Jane Eyre4

a character analysis

Becoming a memorable hero in literature is not an easy thing. Your life is
exposed to the public eye, critics scorn your motives, and, far crueler, AP English
teachers force their students to write a character analysis about every aspect of your
being. However, once in a blue moon, a hero springs up that, strangely enough, is
interesting enough that certain ambitious students find him or her so intriguing that
they type a three thousand word essay praising or denouncing the story.
Jane Eyre is not that kind of hero. Anyone who can write on the subject for more
than two hours leads a very dull life. The book is four hundred pages long and full of
long-winded details by the fore-mentioned individual. The title character in Charlotte
Bronte\'s Jane Eyre does have her high qualities, though. She is virtuous, independent,
assertive, and does not accept defeat. These attributes alone, however, are not what
makes this women admirable. It is the fact that Jane succeeds in life despite her lack of
social standing, family, independent wealth, or beauty that makes her a hero of modern
The idea that a women could dare to attempt controlling her destiny is hardly a
new idea. The Bible (written thousands of years before Jane Eyre) is full of examples of
assertive women unwilling to let the incompetent men around them ruin their lives. A
famous example derives from the story of Tamar and Judah. When Tamar allegedly
sinned with an unknowing Judah, he realized "she did it because I did not give her to
my son Shelah." (Genesis, 38:26). A few thousand years later, Sophocle\'s wrote about
the tragic tale of Antigone, the princess of Thebes, who stood up against her wicked
uncle Creon to do what she thought was right. William Shakespeare filled his plays
with brave women willing to die to follow their hearts (does Juliet spring to mind?) But
all of these women could afford to martyr themselves for their beliefs and causes. They
had the royal or prestigious blood, great beauty, and, sometimes, money that allowed
great crisis to encircle their lives and gave many people interest in the doings. They
were beyond wrong, and were forever immortalized in the works of great writers.
Jane Eyre had none of this. She had no great social standing or prestigious,
admired family. "I asked Aunt Reed once (about family), and she said that might have
some poor, low relations called Eyre, but she knew nothing about them." (Bronte, pg.
17) What\'s more, Jane had no independent wealth to fall back on should she make a
mistake in her endeavors. "My purse, containing twenty shillings (it was all I had), I
put in my pocket." (Bronte, pg. 304) The only abundance she had was that of her mind
and her drawing talent. All other forms of riches were not hers to hold.
"You are not anymore pretty than I am handsome," Mr. Rochester tells Jane.
And it was true. Even Jane described her self as small and plain. Had she possessed
comeliness and wished to use it at the low points of her life, she would have been selling
herself as the infamous Celine Varens did, living off the money of her "favorites."
It is because Jane doesn\'t use anything to reach her goals that strikes the logical
twentieth century. Jane achieves her dreams by simply being Jane, a lowly, little, plain
governess who must work to support herself. Everyone in Bronte\'s book who had good
standing, money, beauty, or high family usually found themselves losing in the end while
Jane, in her humble life, succeeds. Perhaps Charlotte Bronte wants the reader to believe
that maybe, maybe the meek do inherit the earth.