Homework Help

In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, identify one or two quotes from the themes...

user profile pic

zawadzkatime | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM via web

dislike 1 like

In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, identify one or two quotes from the themes listed.

Rebellion vs Conformity, Duty vs Inclination, Reason vs Feeling, Earth vs Heaven, Nature vs Society

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 16, 2012 at 9:41 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, a quotation that reflects the theme of rebellion vs. conformity can be found in Chapter Fifteen. Edward is trying to come to terms with whether to defy society and marry Jane (even though he is already married) or continue on as he has been, hating Thornfield and his very existence—shackled by marriage to a madwoman.

Jane and Edward are in the garden as Edward comes to a decision: he will turn his back on his deranged first wife (Bertha Mason, kept by Grace Poole in the tower), and marry the young and lovely Jane—striking out for what he sees as his only chance at happiness.

…but another feeling rose and triumphed: something hard and cynical; self-willed and resolute; it settled his passion and petrified his countenance: he went on: “During the moment I was silent. Miss Eyre, I was arranging a point with my destiny. She stood there, by that beech trunk—a hag like one of those who appeared to Macbeth on the heath of Forres. “You like Thornfield?” she said, lifting her finger; and then she wrote in the air a memento, which ran in lurid hieroglyphics all along the house-front, between the upper and lower row of windows “Like it if you can!”

“‘I will like it,’ said I. ‘I dare like it;’ and” (he subjoined moodily) “I will keep my word: I will break obstacles to happiness, to goodness—yes, goodness; I wish to be a better man than I have been; than I am—as Job's leviathan broke the spear, the dart, and the habergeon, hindrances which others count as iron and brass, I will esteem but straw and rotten wood.”

Destiny, he notes, comes to him like the witches in Macbeth (Shakespeare's play)—with dark intent. Bronte's allusion is certainly intentional and impressive; but Rochester disregards the association of the "hags" he speaks of—they bring about Macbeth's doom.

A quote regarding earth vs. heaven is found in Chapter Thirty-Four.

“Jane, I excuse you for the present: two months’ grace I allow you for the full enjoyment of your new position, and for pleasing yourself with this late found charm of relationship but then, I hope you will begin to look beyond Moor House and Morton, and sisterly society, and the selfish calm and sensual comfort of civilized affluence. I hope your energies will then once more trouble you with their strength.”

I looked at him with surprise.

“St. John,” I said, “I think you are almost wicked to talk so. I am disposed to be as content as a queen, and you try to stir me up to restlessness. To what end?”

“To the end of turning to profit the talents which God has committed to your keeping; and of which he will surely one day demand a strict account. Jane, I shall watch you closely and anxiously—I warn you of that. And try to restrain the disproportionate fervor with which you throw yourself into commonplace home pleasures. Don't cling so tenaciously to ties of the flesh; save your constancy and ardor for an adequate cause; forbear to waste them on trite, transient objects.

St. John's unwavering focus is on heaven. He has no room in his heart or mind to consider anything of the earth to have value; all that matters is preparing oneself for heaven. He criticizes Jane as she grows excited to prepare Moor House to welcome home Diana and Mary. St. John's religious views are too rigid for Jane—a woman with a caring heart and fine sensibilities who St. John wrongs in his assessment of her Christian character. 

 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes