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What techniques in Jane Eyre convey the concept of belonging?

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itadra2 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM via web

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What techniques in Jane Eyre convey the concept of belonging?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM (Answer #1)

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One of the principal ways in which belonging as a theme is presented in this powerful work of literature is the way that the relationship between Jane and Rochester develops throughout the novel. A key aspect of Jane's character is that she is always reminded of the way that she does not belong: she is literally excluded from family walks and portraits in Gateshead, shamed and humiliated in Lowood and ridiculed by the guests of Rochester in Gateshead. Even though Rochester shows signs of liking her and wanting to be close to her, this is still based on a relationship of inequality, as he is the master and she is just a governess. However, at the end of the novel, not only has Jane risen in social standing in the world, but at the same time, she seems to have found a home with her true love. Note how the following quote demonstrates this:

I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest--blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband's life as fully is he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. 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. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character--perfect concord is the result.

This "happy ending" indicates very clearly that Jane finally has found somewhere and someone to belong to. The first person narrative that dominates the novel and gives us such a key understanding of Jane's character is undoubtedly crucial to such a progression, as we are able to see Jane's feelings of being isolated and alone and finally her great surpassing happiness when she finds that she belongs somewhere.

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