn’t allow equality to exist between him and Jane. The maiming of Rochester serves to give reason for Rochester to be humbled to a point that allows Jane to return and pursue a relationship with him. Although this is the case, Rochester’s humbling is still doesn’t prevent him from holding some sort of dominance over Jane. In fact, his new unassuming nature in itself is a form of dominance because it appeals to Jane’s emotions therefore dominating her thoughts and convincing her to remain with Rochester. Also gender relations are a recurring theme of the novel and ultimately Jane is still a woman and since male dominance and patriarchal home structure is a prevalent system in the novel, no matter how much wealthier Jane is she still is subject to established and inevitable feminine inequity. Although Jane has reached a position of superiority within her relationship with Rochester this position seems superficial because she remains reduced to a role of subservience. She retains her role as Rochester’s servant in the sense that now she must wait on and assist him perhaps even more than she did prior to his accident. Finally the idea of dependence it important to mention as it has now becomes an even more apparent feature of Jane and Rochester’s relationship. Rochester has become almost entirely dependent on Jane so it is natural that one could refute the idea of Jane’s continual subordinate role by arguing that Jane could abandon the needy Rochester, but it is deeper than that. His hold on her emotions appears to overpower any physical dependency. Jane too, in a way, is dependent on Rochester for love and is bound to him by this. It is important to reiterate that Rochester has definitely lost some of his dominance and is humbled by his recent disability, but the loss it not enough to equalize his and Jane’s respective roles.

In the final chapter of the novel the reader learns from Jane and Rochester’s marriage that a specific change of circumstances is needed to allow people to reach full personal fulfillment. Furthermore, both characters, despite whatever sort of dominance disparity there may be, do seem to have reached a point of fulfillment through marriage. This is so because both Jane and Rochester have never truly fit in to society and by being together they have each found security in the fact that they now have a group, namely a family, to fit into. Both desired to express themselves individually while in a relationship and now they can do so.

Charlotte Bronte chooses to end the novel with the letter from St. John which is interesting because the novel is serves as Jane’s personal confessional story, so to end with a piece about St. John deemphasizes her role and directs the reader’s attention to another character. This may employed in order to emphasize that Jane is now complete and content. It gives the reader the idea that Jane is now satisfied and her story is over, she is no longer the focus of the reader’s attention. Also, closing the novel by mentioning St. John allows the reader to see that Jane believes she made the right decision by leaving, not marrying St. John and not accompanying him on his missionary work in India. In the reference to St. John the reader learns that St. John is satisfied with the outcome of his religious duties and therefore indirectly approves the suggestion that Jane and the idea of marriage were necessary to leave behind in order to fulfill God’s mission for St. John. In other words, ending with the reference to St. John shows an alternative to marriage: successful individualism. The reference juxtaposes singular existence and married life, and makes the statement that both paths can end in content and satisfaction.

emily said...

In the remainder of the novel subsequent to Bertha's setting fire to Thornfield, as Rochester is rendered blind and crippled, there is an apparent shift in Rochester and Jane's relationship. However, this shift-despite reinventing each partner's role in the relationship-does not neccassarily put the two characters on an even keel.

Throughout the novel, it is clear that Rochester has control over Jane in nearly every sense; economically, emotionally, and psychologically. He continually attempts to conceal her lower social status by dressing her and supporting her financially so she appears to be of a higher social standing. It appears as though Rochester views Jane as more of a pet project than a love interest; at no point is it really clear that he cares deeply about her as a person.

Jane, on the other hand, seems incredibly fond of Rochester; for example, despite the fact that she hates the clothes Rochester puts her in, she objects very little. She allows him to have control over her because she assumes that letting Rochester treat her however he wants will win his adoration.

By the time of the fire, however, Jane no longer depends on Rochester financially; she has come into money, and could now support herself independently of him. This is the first sign of a power shift in their relationship.

Also, Rochester is physically disabled in the fire, and is no longer wealthy-he even describes himself to Jane as "a poor blind man, whom you will have to lead about by the hand.” (433) Because of this, after their marriage Rochester depends on Jane for everything, in a physical sense; he is unable to do things for himself, and Jane effectively becomes his "eyes."

