Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Analysis

Some scenes in a novel jump out as being essential or consequential to the plot, while others are seemingly insignificant. Every single instance in a novel is riddled with symbolism and meaning that makes it indispensable to the story. For example, in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Jane gathering her possessions at Thornfield as she prepares to leave Mr. Rochester appears to be an effect of the consequential scene: Rochester trying to commit bigamy causing Jane to leave him.When originally reading the novel, the scene’s details are looked over in favor of larger implications. The true meaning lies in what Jane chooses to bring with her, and how she leaves Thornfield represents many themes of the novel. The moment of Jane gathering her true belongings and leaving Adele Varens and Mrs. Fairfax reveals how by retaining her autonomy she was able to abandon Thornfield and find equality inside of her relationship with Edward Rochester. 

One of the most important themes in the novel is Jane’s desire to stay true to herself. She did not conform to anyone’s expectations or rules. From her defiance of Mrs. Reed to her relationship with Rochester, Jane did not let worldly expectations rule her life. Mr. Rochester, himself, was not immune from Jane’s defiance especially when he would try to change her. After his marriage proposal, Rochester decided to spoil Jane with gifts. His motives for doing so could have been completely innocent like a doting fiance or he could have been trying to compensate for his and Jane’s class differences. Even if Mr. Rochester had good intentions, Jane clearly did not want to accept his gifts. Her reluctance to keep and disdain for the gifts are illustrated when Jane “encountered the beads of a pearl necklace Mr. Rochester had forced [her] to accept” (Bronte, 487). The emotionally charged scene clarifies that Jane sees the pearls as something that is not hers to own, but rather Mr. Rochester’s property. It could symbolize Jane leaving behind anything that has connections to Rochester after his betrayal. It also highlights the difference in values between Rochester and Jane. While Jane has a high moral code, Mr. Rochester has proven that he does not see morality the same way. He has lied to Jane while dressing as a gypsy and the whole basis of their relationship was built of him lying to her about his first marriage to Bertha. 

Before leaving Thornfield, Jane thinks about three people in particular to say goodbye to. The first of which is “kind, Mrs. Fairfax” (Bronte, 487). The second is “[her] darling Adele” (Bronte, 487). Both of these people play an important role in Jane’s life. It was their kindness, acceptance, and relationships with Jane that made her feel at home in Thornfield. Mrs. Fairfax represents the motherly figure and friend that Jane has been missing in her life. Her own mother had died, Mrs. Reed, her aunt,  acted more as a warden in an asylum, and Mrs. Temple, her teacher, left Jane to teach at Lowood school alone after she married and had better opportunities. Mrs. Fairfax greeting Jane at a new chapter in her life and giving her advice fills a reopening void in Jane’s life. She finally has a stable positive mentor and friend. Oppositely, Jane became a role model for Adele who could truly understand her. While Mrs. Fairfax was kind to Adele, she did not speak French; therefore, she could not connect to the child as well as Jane could. This makes leaving Thornfield even more troubling than it was due to Mr. Rochester. Jane is leaving the one place she felt comfortable and safe, while also abandoning her only friends in the world. The third person Jane thinks about before leaving Thornfield is predictably Edward Rochester. Even though she found solace in Adele and Mrs. Fairfax, Mr. Rochester was the only person to give her “a heaven” (Bronte, 487). Jane comparing staying with Rochster to heaven expresses how secure she felt before his betrayal. Making her leave even more significant to their relationship. 

Another reason this moment is relevant is because it demonstrates the inequality and issues with Rochesters and Jane’s relationship. First of all Jane calls herself a “visionary bride” (Bronte, 487). The term refers to someone who knows exactly what they want down to the smallest detail, but has not considered what is practical or realistic. Throughout her relationship with Mr. Rochester, Jane has ignored or pushed aside the realities of his personality and secrets. All of their issues came in full force which caused her perfect relationship to “melt in air” (Bronte, 487). Jane represented a classic problem in literature for many romance stories: love being blind. In this scene, one can tell Jane has taken her blinders off and can see her relationship for what it is: “a temporary heaven” (Bronte, 487). It can and will not last forever if they stay on the same path. Every single circumstance was going against the relationship. First, his first wife Bertha Mason being alive. Second Jane’s poverty and her station as his employee. Most importantly, their inability to see each other as equal. Jane consistently still sees Mr. Rochester as a master and he sees Jane as someone he can fix. Her realizing all their faults caused their marriage to fail foreshadows the only way they will end up together. The solution being Mr. Rochester relying on Jane to survive equally as much as she counted on him at Thornfield. They finally become equals at the end of the novel when the only important thing is their love for each other. 

The instance of Jane gathering her few possessions and leaving Adele and Mrs. Fairfax displays how by retaining her autonomy she was able to depart from Thornfield and find equality inside her relationship with Edward Rochester. The themes in Jane Eyre give an overall message to be strong in one’s convictions which is demonstrated by Jane leaving Thornfield. Even though the scene is short it is still loaded with messages that still ring true today.