Love and Passion
One of the secrets to the success of Jane Eyre, and the source of its strength in spite of numerous flaws, lies in the way that it touches on a number of important themes while telling a compelling story. Indeed, so lively and dramatic is the story that the reader might not be fully conscious of all the thematic strands that weave through this work. Critics have argued about what comprises the main theme of Jane Eyre. There can be little doubt, however, that love and passion together form a major thematic element of the novel.
On its most simple and obvious level, Jane Eyre is a love story. The love between the orphaned and initially impoverished Jane and the wealthy but tormented Rochester is at its heart. The obstacles to the fulfillment of this love provide the main dramatic conflict in the work. However, the novel explores other types of love as well. Helen Burns, for example, exemplifies the selfless love of a friend. We also see some of the consequences of the absence of love, as in the relationship between Jane and Mrs. Reed, in the selfish relations among the Reed children, and in the mocking marriage of Rochester and Bertha. Jane realizes that the absence of love between herself and St. John Rivers would make their marriage a living death, too.
Throughout the work, Bronte suggests that a life that is not lived passionately is not lived fully. Jane undoubtedly is the central...
(The entire section is 1976 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Jane Eyre Themes. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!