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浅析简爱的性格魅力






《简·爱》是英国女作家夏洛蒂·勃朗特的一部带有自传色彩的长篇小 说。它的问世,曾经轰动了 19 世纪的英国文坛,吸引了国内外成千上万的 读者。它之所以经典,在于作品成功地塑造了一位为追求平等、尊严以及 独立而敢于与生活困境、社会歧视以及男权主义进行斗争的女性形象。小 说集中描述了她为谋求妇女经济独立和爱情平等权利而进行的反抗斗争。 本文旨在通过简爱不同的成长环境分析其反抗和独立的性格,力求全方位 的感受和理解简爱性格的独特魅力。

关键词:性格;独立;反抗;尊严

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Abstract

Jane Eyre, a novel with a strong autobiographical color which was written by Charlotte Bronte. When it was first published, it shocked the whole English literary world in the 19th century. Furthermore, it attracts and moves thousands of readers at home and abroad. It is a classic work because the author successfully pictures an amazing herione who dares to struggle with poor enviroment, social discrimination and patriarchy in order to pursue equality, dignity, independence and so on. This novel mainly decribes her rebellion for seeking women?s economic independence and love of equal rights. This paper aims at analyzing Jane Eyre ?s rebellious and independent character through the different enviroments in Jane?s growing process so as to fully understand the unique charm of Jane?s character.

Key words: character; independence; rebellion; dignity

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An Analysis of Jane Eyre’s Characters in Jane Eyre

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of Binhai School of Foreign Affairs Tianjin Foreign Studies University

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree

Bachelor of Arts

by Huang yawei May,2013

Contents

Abstract (in Chinese) ………………..………………………………………….I Abstract (in English) ……………..………………………………………….....II I. Introduction …………………………………….…...………………………..1
1.1 About Charlotte Bronte…………….………………………………………..…….....1 1.2 The social background of Jane Eyre…………………………………..……..…….…2 1.3 The brief introduction of Jane Eyre…………………………………………………..3

II. Literature review...……………………………………………………….......4 III. Jane Eyre at Gateshead………………….......................................................6
3.1 Jane Eyre?s rebellion………………………………………………...........................6 3.1.1 Under the ill-treatment from John Reed..……………………….…..................6 3.1.2 In the Red Room……...........................................................................................7 3.1.3 In front of Mrs. Reed……………………………..……………….…………….8 3.2 Jane?s independence at Gateshead…………………………………...…….…...….10

IV. Jane Eyre at Lowood Institution……………………………………..…….11
4.1 Jane?s rebellion…………………………………………………………..….…….11 4.1.1 Contrast between Helen Burns and Jane · Eyre……………...……….…..…….11 4.1.2 Against Mr. Brocklehurst………………..……………..……………....................12 4.2 Jane?s independence at Lowood Institution ………………………………...……13

V. Jane Eyre at Thornfield Hall and Moor House………..................................14

5.1 Jane?s rebellion………………………………………………………..……………14 5.1.1 On human dignity…………...………………...………………………..….…14 5.1.2 On love …………………………….....………………………………...……15 5.2 Jane?s independence at Thornfield Hall and Moor House…………………………17

VI. Conclusion…………………………………………………………………18 References………………………………………………………………...……20

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I. Introduction

1.1 About Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855) was born at Thornton, in Yorkshire England, the third of six children. She was not pretty. She was plain and little, but her name was put in the first page of the history of English literature in the 19th century because of the success of Jane Eyre. In August 1824, Charlotte Bronte was sent with three of her sisters to the Clergy Daughters? School at Cowan Bridge. Due to its poor and unhealthy conditions, her two elder sisters died at 11 and 10 years old. Charlotte survived, but her healthy was permanently affected. Soon after, she moved from the school and lived with her living sisters, Emily and Anne. And Charlotte continued her education at Roe Heed School in Mirfield at fiftheen years old. In 1839, Charotte left Roe Heed School and took up the first position as a governess in some private families in Yorkshire. However, the job at that time was treated with bias and she suffered a lot.

