Jane sums herself up as, “a governess, disconnected, poor and plain. ” To what extent do you agree with her and in what ways is she much more than this? I believe this statement is untrue. Jane was a lot more than who she said she was. She started out as a reserved, isolated and lost child at Gateshead, but gradually achieved a lot more in life. She gained confidence, independence and happiness, and developed the capacity to love. Jane Eyre became an orphan at a very early age. She came to live with an Aunt and her children, who were disrespectful towards her, leading to her growing up in a hostile and restrictive environment.
They incessantly undermined her self-esteem, forcing Jane to live her life in poverty, “… poverty for me was synonymous with degradation. “(p. 19) As Jane grew up, with the Reed family perceiving her as an outcast, mean and a dependent, she gradually believed this was to be the truth, “I was a precocious actress in her eyes; she sincerely looked on me as a compound of virulent passions, mean spirit, and dangerous duplicity. “(P. 12) Her progression was inhibited, as the Reed family were aware and jealous of her potential and abilities.
Her cold and dark little figure with “arms specking the gloom,”(P. 8/9) and “glittering eyes of fear,”(P. 9) reveal her intimidation, passivity and timid approach to everything. Mrs Reed and her family leave her mentally and emotionally bruised. John was one of the main instigators and although he intimidated Jane, she kept headstrong and never let it show. “He ran headlong at me: I felt him grasp my hair and my shoulder. “(P. 5) This shows how vicious John was but also shows how Jane persisted through the pain.
She found it very hard to respect the family, but Miss Abbot constantly reminded her, “… ou ought not to think yourself on an equality with the Misses and Master Reed… try to make yourself agreeable to them. “(P. 7) Jane couldn’t do this as she said, “… they did not love me, in fact… little did I love them,”(P. 10) meaning her compassion for the Reeds had been killed by their own doing. All Jane really wanted was a family or virtually any one person to love for her, care for her; but Mrs Reed showed no desire to do this. Mrs Reed explained that Jane had an uncle, but he was “a sneaking wine merchant, quite despicable.
Jane therefore believed she was better off without having any contact with him, which was quite the opposite, as her life could have been a lot more pleasant. Jane was very innocent and pure, and although her emotions were often stirred, she had a strong conscience. When she moved to Lowood, she was soon appointed the profession as a governess. This probably happened so soon as she had been forced into adulthood from an early age and became very intelligent, “I soon possessed myself with a volume. “(P. 1) Although she received a lot of bullying from Mr Brocklehurst, the head of Lowood, it didn’t obstruct her from reaching this profession.
The job itself wasn’t much, but it proved Jane had potential to go further in life. When Jane lived with the Reed family, she was disapproved of, for her plainness. Nobody actually said she was ugly, yet she was never complimented about her rather strange looks. Bessie commented, “(she was) no beauty as a child,”(P. 92) whilst Abbot said, “if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that. “(P. 21) This was not suited to work with a child like the mind of Jane’s who had no self-confidence.
However, Jane soon rid herself of her disconnected and plain image. The first signs of this were when she first met the Rivers sisters, “She has a peculiar face… I rather like it. “(P. 358) and Rochester, who sees her as “not naturally austere… (her) looks and movements will have more vivacity and variety than they dare offer now. “(P. 143) She felt confident in the company of Rochester and she felt good about herself, which didn’t happen too often, when he said encouraging and pleasant comments, “Jane, you look blooming, and smiling, and pretty. (P. 271) In a way, she felt she had power over their conversation. She seeks love in Rochester and it means more to her than life itself, “If others don’t love me then I would rather die than live. ”
She had the same effect on Rochester and it seemed different and somewhat absurd to be wanted, as she had never experienced being loved before. Jane liked to be referred to as Quakerish governess by Rochester, rather than being made out to be someone who she was not, “Don’t address me as if I were a beauty; I am your plain, Quakerish governess. “(P. 72) She didn’t like to be flattered because it sounded unnatural and seemed ironical for her to be addressed in this manner. Jane was hurt by Rochester due to the presence of Miss Blanche Ingram, who was a trigger.
People like her, who thought highly of themselves, found Jane inferior and had a low opinion of her, “She looks too stupid for any game of the sort. “(P. 189) Jane was a lot more than this and Miss Ingram herself was not a bit original, “she was not original; she used to repeat sounding phrases from books; she never offered, nor had, an opinion of her own. “(P. 92) At the time Jane said she was, “a governess, disconnected, poor and plain,”(P. 166)
She had drawn a portrait of Blanche Ingram and then herself, compared the two pictures and had written under hers, the quote which she thought resulted her appearance to everyone else, as she obviously thought Blanche had so much more potential, beauty and wealth than her. Jane coincidently turned up at a house, owned by relations of hers, Saint John, Diana and Mary proving her statement was false as she had quite connections including her uncle John Reed who had left her his money when he died.
She was extremely genuine, thoughtful and generous when she split the money with the Rivers family. She was now a rich lady rather than poor, which she had stated in her quote. Saint John grew to have love and affection for Jane, but she knows it would be very wrong to marry him, as their love was not romantic. She understood this as he “has no more of a husband’s heart for (her) than that frowning giant of a rock. “(P. 429) Their love was more shallow and unreal compared to hers and Rochester’s, where they bonded more.
Jane’s true love for Rochester is proven when she finds out about the fire at Thornfield, “I am strangely glad to get back again to you: wherever you are is my home-my only home. “(P. 258) When she learnt about Rochester’s disabilities, he became blind and a cripple, she feels it is vital to be there with him so he could be comforted and encouraged, “A loving eye is all the charm needed. “(P. 257) Her feelings of a stronger love for Rochester came about and they decided to get married. In conclusion, I believe the statement is very untrue.
Jane portrays of herself in such a way to show her self-esteem was not too good at the time and is proven throughout the book how her character had grown so much from being plain, to being a person who was so much and had so much. She was a passionate young lady with many talents in profusion and who attained a lot more confidence and independence. After all the obstacles she had met, “Mr Edward and (her), then, are happy. “(P. 480) She turned herself around from being a disconnected, poor and plain young girl, to a connected, wealthy and beautiful young lady.