Jane Eyre, a classic Victorian novel by Charlotte Brontë, is regarded as one of the finest novels in English literature. The main character, Jane Eyre, demonstrates a strong need to be herself, a young girl trying to retain all the individuality possible for a dependent of her time. Although this effort guides her to a passionate and impulsive nature, Jane is still willing to accept change in her life knowing it may not always seem the most pleasant. Her tolerance of change begins very early in the novel and helps her in developing a strong sense of independence. The first two primary changes in Jane’s life, dealing mainly with setting, are when she leaves Gateshead Hall, the hateful environment containing Mrs. Reed and her children, and when she leaves Lowood, a rigorous Christian boarding school. These two instances are important in the development of her self-assured character and resiliently intense resolve, which will help determine the path of her life. Jane’s leaving Gateshead and Jane’s leaving Lowood may be compared on the basis of Jane’s desire for change, and may be contrasted on the bases of the reasons for Jane’s leaving and her anticipations for leaving.
In each instance of Jane’s departure, whether from Gateshead or from Lowood, she desires change: something new to experience. Before Jane leaves Gateshead, she is even more shut out by the Reeds’ due to the holiday season of Christmas. Because of this extreme separation between her and the ever hardening Reeds, Jane is expecting not to be tolerated among them for much longer (20-22). This prospect elevating her spirits, she narrates, “I gathered enough of hope to suffice as a motive for wishing to get well: a change seemed near—I desired...
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... to embark on a ”new life in the unknown” (85).
Jane’s leaving Gateshead and her departure from Lowood are the most important two events in her life playing a role in the shaping of her personality. This personality, one of strength, resilience, and spirit, can be regarded as one of the best developed in literature. Jane’s desire, in both cases, leads to the reasons for her departure. Once she knows she is departing, her anticipations, always of something better than the present, guide her and help her survive. After everything, she undoubtedly has a better life with a true sense of satisfaction and gratification. Understanding these two changes in her life can lead to a better explanation of the rest of her life: the path she chooses, decisions she makes, how she interacts with her surroundings, and how she finds happiness ever after: the best part of all.
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