In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the characters come to learn that secrets do more harm than good through Edward Rochester’s secrecy after the fire in his room, Mrs. Reed not telling her about the letter from her uncle, and Edward Rochester’s secret marriage with Bertha. First, Rochester, who really knows what happened during the fire in his room, refuses to tell Jane the full truth so as to not hurt her. Secondly, Mrs. Reed and Jane do not have the best relationship; the hiding of the letter only strains this relationship further. And finally, Rochester’s secret marriage with the psychopathic woman Bertha Mason causes a rift in Jane and Rochester’s relationship which never fully heals. In other words, secrets will never end well, as seen by Rochester keeping what happens during the fire secret to Jane.
To begin, Rochester makes sure the fact that Bertha, not Grace Poole, starts the fire in his room secret to Jane. The price that Rochester would pay if the secret of Bertha got out would be immense. For example, Rochester’s main reason for doing this is obviously to keep Bertha unknown to Jane, who has no idea Bertha even exists at this point in the story. Rochester is sleeping peacefully one night when Jane hears a strange laugh. She walks up the stairs and smells smoke from Rochester’s room. Jane quickly puts out the fire and explains to Rochester about the laugh she heard. She says it was from Grace Poole, and Rochester quickly agrees, saying that the “singular laugh” Jane heard was Grace’s (Bronte 157). Jane later wants to talk to Grace about the incident, which happens the next morning. Grace is also heavily involved in this secret, as she is Bertha’s caretaker. Grace claims that “… he [Rochester] fell...
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... relationship that he works dilligently to maintain.
On the whole, it is very evident that secrets cause more harm than good as seen by Rochester’s secrecy involving the fire, Mrs. Reed hiding the letter, and Rochester’s first marriage. Rochester having a good idea of what truly happens during the fire in his room ends with Jane not trusting Grace Poole and not knowing the full truth. Mrs. Reed changes what Jane’s life could be by hiding the letter from her uncle John. And finally, Rochester’s secret marriage with Bertha Mason puts a large strain on his relationship with Jane. Charlotte Bronte exemplifies the idea of secrets causing more harm than good in Jane Eyre, a lesson that many people will learn in their lives the hard way. Keeping secrets is not worth the effort.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. United States: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 1988.
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