The Ambiguity of Jane Eyre

The ambiguity of Jane Eyre with respect to gender and class actually makes it more interesting to read. It struggles with sensitive subjects, and sometimes it fails to defy societal convention. But its failures are often as interesting as its successes. It doesn’t pretend to offer an ultimate truth of personal freedom. It does not present an simplified picture of achieving freedom and personal integrity; in fact, it presents the very dangers inherent in defying social traditions. Jane suffers through the cruel regimen of Lowood because her aunt wants to punish her for her defiance. She suffers heart-break for her attempt to marry her beloved Rochester. When she chooses her own personal beliefs over Rochester’s desires, she spends three days wandering around as a beggar and sleeping outdoors. She nearly dies for her choice and is saved at the last moment by the Rivers siblings. Her life-long search for a sense of belonging and a loving family seems to have ended with her discovery of her relationship to the Rivers family, but St. John’s controlling and vindictive behavior proves otherwise. Jane suffers an separation from her new-found cousin when she chooses to uphold her belief that marriages should be for love and not for convenience. Despite the pain her choice brings her, she manages to maintain her independence in the face of St. John’s overwhelming power over her. Her resistance to sacrificing her own beliefs for his pays off in the end. She is able to marry for love once she reunites with Rochester.


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The Ambiguity of Jane Eyre. (2019, Jan 29). Retrieved from