Superficially, it seems as though the relationship has reversed itself entirely; whereas Jane was completely dependent on Rochester before, he is now equally dependent on her. However, this is a gross oversimplification. Despite the fact that Rochester cannot function without Jane, despite the fact that Jane could easily break free of Rochester financially-she continues to stay with him. Although there is an obvious shift in Rochester's personality-he is clearly less arrogant than before, and thanks God frequently and becomes far more devout-he still holds power over Jane.

Jane retains her dependency on Rochester based on her emotional attachment to him; she gives up the rest of her life and her independence, essentially, for his love and happiness. She, in a literal sense, is the more powerful one in their relationship; however, her inability to hold this power over Rochester-despite his willingness all along to hold his power over her-makes it void and useless. Because Rochester still controls Jane psychologically and emotionally, it makes her financial and physical independence irrelevant.

Although Jane claims to be happy to serve Rochester, it is hard to believe this is so. Once an incredibly independent, smart girl, it seems illogical that Jane is completely fulfilled in a relationship where she lives to serve her husband. It appears as though Rochester does love Jane, and gets everything he needs out of the marriage.

CarlaC said...

In Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte the main character Jane falls in love with a man who is financially sound and about twice her age. Rochester was the first real male figure in her life and acted not only as her lover but her first and only real fatherly role. They are pushed apart because of his inability to treat her as a person with a lot of intelligence, modesty and pride as she is. Instead he chose to treat her as a materialistic woman, who cares more for social status then what matters. Jane leaves Rochester for quite some time and meets another man St. John who is her age and treats her as Rochester did not. When she is on her way to solely visit Rochester she discovers that his hand was amputated and he lost his sight Jane decides to come back to Rochester for good. Rochester went from this dominant and a bit ego driven man to this weaker and completely dependant man. I feel as if this switch in his character is what allows him and Jane to have the equal and ideal relationship that allows them to stay together happily.

Rochester’s amputation of his hand and blindness did change him a lot because he wasn’t able to be the man he once was. The role women have been forced to play is that of the caretaker of children, cooking, and cleaning. For men it has always been to work and provide the food and financial stability for the family to survive. Rochester once was able to fit the role of the stereotypical man, but because of his accident he was able to be the man Jane needed some one who wasn’t dominant and more emotionally caring and understanding. Rochester was always trying to control Jane and manipulate her into doing what it was he wanted. Now their relationship is backwards from what it was and Jane is able to not take advantage of Mr. Rochester but to be on the same level as him.

Rochester and Jane’s marriage has become fully functional under the fact that they both have the same mutual understanding that living with out the other one is just impossible. “I am my husband’s life as he fully is mine. No woman has ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh.” (pg. 439) Jane had prior to there marriage loved Rochester but had never been able to say such words as this until his life had been so drastically altered. His amputation and loss of sight was the best thing that happened to him because it changed his heart and his mind and made Rochester see that the materialistic and pretty things were not important love and family and happiness were what mattered. Jane and Rochester differed greatly before on their views of society and what mattered. Rochester was focused on business and status and Jane was focusing on who she was and what it all meant. Now that what allowed him to be ahead of a lot of other people was gone he was able to live life through the sounds, smells, and sensations of touch. Rochester found this more satisfying and rewarding than anything else. “I know no weariness of my Edwards society: anymore then he knows of mine, ant more than we do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently we are ever together”. (pg. 439) Jane and Rochester are able now to fulfill the needs of one another happily and healthily.

Charlotte Bronte decided to end her novel with the reference to St. John instead of Rochester because she wanted to show that all the doors that we as humans think we have closed in our life will always remain partially open. Although Jane is happily married and on “cloud nine” it does not mean that she can ever forget or lose the feelings that St. John had for her and that she had for him. Just like Mrs. Reed will live on in Jane and has affected who she has become as an adult St. John will always be a part of her. Charlotte Bronte wanted to give her reader a happy ending but also wanted to show that people don’t go riding of into the sunset and live their lives carefree and always in an amazing mood. What makes love valuable and true is its strength to with stand the bad times and the rough roads ahead. Bronte did this to show that Rochester and Jane are not ready to spend the rest of their lives in shear peacefulness and happiness not yet anyways.