A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Four

Jane Eyre SceneHome at Ferndean

This continues from “A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Three: Jane’s Tests”
“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest—blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, anymore than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together.”

Unlike the typical quest tale, Jane Eyre’s journey consists of a series of calls and departures, each one bringing her one step closer to finding a home. In a happy home, there exists a healthy balance of security, duty, and freedom. Jane’s search is for a home where she can be both useful and loved, and where she can enjoy a sense of security and belonging while also retaining her independence. As a child at Gateshead, Jane was dependent on people with whom she felt neither a sense of love nor belonging. At Lowood, she became useful but was still a dependent. At Thornfield, she was useful and also loved, but not yet independent. At Marsh-End, she was able to be useful and independent, and even discovered a sense of belonging, but her life still lacked the security and love which her soul required. By the time Jane joins Rochester at Ferndean, she has become independent and is able to serve him on a level of equality. She tells him, “I love you better now, when I can really be useful to you, than I did in your state of proud independence.” Their new relationship is one of mutual benefit rather than subservience and dependence.

Just as the hero in the quest tale returns bringing back the “boon,” when Jane returns to Rochester, she seems to administer a life-giving elixir. As she describes it, “All I said or did seemed either to console or revive him […] It brought to life and light my whole nature: in his presence I thoroughly lived; and he lived in mine.” She now experiences what it is “to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.” In the end, Jane overcomes her apparent disadvantages and finds her place in society while preserving her own identity and integrity, as well as a home where she can truly live, love, and be loved.

I have included Jane Eyre on my list of fictional works I believe every Christian should read. After you’ve read the book, check out all the film adaptations of it! Here are few to consider:

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What is your favorite part of the story of Jane Eyre?