To make a living, Charlotte and her sister Emily wanted to open a school to teach children French, but they were not good at this language. In 1843, they travelled to Brussels to learn French. They met Mr. Herger, the owner of the Pension at Herger, a girl?s school, where Charlotte and Emily were pupils and Charlotte later worked as a teacher. While during the period between 1839 and 1842, there were two men ask for Charlotte?s proposal, one was the brother of Charlotte?s friend, another was a young clergyman. Charlotte rejected them for the reason that she thought she was not their true love but a tradition to marry a woman. Her attitude towards love was very vivid. She knew whom she loved and what she wanted. Then Charlotte returned her hometown to open a school with her two sisters. However, they failed.

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After their dream was broken, Charlotte thought writing might be another way. In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne published a joint collection of poetry under assumed names of Currer, Ellis and Action Bell. Although only two copies were sold, they decided to continue writing for publication and began to work on their first novel. It was very unfortunate, Emily and Anne both died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1848 and 1849 respectively. Charlotte and her father were left alone. Under the very hardship condition, Charlotte continuously worked hard in the journey of literary creation and published Shirley (1848) and Villette (1853) and began to create the novel Emma in 1853. For her first novel, The Professor (1857) was published under the name Currier Bell and was based on her own experiences of teaching in Brussels, but never found a publisher in her lifetime. The world-famous autobiography novel, Jane Eyre, was written in 1846. In the novel, Charlotte created a figure to make her ideal dream of love come true. On June 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father?s curate. She died nine months later during her first pregnancy. In general, her works are all about the strugggle of an individual consciousness toward slef-realization, about some lonely and neglected young wowen with a longing for love.

1.2 The social background of Jane Eyre

1832, the year when the first Reform Act was passed, was usually regarded as the end of the Romantic era and the beginning of the Victorian age, although Queen Victorian did not start her reign until 1837. The Victorian age (1832-1902) was usually subdivided into the following phases: the early victorian period, the mid-victorian period and the late victorian period. And Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre in the early victorian period when the economic developed rapidly. At that time, England developed into a rich, advanced industrial country. Although capitalist had appeared, old convention and prejudice remained dominant. Many social problems still exsited, for
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instance, the sharpest contrast between the rich and the poor and the rigid social hierarchy. In this period, women were still regarded as second-class hierarchy. They were employed as cheap laborer and were forced to do very hard jobs. They had no place in politics, economics and society. They had no right to pursue their own love and their status were totally dependent upon the economic position of their fathers and then their husbands. Furthermore, they had to sacrifice themselves to serve their husbands and children.

However, under various unequal treatments, some outstanding women appeared, such as famous women writers, Bronte sisters. They were great English realists at that time. They created pictures of bourgeois civilization, showing the misery and suffering of the common people. So in the late period of Victorian age, a feminism movement started. Those feminists fought for women?s equality, freedom, their educational and employment opportunities. What?s more, Petitions to parliament advocating women?s suffrage were approved as early as in the 1840.

1.3

The brief introduction to “ Jane Eyre”

Jane Eyre, the main character, is a plain orphan who is cruelly treated in childhood by her aunt, Mrs. Reed, the wife of her mother?s brother. At Gateshead, Jane bears ten years of neglect and abuse, especially after her uncle died. Mrs. Reed is a harsh, cold and unsympathetic woman who treats Jane as a servant, but pampers her three children. They look down upon her because she is not pretty and has no money. In order to be accepted by her aunt, she tries to stand difficulties, however, her aunt still treats her as a thron.

After suffering all kinds of inhumane treatments at Gateshead, she is sent away to a boarding school at the tender age of ten, where she receives good education under severe conditions and makes a friend with Helen Burns. There, at Lowood,
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Jane bears a lot both physically and mentally, only consoled by a kind teacher, Miss Temple.

After eight years at the school, Jane Eyre becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall. Mr. Rochester, the master of the house, who seems to have a dark past. Day after day, Mr. Rochester is attracted not by her looks but her wit and courageous spirit, and falls in love with her. This is the same with her. Then Jane accepts Mr. Rochester?s proposal. But their marriage is prevented by the unexpected fact that he has already had a wife, a mad woman who is still alive. Jane feels very shocked and is deeply hurt, then she leaves him quietly because she doesn?t want to be a mistress. Jane arrives at the desolate crossroads and refuses to beg for food. Fortunately, the Rivers family takes her into their home at Moor House. Jane develops great affection for the ladies, and happily teaches at St. John?s school. She gradually thinks that she has inherited a vast fortune because she has become a member of a new famliy. St. John, a very handsome clergyman who is determined to devote himself to God. He admires Jane and asks her to be his wife. However, she suddenly feels that she still cherishes a deep love for Rochester. Finally, she refuses St. John and goes back to find Rochester, who is a blind but free man. Then they marry and enjoy a contented and peaceful life.

