Jane Eyre and Her Mental Stability
In Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, we see Jane go through many scenes where she endures supernatural, and spiritual events throughout her life. Is there a true purpose of why we see theses events happen to Jane, does she try to show the readers how her being in an abusive family changes her mental psyche or do these events seem to connect to her beliefs in Christianity because when she feels like she is stuck she always go back to her belief system.
There is a spiritual event that happened to Jane in the first couple of minutes while she was put into the red-room, she sees a mirror and she felt that it revealed something in her. “The strange little figure there gazing at me, with a white face and arms specking the gloom, glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect of a real spirit” (Bronte 71). This could possibly symbolize some sort of reflection or thought process about Jane’s inner self. For Jane to see herself in the mirror it means a time of self-reflection and understanding. While she was locked in the red-room she starts to realize that she must overcome in her struggles to find freedom, and a sense of belonging and the mirror scene gives us the understanding of what she truly sees herself as.
One of the first of many supernatural occurrences and also a very important one is seen at Gateshead hall, after the abuse she endured by her aunt Mrs. Reed and her cousin John. While in the red-room, Jane starts to see her uncle in the book it is stated that Jane’s uncle died in the room. She believed that she sees a light flowing across the wall towards her and she believes that it was her uncle coming to avenge her mistreatment. “at this moment a light gleamed on the wall. Was it, I asked myself, a ray from the moon penetrating some aperture in the blind?” (Bronte 74). Jane is thinking about the dead and how they can show up in spirit to get revenge. Then Jane is stunned by what she believes is Mr. Reed’s presence in the room. She is so convinced that it’s the ghost of her uncle that, Jane starts to scream in terror. The servants opened the door to help Jane, but Mrs. Reed declined to believe or to even let her out. Even if Jane imagined or not the ghost of her uncle, it sets the tone for the supernatural elements that are later seen in the book. Jane wants revenge, but it takes a terrifying form in Mr. Reed’s spirit. Jane must learn another, more controlled way to confront injustice.
We see Jane arrive at Lowood after her aunt Mrs. Reed decides to send her off because she felt that she was too hard to handle. While Jane was at Lowood, she witnesses the strictly routine, and the suppose discipline that happens in Lowood. During this time Jane made a connection with a girl named Helen that she had never felt with anyone else. Then something devastating happened to Helen, she developed tuberculosis and then one-night Jane sneaks to Helen’s bedside. Helen assure Jane that she was not scared of dying because she will be leaving behind the suffering of the world and going to her God. They later fall asleep in each other’s arms. Later, by morning Helen dead. Helen’s faith in an afterlife teaches Jane to give up on the small struggles that are happening in her life. This scene shows us how unbreakable Helen and Jane’s bond was, even by death. In addition to the death scenes in this book, Jane sees an apparition of her mother and she is told to flee temptation when she finds out about Rochester previous marriage, these two people are of high importance for Jane and it gives her moral direction when things seem to go wrong with her.
In chapter 11, we see Jane leave Lowood and go to Thornfield at night, she cannot make out the house. She meets Mrs. Fairfax, who shows Jane up to the spacious house to a cozy bedroom. Jane later finds out that Mrs. Fairfax isn’t the owner of the Thornfield but the head housekeeper. She also learns who the true owner of Thornfield is Mr. Rochester, someone who she has not met yet (Bronte 163). With the mysterious and absent of the master and the name of Thornfield Hall has a gothic feel to it. Jane, like Mrs. Fairfax, is a servant and dependent on the master of the house. Jane sees this as a way that the servants and dependents can become her new family. While in the house Jane is on a tour of the house and she sees the third floor is packed with old furniture and filled with things from the past. Jane even considers that maybe a ghost inhabits that space.
While walking through the third floor Jane hears something mystery something that frightens her. “It was a curious laugh; distinct, formal, mirthless. I stopped: the sound ceased, only for an instant; it began again, louder: for at first, though distinct, it was very low. It passed off in a clamorous peal that seemed to wake an echo in every lonely chamber; though it originated but in one, and I could have pointed out the door whence the accents issued” (Bronte 175) After leaving the third floor, a burst of strange laughter echoes above them, spooking Jane. Mrs. Fairfax blames the laughter on Grace Poole, a servant, and seamstress. With this scene, we get to see more mystery and supernatural qualities grow even more obvious. Jane is puzzled by Grace Poole because she doesn’t seem to match the personality that she recalls hearing on the third floor.
Later, when Jane is trying to sleep, she is disturbed by a strange noise in the hallway, a sort of demonic laugh at her door, and footsteps fading to the third floor, she runs into the hallway and sees smoke coming from Mr. Rochester’ bedroom, he was asleep, but his bed curtains are on fire. She smothers the curtains with water, putting out the fire and saving his life. The gothic mystery in Thornfield become deeper, and even more dangerous. In deeper meaning, a fire represents passion, by fire is connected to love, and marriage. The next morning, Jane is surprised that the servants believe that the previous night’s fire started when Rochester accidentally left a candlelit when he went to sleep, and he claimed that he extinguished the flame. Jane is surprised when Poole who had seemed like nothing happened confirms Mr. Rochester’s story. When she asked Poole about the laughter, she heard Poole states that she had imagined it, but she should keep her door locked. Jane realized that Rochester lied, and is keeping her in the dark about the supernatural events that are happening in the house. When Poole blames Jane’s imagination plays on the stereotype that is flighty and over-imaginative.
Jane experiences so many supernatural events with Mr. Rochester, they have a strong connection. Mr. Rochester asks Jane to marry him. The weather suddenly changes into a rainstorm, and they rushed inside, later on, that night, a lightning strike splits a chestnut tree where they had sat when Rochester proposed (Bronte 368). This gives that connect of pathetic fallacy the rainstorm symbolizes her passion for Rochester, it also means that the relationships self will not be free and easy and the lightning strike hitting the tree could have been a prediction of their relationship being spilt. In the last chapters of the book, Jane is residing in her cousins’ house, where she is asked to get married to her cousin because he felt that it was her duty to be his missionary wife. Within moments of Jane going to answer to St. john and accept his offer she suddenly feels an electric shock pass through her body, and the words, “Jane, Jane, Jane!” repeatedly in Rochester’s voice. For this to happen at the exact moment when she was about to accept the proposal that St. John gave her gives Jane a sense that it was saving her from a bad error. This event was so powerful that she went back to Rochester and she felt that it was nature’s trying to help her.
In conclusion, it is to believe that Jane has these manifestations because they have some effect on her and they influence her either psychologically or to also help her throughout her decisions. As in many of the scenarios I quoted in this paper it shows that when she is stuck in a situation, she tends to dream up these events and to feel some sort of connection telling her to do certain things.
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