In Jane Eyre, do you consider that the marriage of Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester provides a satisfactory resolution of the moral and social conflicts explored in the novel?

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

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This is an absolutely fascinating question to consider. We are led to believe that the conflict that Jane has faced throughout the entire novel as she seeks to strike a balance between the extremes of reason and logical thought and passion and sentiment is resolved at the end of her story with the arrival of her wealth and with the physical maiming of Rochester. However, let us remember that the excesses of the two states of Jane's character are expressed in the form of other characters. St. John Rivers and Helen Burns symbolise characters who live their lives governed by reason, and we can see that both lead very limited lives as a result of their inability to empathise and experience emotion and sentiment. The excess of passion and sentiment are displayed through the characters of Rochester and Bertha Mason, and it is very interesting the way that, when at Thornfield, Jane's moments of despair and rage at her lot in life as a dependent woman who must work for survival are echoed eerily by laughter from Bertha Mason. This points towards a rage or passion that is barely contained in Jane Eyre herself. We are meant to believe that she has managed to attain a state of creative tension between these two extremes at the end of the story, and that her marriage to Rochester combined with her own increased expectations have given her a position in society and a home that she never had. However, the extent to which this represents a successful resolution depends on the extent to which we as readers feel that such extremes of emotion can be effectively "tamed" in the way that Rochester is presented as being "tamed." It is also interesting to note the way in which the story ends by refering to St. John Rivers and Jane's admiration for him. Perhaps the resolution does not necessarily present us with the end of the conflict after all.

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