II. Literary review

Jane Eyre was written according to Charlotte Bronte?s own experience. It was published in London, England, in 1847 by Smith, Elder & Co. And the first American edition was released the following year by Harper & Brothers of New York. It has been described as “the first modern novel, the first to envelop the life of a plain ordinary woman with romance” (Thomley, G. C. & Gwyneth
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Roberts, 1984: 124) William Makepeace Thackeray also hailed it as “ the mastework of great genius” . Jane Eyre successfully created a great sensation in the whole literary world through the struggling story of a “Cinderella”. Nowadays, it still attracts many readers. The film which was adapted by J ane Eyre, had won an Oscar Academy Awards. Therefore, lots of writers and critics at home and abroad remain enthusiastic about it.

When G. K. Chesterton said, “ The novel of the 19th century was female” (G. K. Chesterton, 2011: 96) , he must have been refering to the emergence of a number of brilliant woman writers who gave voice to the feelings and aspirations of the educated women of their age. Charlotte Bronte is one of the greatest women writers, and her Jane Eyre is undoubtedly an outstanding women?s declaration of independence and love. Jane Eyre is also honoured as “ Another book is required reading for women ” and “ It is worth reading than fifty Trollopes, fifty Dickens and any other novels” . (Trubner and Company, 2010 : 132) Furthermore, Dickens and Thackeray highly praised Jane Eyre as it revealed the political and the social truth to the world. At the same time, Marx also rated Charlotte as an excellent novelist in Britain.

Throughout the domestic researches, Jane Eyre also gets a lot of recognition. “ For some years, Charlotte Bronte has written her works, Shirler, Villette and so on, but Jane Eyre is the most successful and popular one” (吴伟仁, 2004: 233) At the same time, it is also regarded as “ a typical work which has a closely connection with the Bible in the 19th literature ” (卓新平, 1992: 232) Zhu Hong, a British and American literature researcher and tutor, understands Jane Eyre as a revenge on the upper society and regards the marriage of Jane and Rochester as a carnival of spiritual revenge.

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III. Jane Eyre at Gateshead

3.1 Jane Eyre’s rebellion

“ Once a person is born, his personality has partly taken shape” . Indeed, the main part of a personality copies his parents, and the remaining part comes just from himself or from the circumstances. The circumstances which Jane lived in her childhood was miserable so that her spirit of striving for independence and rebellion was fully exposed.

3.1.1 Under the ill-treatment from John Reed

From the above introduction of Jane?s experiences at Gateshead, we can know that Jane Eyre?s life was unhappy and pitiful. Everyone in Reed house humiliated her, the one who always abused Jane Eyre was John Reed. John Reed, four years elder than Jane, was Mrs. Reed?s only darling son. So no matter what he had done, no one would scold him, instead, all of them would think that it must be Jane?s fault. At the initial stage, Jane had a little frightened to John when she was abused by him. For example, Jane Eyre said, “every nerve I had feared him, and every morsel of flesh on my bones shrank when he came near. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 9) . However, Jane Eyre?s mind was strong and she was not scared later. On the contrary, the seeds of the rebellion were gradually growing up.

As for John, he had not much affection for his mother and sisters, let alone the sympathy to Jane Eyre. Furthermore, he always condemned Jane with dirty words which, to the great extent, hurt Jane?s self-respect. For instance, he once said,

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“ You are a dependant, mama says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentlemen’s children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mama's expense. Now, I'll teach you to rummage my bookshelves... ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 9)

In our views, the more difficulties there were, the more she was strong. Jane did not think that she should resign to such an uneducated and rude boy. When John Reed lift and hurled the book to Jane, she shouted out “wicked and cruel boy! You are like a murder---you are like a slave driver---you are like the roman emperors! ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 10) Then she tussled with John. This point has been shown clearly that the tolerance level of Jane Eyre has reached her limits. It is known to us that people who are only under the great oppression will break out their enormous power. Just like what Luxun said, “ to explore in silence, or to die in it. ”

Jane was a strong girl and never gave up. She dared to protect herself when she suffered from the humiliation of being criticized by everyone. She thought that they were not worth respecting. This thought was obviously contrary to the current of thought at that society of male priority. However, Jane was a different girl. She dared to think and act. The novel had pointed out that “ they had got me by this time into the apartment indicated by Mrs. Reed, and had thrust me upon a stool: my impulse was to rise from it like a spring. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 11) From here we can imagine, at that time, Jane?s rebellious conciousness was more strong than before.

