The Quest for Inner Beauty in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

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The Quest for Inner Beauty in Jane Erye The beauty of a woman is usually classified into two categories: superficial, or physical, beauty and inner, or intellectual, beauty. In the Charlotte Bronte's Jane Erye, the protagonist rejects her own physical beauty in favor of her intelligence and morality. This choice allows her to win the hand of the man she desires. Jane values her knowledge and thinking before any of her physical appearances because of her desire as a child to read, the lessons she is taught and the reinforcements of the idea appearing in her adulthood. During the course of the novel she lives at five homes. In each of these places, the idea of inner beauty conquering exterior appearance becomes a lesson, and in her last home she gains her reward, a man who loves her solely for her mind. She reads against her cousins wishes as a child at Gateshead, learns to value her intelligence as a child at the Lowood Institution, her mind and humility win the heart of Mr. Rochester at Thornfield Manor, she earns St. John's marriage proposal at Marsh's End, and in the end she wins her prize of Mr. Rochester's hand in marriage at Ferndean Manor. Jane Erye spent the beginning of her childhood at her Aunt's house, where she struggles to become more intelligent by reading books. Jane wants to learn, even though her cousin insists: "You have no business to read our books; you are a dependent" (pg. 42). Shortly after being struck for reading, she lays in bed and requests: "Gulliver's Travels from the library. This book I had again and again perused with delight" (pg. 53). Her ambition to read and better herself meets opposition from her cousins, yet she continues to struggle to read when she can. The family she lives ... ... middle of paper ... ...e Place of Love in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. David Lodge, Fire and Eyre: Charlotte Brontë's War of Earthly Elements Fraser, Rebecca. The Brontes. 1st ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1988. Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 3rd ed. New York: The Modern Library. Bronte, Charlotte. "Charlotte Bronte's Letters". New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1971. Diedrick, James. Newman on the Gentleman. http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/hypertext/landow/victorian/vn/victor10.html. Diedrick, James. Jane Eyre and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. http://spider.albion.edu/fac/engl/diedrick/jeyre1.htm. Dickerson, Vanessa D. Victorian Ghosts in the Noontide. http://www.system.missouri.edu/upress/fall1996/dickerso.htm. Brownell, Eliza. Age Difference in Marriage: The Context for Jane Eyre

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