In Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre, Jane at one point says, "The impulse of gratitude swelled my heart, and I knelt down at the bedside, and offered up thanks where thanks were due." What is the meaning of this passage?
In Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, as Jane prepares for bed during her first evening at Thornfield, where she has recently arrived to begin employment as a governess, she comments,
The impulse of gratitude swelled my heart, and I knelt down at the bedside, and offered up thanks where thanks were due; not forgetting, ere I rose, to implore aid on my further path, and the power of meriting the kindness which seemed so frankly offered me before it was earned.
In other words, Jane kneels to pray and give thanks to God, probably for a variety of reasons:
- She is grateful to be employed.
- She is thankful to be employed at Thornfield.
- She is grateful to have arrived there safely.
- She is thankful for the warm greeting she has already received.
- She is grateful for the chance to rest, at last, in such a comfortable bed.
Furthermore, she asks God for future help. In particular, she hopes that she will prove worthy of the kind treatment she has already received – kindness she had received even before she had done anything to be worthy of it.