Autonomy vs Love in Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

Autonomy vs Love in Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

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From songs, to television, to books, and even to newspapers, the need for love is universal. Love is an emotional necessity that even Jane, from Charlotte Bronte’s book Jane Eyre, cannot ignore. Throughout the story line, Jane is constantly searching to find love. She was looking, not just for the love of a man, but for the love of a family. However, Jane’s search for love sometimes ends up challenging her autonomy. While Jane is longing for love, she is not willing to give up her independence for it. Yet as Jane becomes older and her independence grows, she realizes that, while one needs to be independent, she also needs love in her life.
In the early years of Jane’s life, she was a very autonomous girl. She grew up with her aunt – Mrs. Reed, along with her 3 cousins – John, Eliza, and Georgina. Jane never was shown any affection by any of the Reed family members, they all hated her. Eventually Jane expressed her need for love to Mrs. Reed, “You think that I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of kindness, but I cannot live so: and you have no pity” (Bronte 41). Jane was forced to be independent since she was a child. Her strength only grew as she was locked in the Red Room by her aunt. Her aunt’s lack of care led Jane to be happy when she was sent away from their home in Gateshead, and to the school Lowood Academy, where she could begin her quest for love.
Jane was sent to the Lowood Institution, a school for orphans. Here at Lowood Jane found kindness and acceptance from Helen Burns, another student a few years older than Jane. Jane soon shows to Helen how much love truly means to her by telling her:
If others don’t love me, I would rather die than live– I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look ...


... middle of paper ...


... to have the love she had always with for.
Jane’s journey throughout the entire story was to find love. Jane always had autonomy built into her personality, but she had to establish that independence more apparently in her life. Even while Jane was looking for love, she would not sacrifice her autonomy for it. In Jane’s eyes, to be loved was to live a full life and to be accepted. Also, for Jane, her independence represented the trueness of her worth and value. Without either of these, Jane could not have lived a fulfilled, happy life. Through her life, Jane found answers over time and came to the conclusion that love is far more important than autonomy because no one is meant to be alone and by themselves in this world. We all need someone to love and we all need to love others.


Works Cited:
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1983.

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