Examples Of Duty In Jane Eyre

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Throughout her life, Jane is expected to conform to a submissive and simple lifestyle according to Victorian conventions. Through the path of duty which befalls her, Jane struggles to restrain her desires and the line between duty and desire eventually blurs.

By Sienna Zerafa

Charlotte Brontë’s classic literature novel Jane Eyre is a Bildungsroman novel, which concentrates on the moral growth of the protagonist Jane. Brontë explores and extrapolates why Jane has difficulty complying to Victorian conventions whilst she is at Gateshead. Furthermore, Thornfield can be seen as a major learning curve, where Jane experiences both duty and desire. Through the use of this delicate balance of the binary opposites, readers are given insight into …show more content…

Brontë continues to foreground the reading of duty throughout this stage of the novel, however, she shows how Jane has grown and become accepting of the duty which befalls her. After Jane’s first day of being a governess at a poor school, she realises the path will be one of hard work and little outcome. “My duty will be to develop [these pupils]: surely I shall find some happiness in discharging that office. Much enjoyment I do not expect in the life opening before me,” (359). The fact that Jane continues her work at the school despite the duty it entails shows readers how Jane has learnt to conform to what society expects of her. More pivotal, however, in Janes final journey to self-actualization is the final hurdle, where she must choose between the duty she feels to accompany St John to India as his wife or the desire that calls her to follow her heart. After continuously declining St John’s request for Jane to live a life of service with him, Jane became certain that it was God’s will for her to agree to this loveless marriage. “I now put love out of the question, and thought only of duty,” (419) Moments after this decision, Jane hears Mr Rochester’s voice in her mind, which makes her heart waver from duty. Here in the novel, Brontë shows how Jane draws on everything she has learnt throughout her life in order to make this final choice, “My spirit is willing to do what is right,” (421). When Jane chooses to follow her heart rather than marry St John, she journeys to find Mr Rochester, only to discover him blind and extremely dependent on other people. As Jane promises to love him, she also undertakes the duty of being his right-hand. Through this ingenious twist, Brontë shows readers that perhaps duty and desire are not so different, as sometimes the two come hand in

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