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Passion vs Reason

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It is human nature to desire freedom and yearn passion, yet it is also human nature to obtain acceptance and follow reason. It is a never ending battle between passion and reason; without reason there is no acceptance, without passion there is no freedom. In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Jane strongly struggles between passion and reason. Though Jane loves Mr. Rochester, her employer at Thornfield Hall, she has certain values to uphold in order to conform with society. Jane does not let her affections overtake her morality, though her return to Mr. Rochester proves passion to be stronger than reason.

Women in the Victorian era were held to an inferior status. Many had to hide their feelings, conceal their creativity and they were sought to conform to societal rules. Jane Eyre never quite followed this, growing up in a contemptuous household Eyre acted out, calling her provider, Mrs. Reed, "deceitful" and describing her upbringing as "miserable cruelty" (Bronte 37, 36). Jane's upbringing instills her strong belief in justice toward those who treat others unfairly. When Jane becomes a student at Lowood Institute, the orphan school, Jane endures cruelty from the headmaster, Mr. Brocklehurst. Due to her rough childhood, Jane's passion is uncontrollable. Rather than being passionate for love, she is passionate for justice. While at Lowood, she eventually learns the meaning of forgiveness and strength. Her good friend, Helen Burns, teaches her to accept others opinions of her, to be humble and recognize one's own faults. Helen councils Jane, saying "Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs" (58). Helen's advice to Jane teaches her self-possession, to endure hardships that come her way ...

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...s is the next worst thing to buying a slave" (317). Jane feels that becoming Rochester's mistress would be "degrading", highlighting Jane's strong, feministic values (317). Jane conceals her passion for reason, as she is firm in her morality.

Jane continually advocates for herself throughout her narration. She pushes aside her ache for Mr. Rochester's affection in order to maintain her values. She does not let passion interfere with reason, arguing that if she broke her values, "What would they be worth?" (322). Jane "plants her foot" at the thought of leaving with Mr. Rochester, leaving him to travel to the unknown. Though it would seem like Jane's reason overtakes her passion, her longing for affection and freedom ultimately prevails, as she goes back to Mr. Rochester. It is human nature to yearn passion, and reason, no matter how strong, can not surpass that.
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