I’ve been having a hard time lately, 2020 was pretty harsh on all of us. I spend a lot of time alone thinking, reflecting and having panic attacks. But the in-home isolation isn’t the only thing that we went through. I’m sure most of you if not all, lost someone this year. Whether it was from the pandemic or simply fought or lost the spark we all lost someone in 2020. And when losing something creeps inside your head and makes you wonder; was it my fault? Or what’s wrong with me? And sometimes the answers for this question come from the strangest places.
This past week I had to do a presentation on the novel Jane Eyre. While reading it and analyzing it for my project, I felt like it spoke to me. This story is about a little orphan girl that goes from a boarding school, to being a teacher and then a governess, and finally achieves independence. I think what spoke to me in this book was the way Bronte wrote Jane. She was a little uneducated girl that worked hard, educated herself and followed her roles models examples. To later become a strong independent woman.
The importance of a strong role model
Throughout the novel jane changed a lot and she was constantly improving. When she first went to the boarding school, she met two important female characters that shaped her personality. The first one being Miss Temple, the head mistress of Lowood. Miss Temple serves as a mother figure mentor and friend to Jane. She taught jane how to be an intellectual and passionate woman. She is calm, kind and helped her students become the best versions of themselves. Later in the novel Jane Eyre becomes a teacher herself. She reflects miss Temple with her behavior and empathy towards her students.
The second role model for Jane Eyre was her friend Helen. While she was only a few years older that jane, she was very wise. She was always so calm and collected and that puzzled jane. She didn’t know how her friend could hold her anger and don’t lash out when being provoked. As jane was wild and intense, she learned from Helen the importance of collecting yourself. Helen was a strong character that hard firm beliefs and acted upon them. She gave back kindness and good into a world that treated her badly.
While I may not entirely agree with the way the behaved all the time. I still see how important is for little girls to have strong role models. To guide and mentor them. And some day I wish I could be one. I hope I can get to a point in my life where little girls learn from me and wish to become as strong and inspiring as I shall be.
Your worth isn’t defined by others
Another thing that Helen taught jane is why and how she was so collected. Helen told her that the reason what others think of her. As when she gets punished or called names, she isn’t affected. She doesn’t let those harsh words get to her. Because she knows what she is made of and what others may say doesn’t change it. Jane Eyre is advised to love her enemy so she can find peace.
I learned from those characters that I have work on myself first to be able to reach peace. I have to forgive the ones who hurt me and realize that what others do to me, doesn’t affect my self-worth. My self-worth is within me and I am the only one who controls it. If I approve of myself and I am happy with the way I am, it means that I’m on the right track. The only person that has to be proud of me, is me.
Your happy ending is written by you
My favorite thing about Jane Eyre is the ending. While it has the typical happy ending where the main characters get married, Bronte added a special touch to it. The main characters can’t get married until they become equal.
They both have to part and change to later be united, once again. Mr. Rochester has to pay for the mistakes of his past to become worthy of jane. And jane has found her freedom and independence all alone. She reaches a point where is she free to do as she pleases. She has authority, wealth and class. But she still choses Mr. Rochester. As he doesn’t complete her and she doesn’t need him in her life, but rather wants him. She can go on and live without him but she chooses not to. Because of the true love that ties them together, forever.
I think that this is a rather modern approach to love, one that we should all look up to. We need to find someone that complements our life and not complete it. As we should be already complete on our own.