Reason Vs Passion

Being a romantic novel Jane Eyre includes many light and heavy passionate scenes yet at the same time being a realistic autobiography it also includes reason and logic in order to make the novel seem realistic and not very fairytale like. Charlotte Bronte achieves perfect balance between these two contradictory notions by using them alongside each other cleverly disguising one in the other.

Passion and practicality are strong emotions that often control the way people think; passion usually takes the lead when it comes to choosing between passion and reason.  Jane and Rochester are faced with many situations where they have to make a decision either sacrificing passion or reason. Jane usually sacrifices passion as she has morals and self respect. She does not want to be a mistress as she does not like being second best and she wants to be an equal.  Rochester however acts on impulse and so does not make reasonable decisions.

 In the play, the passion scenes begin when Jane becomes governess of Thornfield and meets Mr. Rochester.  The first meeting although it isn’t love at first sight leads to the building up of the romance between these two characters. The first scene where passion is shown evidently when Jane rescues Rochester from the fire started by Bertha on his bed and Rochester asks her to stay even after the fire is put out; “what! Are you quitting me already…?” This shows that Rochester was lonely and he saw some kind of a friend in Jane. He asks her to shake hands with him but he is still not familiar with his inner feelings for her. When Jane and Rochester are in the same room together, the fire in the fireplace seems to grow brighter. This reflects their unknown growing passion for each other as even the fire grows unknowingly.  Jane feels the passion after she leaves from Rochester’s room “a shore sweet as the hills of Beulah;” but her sense takes over and she says “Sense would resist delirium: judgment would warn passion.”

Rochester is a very rebellious character as he does everything that is against society and he proves himself once again when he asks Jane to play charades with him Blanche Ingram; “Will you play?” Jane being a governess is not supposed to “play” or “mingle” with anyone from outside but Rochester disregards this society law and asks Jane to play with him. Again Jane turns down this invitation as she knows her place in society and she knows the laws of society and how they should be followed. “I shook my head.” This shows Jane is a very reasonable lady and she thinks before she acts which is completely opposite to Rochester’s thinking. Jane is very considerate about how the society views her and what they think about her. Used to being rejected by Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst  Jane finds herself trying to be accepted in society by following the laws of the society and behaving according to how the society expects her to behave.

Rochester’s longing for Jane is revealed when Rochester disguises himself as a gypsy and tries to find out Jane’s feelings for him and Jane does inquire about Rochester’s marriage “is it known that Mr. Rochester is to be married?” this unveils the fact that Jane in fact does care for Rochester as she inquires about him. This also shows that she has some feelings for Rochester but she does not accept it because she knows that Rochester is on a higher level than her and she also knows that she is no match against Blanche Ingram, that’s one of the reasons why she is denial of her feelings for Rochester. Jane demands equality and self respect and she knows that she can never be an equal in front of Rochester so she decides to keep her feelings to herself and tries to ignore them as much as possible. When the gypsy tells her about Rochester getting married, she changes the topic “I came to hear my own; and you have told me nothing of it.” She gets offended when she finds out that the gypsy woman was actually Mr. Rochester, “It is scarcely fair, sir” as she didn’t want Rochester to find out that she inquired about him and she feels very awkward.

Rochester gets more and more desperate as each passing chapter and he gets more frantic when the idea of Jane staying away from him comes, he can’t let her go for more than a week; “promise me only to stay a week-“but Jane replies in a diplomatic way saying, “I had better not pass my word: I might be obliged to break it” Rochester again and again proves that he is immature and unruly and Jane keeps proving that she is responsible and has her moral sense in the right place. She doesn’t lead Rochester into believing anything has changed which proves that she is smart and responsible.

The time finally comes when Rochester realises that he loves Jane and he proposes to her after she comes back from Gate shed, “I summon you as my wife: it is you only I intend to marry.” Jane is shocked at hearing this because once again she thinks that Rochester has took this decision in a hurry and that’s the reason she tried to read his face, but when she is completely sure that Rochester loves her, she accepts, “Then, sir, I will marry you.” This again proves that Jane does not take any decision in a hurry even if it is something that she wants.

All the scenes in the novel have been fiery passionate scenes that have always been initiated by Rochester, but the last scene when Jane meets Rochester in Fern dean is a very soft, comforting passion scene which is a perfect ending for a romantic novel; “the muted autumnal delicacy of their reconciliation at Fern dean, poised between laughter and tears.” This scene brings out the emotional side of both Jane and Rochester and this makes the audience empathise with them.

Rochester being a fiery character always chooses passion over reason without thinking twice. Even when he realises that acting on impulse is not always the best thing to do, he does not learn from his mistakes and this affects his relationship with Jane. Jane meanwhile being neither a cold nor fiery character is perfectly balanced and makes the right decisions on the right time without hurrying into anything too fast. She considers the effect that her decision will have on her and those around her as well and this helps her make reasonable decisions. In the end Jane’s moral sense triumphs Rochester’s rebellious nature and at the end of the novel Jane finally tames Rochester and lives an imperfect yet happy life.

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2 thoughts on “Reason Vs Passion

  1. Great title for a blog. I am mid think about the same subject via a different path. ‘ Jane finally tames Rochester and lives an imperfect yet happy life.’ Imperfect yet happy— sums up the ideal human condition to aspire to!!

    • Thanks! Ya I know…At first I just didn’t like the Novel…the setting was very dark and gloomy and I just couldn’t connect with Jane, but later on, I realized that she was a very strong women, and she kept her emotions hidden, in order to not hurt herself…and that’s when I started respecting her…

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