Jane Eyre: An Uncommon Heroine
"They are not fit to associate with me," says young Jane Eyre of her rude, spoiled cousins who consider themselves above her.(29) In this simple quote lies all the facets of the young Jane: she is angry, passionate, and subtly - but positively - self-assured. It would be simple for Charlotte Bronte to continue the story of Jane in this fashion, casting her as a perpetually bitter and proud heroine who is rendered incapable of growth by her traumatic childhood, but Bronte refuses to cast her heroine as a flat character. Throughout the novel, Jane grows, matures, and learns to forgive, but she never loses her courage and acute sense of self. Her growth is primarily shown in her visit to the Reed home as an adult, and in her ability to develop intimate relationships with people, while her retention of self is demonstrated in her determination to follow her convictions with both Rochester and St. John.
Jane's visit to the Reed home at nineteen is a remarkable demonstration of her growth. The last time that we see her in direct contact with her aunt and cousins, she has an outburst of passion: "I am not deceitful: if I were, I should say I loved you, but I declare that I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of...
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