A Psychosexual Study of Charlotte Bronte Novels
Jane Eyre, the orphan girl who becomes the protagonist of the most influential novel written by Charlotte Bronte, is an example of independent and successful woman of the century. The novel depicts the gradual growth of the angry rebellious ten year old orphan girl, to an independent young woman .The main theme in Jane Eyre is the quest for a family, a sense of belonging .Belongingness emerge from experiences and notions of identity, acceptance and understanding . Jane as a woman struggles to attain her identity in the midst of temptations and isolations.
According to Sandra M Gilbert Jane’s life is a pilgrimage or progress toward s selfhood”. At the same time Jane wants to be an independent woman .She suffers a lot from her own uncle’s family. The life with them is arrogant and suffocating among the three Reeds children. I n an unfortunate moment she even utters the words. “I will never call you aunt again as long as I live .I will never come to visit you when I am grown….”. Along with familial liberation the passage marks Jane’s emotional liberation. Throughout the course of the novel Jane searches for a place that she can call home .The Reeds family considers Jane as an unwanted intruder and inferior.
The intensification of Jane as an woman starts from the Reeds . The next place that come s to her mind as a home is The Lowood School , a school for the orphan girls, run by a self-righteous clergyman. Because of the rudeness of the school master and his emphasis on discipline it became an antithesis of her ideal home. But Mrs. Temple is the image of a fairy good mother than anyone because she gathers the love and compassion none else had ever given them. The moment she becomes acquainted with Rochester she beginsn to build a new home for her at Thornfeild hall.
But the road towards a happy ending is not easy for Rochester and Jane. Although Jane is in very much love with Mr. Rochester she has limitations .She is helpless to pour out the whole love on him as she feels. According to Charles Burkhart “love is the religion in Jane Eyre.”When she realizes the painful truth that Rochester is legally married, her dreams are shattered. But she has such capability to suppress her emotions and lust with morality and a sense of duty. Jane wishes to live with Rochester only as his mistress . Anything below that is unacceptable .The experiences from her childhood has taught her to give more to sense of right and wrong for her personnel desire. However because of the strong passion for him it is impossible for her to resist him and her own desires, if she remains there. She is reluctant to accept anything which offers love for her own ,but urges something of her own. Belonging to someone , having something precious as a possession always makes her happy. Thus Jane when leaves Thornfeild she sacrifices her personnel happiness in order to save both from committing a sin that would destroy the purity of their love.
Bronte sets Jane on the way to self discovery, with Rivers cousins whom she discovers after leaving Thornfeild .There she come to her full capacity as a cousin and a teacher . But the love toward s Rochester drag her to Thornfeild . When she returns, only the blackened ruins of Thornfeild welcomes her. In Harold Blooms words” Jane’s determination and wit wins her the husband she so intensely love .Jane Eyre commends on the morality and prejudices of the time and ultimately tells the tale of Jane’s search for self”.
Through out the novel Jane faces many hardships that truly tested her spirit and integrity. Jane was a free willed feminist heroine of 19 th century.S he really comes to Jane Eyre of Charlotte Bronte through the pages of the book. Helen Moglan identifies Jane with the authress.”Charlotte’s relationship with Branwell and with her father ,her sense of isolation and alienation,the intensity of her imaginative functioning and yearning sexuality a religious aspiration that transcended traditional belief, all are expressed in a fictive form ,which like metaphors and symbols of dream make reality luminous ,all are filtered ,Jane’s consciousness and described in her voice.”
Gilbert, Sandra M:-Jane Eyre And The Secret Furious Love making ;A Forum On Fiction Summer,1988.Burkhart, Charles:- Charlotte Bronte A Psychosexual Study of her novels;London,1973
Bloom ,Harold:-Modern critical interpretations Jane Eyre,Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
Moglan ,Helen :-Charlotte Bronte The Self conceived,New York,Norton,1984.