3.1.2 In the Red Room

With the development of the unjust events, Jane started to fight against them. Firstly, facing John?s unreasonably bullies, Jane didn?t retreat but strike him. Secondly, the servants often blamed Jane and told her that she should not strike
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John because he was her young master, but she attacked them in the strongest terms. Thirdly, Mrs. Reed hated to see Jane Eyre because of Jane?s ceaseless rebellion. All these seemed that Jane was challenging the power of Mrs. Reed. So finally she couldn?t escape from the tragedy of being sent to the red room. The room was seldom used, for Mr. Reed was dead in this room. We can?t imagine that how horrible the red room is, even for a little girl. Everything in this room was filled with a sense of ghastly atmosphere, which made people stifling. So was Jane. She said,

“ Although there was a superstition with me at that moment, it was not yet her hour for complete victory: my blood was still warm, the mood of the revolted slave was still bracing me with its bitter vigor. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 13)

As long as she considered that“ All John Reed?s violent tyrannies, all his sisters? proud indifference… Why was it useless to try to win any one?s favor… ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 13) Jane would cause a feeling of hatred at that time. There was only one word would come up her, that was the rebellion. Only through the rebellion, Jane could feel a sense of achievement and satisfactory. Only through the rebellion, she could have the opportunity to get freedom and independence because the red room was just like the hell. During the whole afternoon, Jane thought lots of things in this cold red room. She was sure that it was not the life she wanted.

3.1.3 In front of Mrs. Reed

At Gateshead, the conversations between Mrs. Reed and Jane Eyre could well display her rebellions. When faced with so many different kinds of revilement, Jane had not shown any sign of fright. Instead, she gave the powerful words to hit back. While in Mrs. Reed?s eyes, Jane was an unwelcome alien who permanently invaded her own family group. Therefore, she told her children not
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to go near Jane, but Jane cried out and said, “ They are not fit to associate with me. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 27) Mrs. Reed was so angry when hearing it, and then dragged her into the nursery, pressed her on the edgy of the bed and said, “ Dared me in an emphatic voice to rise from that place. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 27) Then, Jane talked it back immediately, “ What would uncle Reed say to you, if he were live? ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 27) These words shocked Mrs. Reed, and her eyes were filled with terror. She did not think that such a little girl had so great power and courage to speak to her.

In the days of nursery, Jane was always striving, she was often thinking about how to express her inner thoughts out. She had been abused for a long time. But the only thing that she could do was to rebel, which was the best way that could protect her. She had learnt how to gather all her energy and give Mrs. Reed a forceful hit-back. When Mrs. Reed told Mr. Brocklehurst that Jane Eyre was a liar. Jane had a face to face conflict with her aunt, she defended,

“ I am not deceitful: if I were you, I should say I love you: but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except the John Reed: and this book about the liar, you may give your girl, Georgiana, for it is she tells lies, and not I. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 35)

How comfortable for Jane as she was saying these words. Jane still continued to say

“ I am glad you are no relation of mine, I will never call you aunt as long as I live, and I will never come to see you when I am grown up. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 35)

Jane was only a ten-year-old girl but she had such kind of courage against the things that she thought unfair.
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3.2 Jane’s independence at Gateshead

Independence is an outstanding quality throughout the whole novel. Jane Eyre is not pretty but her character is unique. Under a variety of difficulties at Gateshead, Jane gradually began to realize the importance of independence, as her conciousness of rebellion becoming more and more strong. She knew that dependence and incompetence invited nothing but scorn.

As a result of the event that she striked with John, she was sent to the red room by her aunt. In the red room, she realized she needed to be saved and protected by herself and she needed to be self-reliant. She said, “ Unjust! I never compromise to them. I shall be independent. ” (Charottle Bronte, 2008: 14) She hated Gateshead, she hated everyone there. She believed that only when she was independent, could she be respected by others.

