Describe how the following passage conveys the character of Jane Eyre and relates to the major themes and action of Jane Eyre as a whole:

"What good it would have done me at that time to have been tossed in the storms of an uncertain, struggling life, and to have been taught by rough and bitter experience to long for the calm amidst which I now repined! Yes, just as much good it would do a man tired of sitting still in a "too easy chair" to take a long walk; and just as natural was the wish to stir, under my circumstances, as it would be under his."

The passage conveys that Jane Eyre is a character who thrives on an active life filled with challenges and the chance to be useful. This relates to two major themes of Jane Eyre as a whole. First, that fulfillment, growth, and satisfaction come through struggle and challenge, and second, that women need this kind of active life as much as men do.

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Jane Eyre has these thoughts as she reenters Thornfield after an early evening walk. On this walk to mail a letter, she had encountered a strange man who had been thrown from his horse, sprained his ankle, and needed her help to get back on horseback. Little did she know it was Mr. Rochester, her employer. Her feelings, instead, were aroused by the pleasure in being able to do something useful for an unknown, injured man.

She dislikes returning to Thornfield because she has too little to do there. Being Adele's governess doesn't take up enough of her time, and she has become restless and bored with the quietude of her life. In the passage above, she is saying that she would have benefitted by having some more struggles and challenges—these, the "storms" of life, would have invigorated her and done her "good." She then likens her desire for challenges to a man who has been sitting too long in a comfortable chair, wanting a vigorous walk. She says,

Just as natural was the wish to stir, under my circumstances, as it would be under his.

This tells us that Jane is the type of person who thrives on struggles, excitement, and the fulfillment of being needed. She likes an active life. She is also communicating in this passage, as she does elsewhere, that despite what Victorian society might say about a woman's place being in the home, many women need more stimulation and action than a placid homelife brings.

This ties in with two major themes of the novel. The first is that we grow, mature, and find fulfillment in being challenged and through helping others. For example, though Lowood School is a difficult place to be, the adversities of it help Jane grow stronger and bond her to other people there. Likewise, she now knows she needs some hardship to feel fully alive. Second, the above passage ties in with the feminist theme of the novel: Brontë asserts repeatedly that the active life is not just for men but a deep-seated need for women as well.

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