Essay on Marriageable Men

Essay on Marriageable Men

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In Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Bronte portrays her protagonist as a young, unattractive orphan who lives with her aunt. Later shuffled off to Lowood, Jane never experiences the love of a relationship where the partners are equal, and she becomes accustomed to this solitude. Because of her past, Jane strives to become an independent woman and encounters two potential husbands, Edward Rochester and St. John Rivers; however, they, as antitheses to each other, provide Jane with two opposing identities. By analyzing Rochester’s and Rivers’ appearances and views on beauty, their passion, and their reactions to Jane’s independence, one can see that Rochester is the more suitable husband while Rivers is his foil.
Through their similar experiences with physical beauty, Jane and Mr. Rochester can form a deeper relationship than she and St. John Rivers can. As she assists Mr. Rochester, Jane believes he is not a “handsome, heroic-looking gentleman;” however, she finds Mr. Rochester’s relative plainness appealing (Bronte 128). Jane avows that Mr. Rochester will have “sympathy” for her because of their equal footing (128). Jane claims that there is no assured fidelity if her partner is extremely attractive, which is not the case with Mr. Rochester. In stark contrast to Mr. Rochester, St. John Rivers is a young, handsome man, almost like a “Greek” Adonis (400). Rivers’ beauty acts as a barrier to Jane’s and Rivers’ marriage, for she cannot relate to him, being unattractive herself. Moreover, Jane associates physical beauty with her childhood sufferings, where her beautiful and cruel Aunt Reed locks her in the red room. Despite his beauty, Jane finds Rivers “difficult to fathom,” a fact which illustrates Jane’s inability to connect with ...


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...e possibility of her marrying Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester’s acceptance of Jane’s independence confirms that Mr. Rochester is a more suitable husband than St. John Rivers.
St. John Rivers, as Mr. Rochester’s foil, shines light onto Rochester’s more desirable qualities. Mr. Rochester’s awareness of the superficial nature of beauty, his fiery passion, and his acceptance of Jane’s independence win Jane’s heart, and Mr. Rochester eventually marries her. Through these two antitheses, the fiery Mr. Rochester and the icy St. John Rivers, Jane undergoes a process of self-discovery. Jane asserts her required independence as she makes her decisions to leave Rochester initially and, later, to leave St. John Rivers, acts which propel Jane toward enlightenment. Thus, having completed her journey of self-discovery, Jane fulfills her own happiness by marrying Mr. Rochester.

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