Love and companionship means different things to different people. Sometimes one searches for it in a person much like himself; a mate who upholds their own values and thinks the same thoughts. Other times, people yearn for someone with fresh ideas and an opposite personality to bring new emotions to his life. But in either case, the person that sometimes ends up being the mate one is attracted to is not always a choice that is conventionally upheld by society or perfect in every way. Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is a story of one such case of a love found between two people who are not necessarily the most beautiful or outstanding people, but that find a mutual attraction in their souls and create a bond that even a near perfect individual of society, like St. John, cannot break. The two men that unknowingly compete for Jane's hand in marriage are Mr. Rochester and St. John, the latter a symbol of beauty and respect, and the former a mysterious and seemingly unfriendly nobleman with a plain face and dark appearance. Both of them offer very different things to Jane. Their physical beauty and amount of community respect sharply contrast, presenting Jane with two levels of social figures. The traits in their personalities are very dissimilar and they both expect a certain behavior in return from Jane, whether it be her natural attitude, or one that she would be forced to convert to. Lastly, they both offer and ask of her two very different types of marriages and loves, leaving it to Jane to decide between one built of unconditional love or one of unending sacrifice and religious satisfaction. In the end, she is forced to weigh the life that each offers...
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...es in the novel through Jane, "The soul fortunately has an interpreter - often an unconscious, but still a truthful interpreter - in the eye."
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Penguin, 1995.
Gordon, Lyndall. Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life. New York: Norton, 1994.
Michie, Helena. The Flesh Made Word: Female Figures and Women's Bodies. New York: Oxford UP, 1987.
Poovey, Mary. "Speaking of the Body: Mid-Victorian Constructions of Female Desire." Jacobus, Keller, and Shuttleworth 24-46.
Rich, Adrienne. "Jane Eyre: The Temptations of a Motherless Woman." Gates 142-55.
Roy, Parama. "Unaccommodated Woman and the Poetics of Property in Jane Eyre." Studies in English Literature 29 (1989): 713-27.
Sullivan, Sheila. Studying the Brontes. Longman: York, 1986.
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