Shortly after birth, Jane Eyre Becomes an exile. She physically lives in her aunt’s manor, but she is effectively exiled from the feeling of belonging that can only be found in meaningful familial connections. Her aunt treats her poorly and her cousins, when not ignoring her, openly bully her. She is isolated and, although technically within the boundaries of a stately house, homeless. Jane’s exile from a family and her search for deep human connection drive the plot of the book and is integral to her finally finding a home in her marriage to Mr. Rochester.
The first place that Jane’s quest takes her is to the Lowood school. She likes most of the girls there as one does with most sets of acquaintances: some are pleasantly tolerable while others are less so. Nevertheless most contact is vacuous in true meaning. The exception to this rule comes in the form of one Helen Burns. Jane comes to see Helen as a sister. Helen provides an intellectual viewpoint for jane to aspire to, and a reserved sisterly love. Jane uses Helen as a confidante and mentor, although Helen is not a beacon of unbridled optimism; she has a very fatalistic view on life, simultaneously zen and depressing. After one conversation, Jane says, “I was silent: Helen had calmed me; but in the tranquility she imparted there was an alloy of inexpressible sadness.”(59). The unfortunate reality of Jane’s and Helen’s lives is that they are living in trying conditions. The girl’s bond over the hardships they experience, as well as the fact that they both exhibit an intellectual curiosity in an atmosphere that emphasizes conformity and procedural piety over discovery. Unfortunately Helen becomes ill and eventually dies. However Miss Temple, who has become a sort of mother to J...
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... book, with several characters incredulously inquiring as to whether Jane really had no family ties at all. Ultimately though, this exile shapes Jane into the caring intelligent young woman that she becomes. Jane’s exile shapes the plot of the book and emphasizes the importance of having a family to love and connect with. Jane’s is a tragic story; orphanage, dead friends, an interrupted marriage, and exile from any sense of a home. It is made especially hard by the fact that Jane does not have a homeland to yearn for, or a definite place to go back to. Instead she has to search for something she’s never known, in order to truly go home. Said says exile is “the unhealable rift between a human being and a native place, between the self and it’s true home.” At the closing of Jane Eyre, through her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane has found a home and healed that rift.
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