Deceit and Dishonesty in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

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Jane Eyre: The Theme of Deceit and Dishonesty

"'The marriage can not go on: I declare the existence of an impediment'" (306). Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, is the story of an orphaned girl who is sent to live at Gateshead Hall with Mrs. Reed and her three cousins, whom Jane doesn't get along with. At the age of ten, Mrs. Reed sends Jane away to Lowood Institution, an all girls' school, where she spends the next eight years of her life. At the age of eighteen, Jane leaves Lowood and accepts the position as governess at Thornfield Hall. Mr. Rochester, the owner of Thornfield Hall, and Jane fall madly in love and plan to get married, but little does Jane know, Mr. Rochester has a terrible secret that could ruin Jane's life.
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Deceit and dishonesty come into play once again after Jane is at Thornfield Hall. Mr. Rochester almost burns in his sleep, but Jane saves him by pouring water on him, which wakes him, and puts out the fire. Jane hearing a strange laugh moments before she found Mr. Rochester burning, believes it to be Grace Poole, a strange servant living at the mansion. Mr. Rochester readily confirms her suspicions by saying, "'Just so. Grace Poole-you have guessed it'" (157). However, the next morning Jane hears a completely different story from Grace Poole. "'Master had been reading in his bed last night; he fell asleep with his candle lit, and the curtains caught on fire'" (160). Jane doesn't understand the confusion of the situation and wonders why Mr. Rochester would hide the truth about his attempted murder. This is a turning point in the novel and Jane is once more affected by deceit and dishonesty as is Mr. Rochester because Jane doesn't trust him anymore.

The riff between Mrs. Reed and Jane is bridged only when Mrs. Reed is honest with Jane, and Jane is called to her aunt's death bed. Jane accepts, and travels back to Gateshead Hall to see Mrs. Reed and find out why she has been asked for. Jane addresses her as "Aunt Reed" even though she vowed never to call her "Aunt" again. Mrs. Reed is bitter towards her, but finally opens up as to why she has sent for Jane. Mrs. Reed admits to, "'twice doing wrong,'" towards Jane and, "'how she regrets them now'"