Quest for Identity in Charlotte Bronte’s Novel Jane Eyre

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Quest for identity refers to man’s existential battle to find purpose and worth in his existence. It is an interior voyage, a quest for existence, a search for roots, and an effort to express oneself.

Quest for Identity in Jane Eyre

A thorough examination of Jane Eyre indicates that Jane’s quest for identity is fundamental to her nature. She not only deals with the strange experience of men but also describes the numerous strategies she employs to survive in a patriarchal society.

Victorian feminist authors developed novels and other forms of writing that questioned society’s conservative customs and norms. Using the concepts and ideas of enlightenment philosophers, they also constructed female protagonists to serve as role models for women of their day.

Their novels centred on women’s quest for identity, freedom, and individuality. They challenged the concept of idle women. Charlotte Bronte was motivated to create Jane Eyre by the difficulties and dilemmas of the women of her period to demonstrate that women may assert their own agency.

Through Jane’s figure, Bront explored women’s inherent capacities to face adversity and make intelligent and capable judgments. The topic of the work centres around the protagonist’s pursuit of identity in Victorian society.

Charlotte Bronte’s campaign for women

In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bront campaigned for downtrodden women due to her progressive views. In Jane Eyre, Bront disproves the assumption that women cannot simultaneously be virtuous, modest, and self-reliant. Jane is an exceptional person who is both modest and moral. As a result, she is independent and well-equipped to handle any situation. In contrast to the ladies of her time, her independence from men ultimately leads to her joyful marriage to Mr. Rochester.

Read more : Can we all be feminists?

In Victorian patriarchal culture, Jane’s personality is the opposite of what a woman should be. When Charlotte Bront penned Jane Eyre, it was uncommon for a woman to pursue a writing profession. Consequently, she released her work under a pseudonym. Women were required to adhere to a stringent social and moral standards. Women with human emotions such as rage, passion, self-assertion, and assertiveness were not valued.

 This tale is about Jane’s quest to discover her true identity. This voyage is difficult for her due to the obstacles she encounters. In her struggle against injustice, Jane is dogged and fervent. She never loses sight of who she is despite everything. She never gives up or surrenders.

Because she is always self-aware, she prioritises her own well-being over societal norms. Jane has progressive, original opinions that she is not afraid to express.

Jane exhibits many of Charlotte Bront’s qualities. The origin of Jane’s acts and remarks can always be determined. Jane believes in an emotional connection-based form of marriage. Jane loathed sacrificing herself for the sake of money, particularly when marriage was a transient solution to financial security.

When she marries, she will not have to give up her individuality. She will not do anything that may be construed as a violation of her femininity. In deference to her femininity and self-respect, she refuses to become Mr. Rochestor’s mistress despite her strong affections for him.

Jane’s feministic views

In a patriarchal society, Jane is a feminist with strong opinions on women’s rights. In the face of oppression and persecution, she fights for freedom and equality for herself and other women worldwide. In terms of meeting societal expectations for women, she is a character to be reckoned with. Jane does not deviate from the general rule that authors express themselves via their characters. The ideas expressed by Jane are those of Bront.

Read more : Feminism and Its perspective on Frances Burney’s Evelina

Despite his considerable power, Mr. Rochestor cannot force Jane to dance to his song, no matter how hard he tries. Jane never avoids confrontation when she discovers something odd about a person. Jane states, “I do not believe you have the authority to command me simply because you are older and have travelled further than I have.” Jane’s self-advocacy is obvious even within the context of a master-servant relationship.

Jane preferred intelligence over physical beauty during a period when physical beauty was a must for having a lover. Despite Blanche Ingram’s greater physical beauty, she has never harboured animosity toward her due to her singular intellect.

The quest for identity needs autonomy

Jane has a strong desire for autonomy and is prepared to take risks. According to Jane, a marriage with St. John would be a loveless relationship in which the bodies would be joined, but the souls would be separated by miles. There would be no emotional warmth accompanying the sexual act. Jane is aware that by marrying John, she would lose her personality and independence. She decides to accompany him to India, but not as his wife, out of fear of suffocation and death if they wed.

Gender Identities.

When she reunites with her lover, the power imbalance that previously existed between them is reversed. Finally, they have reached parity. By virtue of her inheritance, she is an affluent woman with a family. Consequently, she may get the love and companionship she desired without surrendering her self-respect, dignity, or independence.

At Marsh End, Jane’s search for her identity concludes with the discovery of her family. No longer is she alone in the world. As a result of the childhood trauma she endured at the hands of the Reeds family; she is more equipped to tackle patriarchal society as an adult.

Jane accepts to marry Rochester regardless of his financial problems. She marries him and promises to care for him for the remainder of his life. This demonstrates that Jane put love above anything else, including money.

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