After all, Jane Eyre was a little girl and it was hard for her to be economically independent. Because of the hatred between Reeds and Jane Eyre, Jane would like to be sent to a low budget orphan school called Lowood Institution. Before Jane left the Gateshead, she rebuked Mrs. Reed,

“ You think I have no feelings and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so… People think you a good woman, but you are bad, hard-hearted. You are deceitful! ” (Charottle Bronte, 2008: 35)

This was the first time that Jane enjoyed a sense of triumph and freedom. And she also felt she was independent because she escaped from there.

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IV. Jane Eyre at Lowood Institution

4.1 Jane’s rebellion

With thirst for new life, Jane Eyre went to Lowwood. It was a charity school, but in fact was a hell for poor girls. During the eight years of school ?s life, Jane?s thought gradually became mature. What?s more, this experience further developed her rebellion.

4.1.1 Contrast between Helen Burns and Jane ·Eyre

In Lowood, Helen Burns played a very important role in Jane Eyre?s childhood and even in Jane?s whole life, Helen Burns could be undoubtedly considered as Jane?s friend. Helen was the first person who spoke to Jane in the Lowood. Jane loved to be with Helen because she was willing to share everything with her.

However, they had different characters when they came across the same conditions. For example, when Helen was punished in the middle of a room, she had no complaining words. It seemed that nothing had happended, no crying, no shameful expression on her face. But Jane got very angry and she said to Helen,

“ If I were in your place, I should dislike her; I should resist her; if she struck me with that rod, I should get it from her hand; I should break it under her nose.” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 55)

So seen from this sentence, we learned that Helen didn?t dare to fight, and she wasn?t brave as much as Jane. And she told Helen,

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“ A great deal: you are good to those who are good to you. It is all ever desire to be. If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and unjust, the wicked people would have it all their own way: they would never feel afraid… I am sure we should— so hard as to teach the person who struck us never do it again! ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 56)

This forceful speech embodied the deep oppression of Jane?s rebellious spirit. We believed that if Jane was right, she would do it without any hesitation. Here, Jane?s rebellious character kept growing.

Helen was always telling her belief to Jane. She was deeply poisoned by religion and sincerely believed in God. Furthermore, she wished to be in heaven after death. She said to Jane, “ I am sure there is a future state; I believe God is good… God is my father; God is my friend; I love Him; I believe He loves me. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 80) But Jane did not like her. She would not sumbit to fate and the environment. She was a girl born with strong rebellion. As long as any evil force came to her, she must fight against them and must protect herself. This rebellious awareness was just the quality that Helen was lack of.

4.1.2 Against Mr. Brocklehurst

As we all know, Mr. Brocklehurst was not only a hypocrite, but also a snob man, though he was the founder of the Lowood. So at the Lowood School, he could enjoy the most favorable right. He treated the students as servants and punished the students in the name of saving their souls. The school didn?t provide the poor children with enough food, clothes and it could not give good treatment for the disease. Therefore, death had become something common at Lowood Institution. This condition aroused Jane?s rebellion again.

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Jane was a girl who was always ready to fight. It was obvious that she didn ?t like Mr. Brocklehurst. At Lowood, Mr. Brocklehurst scolded Jane as a liar. Undoubtedly, such sharp words hurt Jane deeply. As long as there was a hope, Jane would have a sense of rebellion.

When Mr. Brocklehurst wanted to cut the long hair of Julia Severn, the blackboard suddenly slipped from Jane?s hand and fell with an obtrusive crash so that Mr. Brocklehurst punished Jane to stand on the chair in front of everyone. As Jane had said that she could not bear such humiliating punishment, but now she was standing in the middle of the room. The feelings of inward were beyond the description. Jane?s heart was filled with fury. She never stopped longing for a free life in a new world. She thought that she must do everything she could completely to fight against the bad man and to resist the unfair punishement. At this moment, Jane?s rebellion became stronger and stronger.

4.2 Jane’s independence at Lowood Institution

Jane?s independent consciousness was sprouted at Gateshead first, it took shape at Lowood Institution. Under lots of unfair punishement, Jane gained strength from her teacher and fellow students. And Jane tired to achieve her independence.

Helen?s sincere friendship gave her strength. Although she didn?t accept Helen?s belief about abandoning human affection and praying for God ?s love, but Jane was deeply moved by Helen?s words,

“ Yet it would be your duty to bear it , if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what your fate to be required to bear. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 55)

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Jane learnt self-control from Helen Burns. And Helen told her that life was so short that people couldn?t waste it to bear grudges. This might be the reason why Jane finally forgave Mrs. Reed.

