How does Bronte’s characterisation of Jane Eyre prepare the reader for her momentous decision in chapter 27
Jane’s decision to decline Rochester’s proposal to go away and live as brother and sister is momentous as she is shown to be so in love with him and wants to be with him. However because of the existence of Mr Rochester’s wife everything has changed. Her final decision is one that shows Jane’s true character which the reader has seen developing throughout the book. Jane is shown as strong willed and knows where she stands throughout the novel. When she has to make a decision the fact she is very strong shows the reader that even though it was a hard decision to make it was not surprising that Jane made it.
This is because the reader has learnt so much about Jane’s character and the way she handles different situations throughout her experiences at Gateshead, Lowood and Thornfield. Bronte portrays the events leading up to the outcome of the marriage in a similar way as we know something is going to go wrong in the marriage because of events such as Rochester being very rushed and seeming different towards Jane. When Mr. Rochester proposed to Jane, the departing of the two was strongly foreshadowed when “[the tree] had been struck by lighting… alf of it split away” (Ch. 23).
It shows how the two will fall apart like the tree. Following this description, the truth of Mrs. Rochester was later revealed and Jane forced herself to leave Mr. Rochester. There are also subtle clues like the veil being torn apart. Just as Bronte prepares us for this, she similarly prepares us for Jane’s decision. Throughout Jane’s life her character is portrayed in many different ways although it changes slightly as she grows up she still retains the main characteristics just these develop as she matures.
When Jane starts at Gateshead she is just a young girl trying to find her way in life. Bronte portrays Jane as a strong girl who stands up for herself and makes her own decisions on what she believes to be right or wrong. This is shown at Gateshead when Jane is put in the red room for striking John Reed. Jane has stood up for herself as she feels that John is ‘like a slave-driver’ (Ch. 1) because he does not treat her well and he tells her that she ‘ought to beg, and not live here with gentlemen’s children’ (Ch. 1).
She stands up for herself by striking him for what he has said. This situation relates to Chapter Twenty-Seven as she is standing up for what she feels is right, ‘Mr Rochester, I will not be yours. ‘ He wants them to go away but she knows this is not the right thing to do ‘I must leave you… I must leave Adele and Thornfield… I must begin a new existence. ‘ and stands by her decision. ‘No; you shall tear yourself away, none shall help you:’ (Ch. 27) she tells herself this and it shows she is looking after herself and making her own decision without help.
Jane Eyre goes through much suffering during the novel which prepares her and us for the fact something is going to go wrong with the wedding. ‘her prospects were desolate’ (Ch. 27). This means she is not as surprised with the outcome and finds it easier to make the decision to walk away from Thornfield as she has had misery before in her life and been prepared to expect and cope with unhappy experiences through her previous experiences. For example when she was at Lowood the one friend Jane had come across (Helen Burns) died and with that she ‘was no longer the same’ (Ch. 10).
The reader can accept that Jane can cope with the misery of not being with Rochester in the same way she has coped with Helens death. Jane has high moral standards and this has a huge influence on her momentous decision. This is because she believes it is immoral to be with Rochester while he still has a wife. ‘Sir, your wife is living: … I should then be your mistress: to say otherwise is sophistical – is false. ‘(Ch. 27) She knows that must not happen and wants to leave but it takes a lot of courage for her to accept that her morals are what she must go by in life.
Jane did the right thing in regards to marrying Mr. Rochester because “what is [considered] morally wrong cannot be psychologically right. ” In other words, Jane’s moral values told her what Mr. Rochester had done wrong, because of this she cannot “psychologically” go along with it as if nothing had happened between them and Bertha. The religious beliefs of Jane Eyre are a main aspect in her significant decision. To be with Mr Rochester while he is still married goes against her Christian belief. ‘One idea only still throbbed lifelike within me – a remembrance of God’ (Ch. 26). This quote reminds us that Jane does not want to sin.
During Jane’s time at Lowood Helen teaches her many things about God and the bible, this helps us understand that God is always in the back of Jane’s mind and that it is to be understood that Jane must not marry Mr Rochester and go against what God has said. ‘Do as I do: Trust in God and yourself. ‘ Because of her trust and confidence in God she pushes herself to do the right thing. Jane’s independent mind and self confidence play an important part in the decision made in chapter 27 to leave. By having a relationship with Rochester who is already married she felt she would lose her self-respect as well as her self-confidence.
Jane knows that he ‘will forget me before I forget you’. Although Jane was not independent in the sense of money ever since she was young she wanted was shown as trying to be independent in her own right. When she has to choose to leave Thornfield her independent thinking persuades her that if she leaves she will be looking after herself and making her own decisions. ‘I was not afraid… I felt an inward power’ Jane has the willpower to leave Mr Rochester and Thornfield and she knows she can be at peace on her own. Jane is a very forgiving woman.
When she was a young girl I could not say the same, however she grew and learnt to forgive but not forget ‘I should have been glad to love you if you had let me’ (Ch. 21). When she visits Mrs Reed when she is dying she forgives her for all the misfortunes. So when Mr Rochester’s wife is found out it is not surprising that she ‘forgives him on the spot’ (Ch. 27). However her forgiving nature does not let her forget what is happening and she cannot live as a mistress. She loves Rochester and although she can forgive him for his actions all the other aspects of her character get in the way and overrule the decision.
It is clear that Jane matured and grew from a frail young girl to an experienced adult. The obstacles she encountered during her stay at Gateshead, Lowood and Thornfield made her stronger both physically and emotionally. They all helped her when making the momentous decision. This also helped the audience understand and be fully prepared for what lay ahead in chapter 27 and the momentous decision that Jane was going to make, without being surprised. Charlotte Bronte used many different characteristics in Jane Eyre which influenced the decisions and actions of the portrayed character Jane.
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