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Jane Eyre’s Preservation of Self

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  1. Introduction
  2. The most apparent changes in Rochester
  3. Rochester's internal transformation
  4. Rochester marrying Jane while he was still married to Bertha Mason
  5. Jane's need to have established her independence and her own identity
  6. Conclusion

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a novel that focuses heavily on the protagonist's sense of self-respect and her insistence on remaining true to her principles and standards despite all odds. One of the most fundamental aspects of Jane's character is her refusal to sacrifice her own values for any person or under any circumstance. Thus, when complications to the marriage between Jane and the man she loves--Edward Rochester--arise, Jane refuses the union until conditions are met under which she can freely and wholeheartedly marry this man without sacrificing her self-dignity. Many elements of Jane Eyre develop and transform from the time at which Rochester first proposes to Jane to when she finally accepts his offer and marries him, in order for this union to permit Jane to preserve her self-identity and remain faithful to herself and her principles.

[...] Fortunately for her, Jane not only stumbles upon who she later discovers is her family, but she also comes into a significant sum of money. Now, if Rochester were to marry Jane, he would not be her only family tie. She currently has a family that she loves and who is there to support her, so she is not dependent upon a husband to provide her with her only network of emotional connection. For instance, upon discovering her family, Jane exclaims to herself, ?This was wealth indeed! [...]

[...] He felt that he deserved to lose Jane as a result of his choices in life, and he ?began to experience remorse, repentance, the wish for reconcilement? to his Maker (495). Only now that Rochester has given up such fundamental physical attributes can he feel that he is finally reconciled with God. At this point, Rochester is also on par with Jane in terms of his spiritual values, which have given him a different outlook as to what he holds in high importance. [...]

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