Miss Temple, a teacher who was admired and deeply loved by Jane. When Mr. Brocklehurst told all the people that Jane was a liar, Miss Temple gave a chance to Jane to defend herself. She believed what Jane said and it gave Jane great consolation. Miss Temple often encouraged her students to keep up their spirits. Jane learnt the value of independence from her. After the leaving of Miss Temple, Jane couldn?t put up with dullness there. She was eager for freedom and a new life. She told herself that she wanted to go to a lively place. And no matter what happened in the future, she would face it bravely. The rebellious spirit was lightened again. And she also believed that if she wanted to be independent, she must achieve economic independence. Then Jane made an advertisement and got a job as a governess at Thornfied.

V. Jane at Thornfield Hall and Moor House

5.1 Jane’s rebellion

Time in Thornfield?s and Moor House played a significant role in Jane Eyre?s life. This part showed the climax of Jane?s rebellious and independent spirit through her attitude to human dignity, love and marriage.

5.1.1 On human dignity

When Jane Eyre first came to Thornfield Hall, she didn?t feel ashamed of her plain apperance and poverty-stricken state. She defended her dignity as
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defending her life. Jane didn?t show any subservience before her wealthy and arrogant master. When Rochester ordered Jane to talk more with him to please him, she refused firmly. In Jane?s eyes, Mr. Rochester couldn?t consider himself superior to her regarding to his age, experience and status.

Jane stayed consistent in her beliefs when she didn?t know much about Rochester yet. One evening, she was asked by Rochester, “ Do you think I?m handsome? ” “ Normally I would have taken time to think, and said something polite, but somehow I answered at once, ? No, sir.? ” Jane wrote. (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 129) She was unwilling to tell that Mr. Rochester was handsome although he was her employer. She didn?t want to flatter others, although she knew that it would benefit her job. She hoped that she could be equal to his master in spirit except in money and in social class. Since then, she was able to communicate with Rochester in spirit and gained respect for human dignity from him.

5.1.2 On love

Day by day, through many equal contacts between Jane and Rochester, Jane found that she fell in love with Rochester. “ The friendly frankness, as correct as cordial, with which he treated me, drew me to him. I felt at times as if he were my relation rather than my master. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 144) She comprehended his faults and sympathized his misfortune. She saw his kindhearted nature.

Jane loved Mr. Rochester very much. In order to pursue the whole love from Mr. Rochester, Jane was fighting for the traditional ideas all the time. When she heard that Mr. Rochester would get married with Miss. Ingram, she was desperate. As for Mr. Rochester, he thought that Jane would like some women

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who begged for the so-called love. However, to Rochester?s surprise, Jane said to him firmly,

“ I must leave you and Thornfield, I must! I tell you I must go. Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automation? ...You think wrong. I have as much as you---and full as much heart! ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 194)

Jane Eyre retorted. Thus it can be seen that the holding capacity of Jane?s mind was so great. She wouldn?t bear any humiliation. She respected Mr. Rochester?s decision. She didn?t want to be painful again. She said,

“ And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me… and we stood at God’s feet, equal, as we are! ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 248)

This was Jane?s real declaration of human right. She dared to resist her master severely to defend her own rights. Just because of her unique character and action, Mr. Rochester expressed his inner feelings. Amazed and excited, Jane agreed to be his wife.

However, it was on Jane?s marrying day that she knew the fact that Mr. Rochester had a legal wife. Undoubtedly, it was a heart-stuck attack to Jane. At this moment, it was impossible for them to get married because she knew that Mr. Rochester didn?t belong to her any more. He had a wife. If she continued to stay in Thornfield, she would became Mr. Rochester?s mistress who wouldn?t be accepted by society. No matter how she loved Mr. Rochester, Jane could not persuade herself to be married with him. Being alone in the world, she had no one to depend on. At last, she perfered to leave Rochester rather than to lose her individual dignity. She said loudly and clearly before she left Thornfield, “ I
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care for myself… I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 310) It was a pity that they didn?t get together, for they loved each other deeply. However, Jane?s unusual rebellious character was perfectly shown. She dared not only to rebel the unfairness but also to challenge the social conventions to pursue her own rights.

After leaving Rochester?s home, Jane wandered here and there. She was nearly dead. Luckily, she met with St. John and his sisters. They were very friendly and warm-hearted to her. With their care, Jane recovered quickly. Soon, she worked as a village teacher in a church school.

