Female Characters in "Jane Eyre"

912 Words4 Pages
The development of Charlotte Bronte's character, Jane Eyre, becomes vital to her novel Jane Eyre, and the other characters in which she is involved. She is an intelligent, plain featured, honest young girl whose reaction to her situations brings more depth to her personality. She is forced to deal with oppression, discrimination, and at times poverty, which disrupt her strong will, dignity, and desire for freedom. At the beginning, Jane possesses a passion for pride and the idea of freedom and these characteristics, along with her integrity, are tested continuously throughout the novel by the many personalities with whom she encounters. Living in a male dominant world Jane is expected to remain obedient and docile and her passion sometimes keeps her from being able to do this. She is a rarity among obeying female characters and we see this throughout the book. Many other significant female characters, serve as foils to or models for Jane. They are comparable to Jane in both a political and psychological sense, illustrating her oppression and status in life or some aspect of her distinguishable personality. One of the first female personalities that Jane encounters is that of Maria Temple. Miss Temple is one of the first female adult characters who reach out to Jane. She is a kind, warm-hearted woman who works at Lowood, the boarding school for girls, as a teacher. "Miss. Temple had always something of serenity in her air, of state in her mien, of refined propriety in her language, which precluded deviation into the ardent, the excited, the eager: something which chastened the pleasure of those who looked on her and listened to her, with a controlling sense of awe..." She is compassionate and motherly to the orphan girls ... ... middle of paper ... ...d outbreaks of her violent and unreasonable temper, or the vexations of her absurd, contradictory, exacting orders." She is an example of what might have become of Jane if she hadn't been able to control her anger against life. She illustrates all of Jane's passionate personality traits taken out of balance. In the end, she dies trying to gain freedom from the life she needed to escape. Out of the female characters that are presented in Bronte's novel most serve a purpose in developing or contributing to Jane's character. Through these five women the evidence is obvious the Bronte used the other characters as models for Jane. Some possess qualities that Jane needed to avoid, some that she needed to learn. Some of the women were exaggerations of personality traits that Jane already possessed but were able to show the reader the outcome of such exceeding qualities.
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