Passion and Reason in Jane Eyre
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Table of Contents
In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë uses various characters to embody aspects of reason and passion, thereby establishing a tension between the two. In fact, it could be argued that these various characters are really aspects of her central character, Jane, and in turn, that Jane is a fictionalised version of Brontë herself. From this it could be argued that the tension between these two aspects really takes place only within her own head. Brontë is able to enact this tension through her characters and thus show dramatically the journey of a woman striving for balance within her nature.
A novel creates its own internal world through the language that it uses, and this fictional world may be quite independent from the real physical world in which we live. Writing in the style of an autobiography, Brontë distinguishes Jane Eyre, who quite clearly from the purely fictional worlds of Angria and Glasstown, locates her work within the world of Victorian England. But although Brontë's world is undoubtedly based on nineteenth-century society, it should be remembered that the world conjured in Jane Eyre is not reality: it is but a world constructed by Brontë in which to tell a story.
A novel based only on the mores and customs of Victorian society would surely hold limited appeal today, except as a historical document, yet Jane Eyre retains power and force even...