Jane Eyre: A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Three

The students of Lowood School. Engraving by Fritz Eichenberg. Random House, 1943.
The students of Lowood School. Engraving by Fritz Eichenberg. Random House, 1943.

Jane’s Tests

This article continues from A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Two: From Thornfield Hall to Marsh-End.”
 
“Hopeless of the future, I wished but this—that my Maker had that night thought good to require my soul of me while I slept; and that this weary frame, absolved by death from further conflict with fate, had now but to decay quietly, and mingle in peace with the soil of this wilderness.”


In this part of my review of the novel Jane Eyre, I am looking at a particular aspect of Jane’s journey. Typical to the quest tale structure, the heroine encounters challenges that test and strengthen her character along her journey towards finding home. As Eric Solomon has pointed out, a pattern is repeated in each phase of Jane’s journey: “Jane comes into conflict with authority, defeats it by her inner strength, and departs into exile.” After leaving Gateshead, Jane faces four main tests, which originate from Mr. Brocklehurst, Mrs. Reed, Mr. Rochester, and finally St. John Rivers. Each test tends to interrupt Jane’s current life with issues from the past. In some of these challenges, she is supplied a helper. Each incident evaluates Jane’s growth and progress towards acquiring her ultimate goals: independence and home. Continue reading “Jane Eyre: A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Three”