That’s why I don’t want to be Jane Eyre


A couple of days ago I saw a headline on Il Corriere della Sera , which caught my attention: Perchè tutte (o quasi) vorremmo essere Jane Eyre di Charlotte Bronte” ( That’s why all of us (or almost all) would like to be Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte). It was a kind of  interesting, because, actually Jane Eyre has never been one of my favourite heroines, and certainly not one I naturally identify with,  maybe Angela Frenda, the journalist who wrote the article, had new fresh hints to offer.

Jane Eyre belongs to category of the Bildungsroman, if fact we see her moral, psychological, and intellectual development from her early youth to a more mature age. Jane is an orphan left in the care of a cruel aunt, who gets rid of her very soon and sends her to a horrible school for girls, Lowood, to become a governess. After many years of troubles and hard work, she finishes her education and is employed at Thornfield, a name which can’t certainly be considered good omen.

images2VG97WDJThe owner of the house is Edward Rochester, a sort of Byronic hero, a mysterious, seductive, arrogant, passionate, handsome man who eventually falls in love with our plain Jane and proposes her marriage. He just forgot to mention that he was already married. It happens. His wife Bertha had gone mad shortly after the marriage, and lived in secret part of the house in the custody of a lady. Every now and then, she managed to escape the surveillance and she walked in night – veeeery Gothic indeed – spying the inhabitants of the house or trying to set  Mr Rochester’ s room  on fire, which she did. Shocked and humbled, Jane runs away penniless and is helped by a family, the Rivers, who eventually she discovers to be her cousins, and inherits a small fortune from an uncle. One night she has the impression of hearing Mr Rochester’s voice calling for her. She returns to Thornfield and finds the house burned down – it was Bertha’s doing – and Rochester blind and lame. He still loves her and now she accepts to marry him.

pictures-of-cinderella-8312Certainly our heroine doesn’t  belong to the typical prototype of Cinderella, that is I am beautiful and virtuous, therefore I deserve a prince and an easy life.  But, according to Angela Frenda : “Jane is a girl who has used no shortcuts, many of us see in her a metaphor of how life should be lived (by women, above all)”. Jane, in fact, is the kind of woman who obstinately and strenuously fights alone to reach her goal in a hostile, sometimes cruel world. Yet she accepts no compromises, she doesn’t want to use the charms and tricks, typical of the female world, but just hard work, sensibility, love and above all dignity. When Jane finds our about Mr Rochester’s wife, for example, she refuses to become his lover and leaves Thornfield without accepting any help from him.

imagesHVLYHC6UOk, I’m convinced: she is a saint, an example for us all, a metaphor, whatever, but there is one point I am firm: what is the reward for such immaculate perfection in the end? Mr Rochester? Love at last? Bah! We should remember that when Jane Eyre makes her homecoming at Thornfield, she is an independent, strong woman ( Charlotte Bronte had endowed her with a small fortune) while Mr Rochester is a weak man emotionally and physically shattered . She will have to nurse him for the rest of her life! If this is the reward, I’m sorry, but I’d rather be Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Even Bridget Jones would be ok.


135 thoughts on “That’s why I don’t want to be Jane Eyre

  1. I have thought about a lot of things while reading this article. First I think respect is key, so I find it right that she didn’t want to be his mistress. I also find it right that she went away alone and without any help to start over and live only thanks to her strength. She has had a difficult life and I like the fact that she has managed to inherit a small part, so that she can be rewarded for her efforts. At the end of the story, however, she returns to him who is not in good health and will have to take care of him. And therefore: do you choose who to love? I think not and pride often needs to be put away if love is too great. At the end of the story she could marry anyone and not him, sick and to be cared for. But I think no one would ever be able to take his place. I believe that the gaps that you have inside are like puzzles and that only the missing piece can exactly fill that gap. He was her missing piece and no one else could be.

  2. She were a beautifull woman for her epoch and honestly it doesn’t inspire me to live as she does but I don’t really. I’m a different kind of man.

  3. I think if I were a girl, I would agree with Angela Frenda. I’ve always been passionate about this kind of stories. In my opinion Jane has a strong personality and she’s so brave to CHOOSE what she had to do in her life. This looks obvious nowadays, but at that time, it wasn’t. Jane is an example for all the women, and I would have liked to be like her, I think.

  4. I do agree with what you told us in class, Jane Eyre rapresent the first femininst icon. Even though it is a very important title, I wouldn’t like to be in her shoes. All though in her life she had some misfortunes, her salvation is herself because she is pure morally. She even got lucky some times like when she met he cousins and inherited some money from her uncle. This episode in fact rapresent a turning point, from a poor woman to a rich indipendent woman.

  5. I think all the people of this world would like to have her dignity, her determination, her strength, but not her life! We would like to be like her because she never submits and because even though she loves Mr. Rochester, she loves herself more. She always keeps her head up which, especially when you’re madly in love, is the hardest thing to do.
    But in the end she gives in, chooses to return to Thornfield because her love for Rochester was too strong, and ends up acting as a “nurse” to the poor maimed and blind Rochester.
    So yes, we can say that we all want to have her characteristics, but let’s face it, nobody wants to reach them and get them if what awaits them is a cruel life full of pitfalls.

  6. I admire jane who, thanks to her strength and her determination, can choose what she should do with her life. It seems almost obvious, to date, all this, but for the time she lived in it is not like that at all. This post makes both men and women think as was the conception of women at the time.
    Jane should be an example for all women in the world.

  7. I personally think jane is a strong woman who has earned the freedom to choose for herself during her life. jane after a series of unfortunate events that did not depend on her decides to be with a man she will have to take care of him for the rest of her life. is yet another example that shows us that jane is a woman to be admired. personally if i were a woman i would like to look like jane

  8. I agree with you ,Jane reaches his intelligence, independence through a hard path and that’s why Jane is trying to keep his dignity that she gained over time. If I were a girI, i wouldn’t like to be Jane Eyre knowing her hard life. I believe that everyone would like to achieve his dignity, independence but on another path.

  9. I think that Jane was one of the example of good person on the past, she was independent, she was brave, she was like a fighter, and all of these were amazing features (characteristic) for a woman of that period… which made me think she was one of the best character we have found in our literature, and also because she have had all kind of misfortune in her life and even though she pass all of them

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