St. John thought highly of Jane?s talent and made an offer of marriage several times in the name of “ God?s will” . Jane resolutely refused him. She knew that she was the right person who could help him to do missionary work and their marriage wasn?t based on true love. She pointed out, “ He prizes me as a soldier would a good weapon, and that is all. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 397) Yielding to St. John?s request, it meant to give up Jane?s rights. And she said to St. John that she scorned his idea of love. John was shocked by this sentence because he met the resistance from Jane. Furthermore, she still loved Mr. Rochester, so she determined to return to Thronfield again. However, Thronfield had become a wasteland after a big fire, and Rochester was blind and disabled but free. At this moment, she felt that she loved Rochester more than ever. So she decided to stay with him and to look after him for all of her life. In the end, Jane Eyre possessed noble soul and gained true love.

5.2 Jane’s independence at Thornfield Hall and Moor House

In order to support herself, Jane worked as a governess at Thornfield Hall where developed her independence totally. She completely earned money by her own.
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Although Rochester was rich, Jane never thought of depending on him. She remembered all the time that the self-respect and dignity of a woman were based on the economical independence. She thought, “ If I had ever so small an independency; I never can bear being dressed like a doll by Mr. Rochester… I could better endure to be kept by him now. ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 264) After knowning that Rochester also loved her, Jane was excited and told Rochester, “ I shall continue to act as Adele?s governess; by that I shall earn my board and lodging… and you shall give me nothing but—your regard! ” (Charlotte Bronte, 2008: 265) From here we could see that Jane?s character of self-respect and independence was so strong and firm, and Jane showed her spirit sufficiently.

As for love, Jane hold that independence and pursuit of the equal rights were the fundamental elements. And she protected her independence and personality all the time. When Rochester intended to give her a lot of jewelry and beautiful clothes, she refused. She thought that real love wasn?t based on money and jewelry. Her love didn?t mix with conventional ideas at that time and she didn?t want to be the slave of money and to rely on others. Furthermore, she did not want to be an accessory of Rochester. Until she left the Thornfield, she didn?t take those things that were sent by Rochester. And at Moor House, she refused St. John?s proposal. All the actions and thoughts were fully shown that Jane would insist on her spirit under any conditions.

VI. Conclusion

From Jane?s story at Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield and Moor House, we learn that Jane?s life is full of tears, misery and humiliation. However, she never gives
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up the determination in struggling against her fate and pursuing independence. The paper has analyzed Jane Eyre?s rebellious and independent spirit. In her chidhood, she had the rebellious spirit and independent conciousness. After she turned into a mature woman, she became more independent and continued to struggle bravely against the unjustice under the bad enviroment. From Gateshead to Lowood Institution, from Thornfield to Moor House, Jane?s spirit developed step by step until she gained her own perfect love at last.

Jane is a new image of woman who is worthy learning. The value of a woman does not lie in her looks, her dress, and any other things that have a powerful fascination to men?s eyes, but in her nature, her mind and her character. In fact, no matter in which society you live, the woman who wanted to pursue equality, freedom or even feminism should pursue financial, personal and political independence. As for love in the modern society, women should seek it on the base of equality and true love not on money, houses or cars. Just like Jane Eyre, though she doesn?t have a beautiful appearance and enough money, she would own her wholehearted love.

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References

Bronte, Charlotte. 2008. Jane Eyre. BeiJing: Central Complication&Translation Press.

Luo Jingguo. 2011. A New Anthology of English Literature(Volume II). BeiJing: Peking University Press.

Teachman, Debra. 2008. Understanding Jane Eyre. BeiJing: RenMin University Press of China.

Trubner& Company. 2010. Westminster Review. England: Kessinger Publishing.

杨正和.外国文学名作欣赏[M].北京:科学出版社,1999.

罗选民.英美文学赏析教程[M].北京:清华大学出版社,2006.

吴伟仁.英国文学史及选读[M].北京:外语教学与研究出版社,2004.

许菁.浅析简爱的双重性格[M].上海:上海译文出版社,2001.

李尚梅.简· 爱性格特征浅析: 作家[J].作家杂志编辑部 2011 (6) : 141-142.

丁立福.浅析简爱反抗性格之形成[J].淮南师范学院学报,2004(3): 79-81.

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