About Jane Eyre (The Book)
Jane Eyre was an instant popular and critical success when it was first published in 1847. A famous Victorian literary critic, George Lewes, called it “the best novel of the season.” However, it was also met with criticism. Elizabeth Rigby called Jane a “personification of an unregenerate and undisciplined spirit” and the novel as a whole “anti-Christian” in a famous attack in the Quarterly Review in December 1848.
Rigby’s critique may account for some of the novel’s enduring popularity: the novel’s rebellious tone. Most of society’s major institutions, including education, family, social class, and Christianity, are called into question in Jane Eyre. The novel prompts the reader to consider a number of current social and political issues: What is the role of women in society, what is the relationship between Britain and its colonies, how important is an artistic endeavor in human life, how do dreams and fantasy relate to reality, and what is the foundation of an effective marriage? Although the novel raises all of these questions, it does not provide a didactic answer to any of them.
Readers can create their own answers based on their own unique and personal interpretations of the book. Jane Eyre’s multidimensionality makes it a novel that rewards multiple readings.
Jane in Jane Eyre
Bronte describes Jane as a strong-willed, passionate, and outspoken young girl from the novel’s start. Jane is a vocal opponent of the cruel treatment of her cousin, John, and her aunt, Mrs. Reed. As a result of having to endure her punishments alone, Jane becomes isolated and alienated in the house. When Jane transfers to Lowood School, her life appears similar, as she is subjected to horrifying taunts and punishments from Mr. Brocklehurst. Jane, on the other hand, finds true friendship and love at Lowood. Jane appears to be very loyal and kind to Helen Burns, her best friend, in this scene. When Helen dies, Jane is left broken and devastated.
As the novel progresses, the reader sees Jane mature into an adult. Jane is always described as plain, and she does not consider herself to be beautiful. Nonetheless, she falls in love with Rochester, and Rochester eventually confesses his feelings for Jane. They intend to marry, but their plans are derailed when it is discovered that Rochester already has a wife. Jane suffers more heartbreak and vows to leave Thornfield because she cannot give up her integrity and principles to live with a man she loves but cannot marry. She flees, giving up her chance at happiness.
Jane finds herself homeless and seeks refuge at the Rivers’ home. When it is revealed that they are Jane’s cousins, she shares her recently inherited fortune, ensuring their happiness. Jane finds happiness at the end of the novel when she marries Rochester as a self-assured, independent young woman.
Moral and Emotional Development of Jane
Charlotte Bronte’s character Jane in Jane Eyre is forced to confront herself throughout her life. She struggles to balance her desire for self-sufficiency with her desire for emotional honesty. Jane goes through a moral and emotional transformation from her childhood struggles in Gateshead to her final contentment with Mr. Rochester. Jane’s ability to rule her heart with her will is one of the most important lessons she learns throughout her life. Every adversity and experience Jane has in her life shape her into the person she is at the end of the novel.
Throughout her childhood, Jane was abused physically and emotionally. She learned to be obedient no matter what. Regardless of her mental state, she should follow the rules, which was a major issue in prioritizing her feelings and emotions. Eventually, when Jane left Gateshead, she learned how to stand up for herself and her morals. She stood up for her abusers, and she was strong enough to confront who did her harm.
Once at Lowood, Jane learned how to be more articulate with her morals; she learns to have more developed values that do not depend on punishment. As her character develops, she gets more well-spoken and resilient. She learns how to adapt to social norms and survive in her given circumstances.
As she goes back to Rochester, Jane is finally at peace with what was bestowed upon her. She gets her closure as she learns her deep principles and gets in touch with what she truly wants.
Jane Myers Briggs Personality Type
Most of the time, Jane is seen as an INFJ, but other times she is an INFP. Jane has the following functions:
Fi: Introverted Feeling
Introverted people are often acutely aware of their own emotions. In contrast to Fe, which gathers feelings from the external world, Fi gathers feelings from the internal world. Jane’s primary concern from a young age is how things affect her personally, which she carries throughout her life. Her desire for autonomy stems from an internal understanding of her own desires.
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.” – Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte.
Ne: Extroverted Intuition
Ne’s primary goal is to investigate the possibility of what could be. Jane is concerned with improving her situation. She does not wait for opportunities to present themselves to her. She seeks a better situation for herself because she is compelled to do so by an external force.
“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.” – Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte.
Si: Introverted Sensing
Introverted sensing is concerned with past experiences. Jane frequently considers how her upbringing shaped her values and ideals into the person she is today. For example, she uses the cruelty she witnessed as a child to teach herself how to forgive her relatives. Every person she meets from her past influences her future decisions. Although Jane spends a lot of time reflecting on the past, she makes final decisions based on her own personal feelings.
Te: Extroverted Thinking
Planning is central to both introverted and extroverted thinking. A person who prefers extroverted thinking will usually weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Jane does not appear to plan things logically because her extroverted thinking is her inferior function. In other words, she acts rashly. Throughout the novel, she makes rash decisions without fully considering the implications. Jane does not consider where she should go when she decides to leave Thornfield.
To sum it up, Jane appears to be an INFJ in many situations, and she is, but her individualistic and ideal moral system and her independence makes her an INFP.