Control and Power trips in Jane Eyre
My thoughts on Jane Eyre: SPOILER ALERT!!
The ending of Jane Eyre was very unsatisfying for me because I think that Jane is on a power trip at the end when she come to take care of Rochester. I say this because from the moment she started living with Mr. Rochester he has been the one who was in control. Jane had no control in the situation she had to just put up with whatever Rochester was doing but she could really do anything about it. When she realizes her feeling for Rochester the dynamic of control seems to get worse because he knows what she’s feeling as well, “…that greater fool than Jane Eyre had never breathed the breath of life: that a more fantastic idiot had never surfeited herself on sweet lies, and swallow poison as if it were nectar” (186). She cannot trust his word it is like a delicious poison filled with manipulation and secrets. I saw this as an aspect of Jane that she couldn’t trust her own feelings or his because she wasn’t in control.
Control is a big part of this book and it seems like almost every character that is introduced want to have control over something or someone. “A week passed, and no news arrived of Mr. Rochester: ten days, and still ha did not come. I was beginning to feel a strange chill and failing of the heart. I was actually permitting myself to experience a sickening sense of disappointment…” (189). This is an example of the control she waits so dutifully for him to return even though they are in no type of commitment or courtship, and I find it interest that he doesn’t bother to let her know that he will be late and I thought that it was because he knows she will be looking for him to come home. This reminds of younger Jane who once again had no control over herself she went along with whatever was there so she could survive. Athough it doesn’t seem like she needs to survive at Thornfield the dynamic of Rochester and Jane reminds me of the one with Jane and the Reeds where she would just do what they asked, “Say “What do you want , Master Reed,” (12). This is an image that Jane has left behind of herself when she escaped that house, but when I look at this scene I don’t see that many differences from the one where she is wondering and wondering where Rochester is, when he will return and how many days have gone by since she saw him last. I say that because she is like a dutiful patron waiting for the master of the house to return and we already know that Jane doesn’t want this image of herself that’s why she left it behind when she left the Reeds.
Jane realizes how Rochester took her back to those days like when she was with the Reeds: He neglect her by leaving for long periods of time and not communication that he will be late upon return. There are lies being told much like the ones that were told to Jane when she was little and there is manipulation and diversion from the truth. She has hope that when they marry things will be different and that she will finally have more control as his wife properly, but then the truth is revealed and we are introduced to Bertha the standing Mrs. Rochester. Jane then realizes that this hope she had for herself for him was a farce there is no way for her to be more than just a pawn. So she makes the decision to leave so she can re-find herself and separate from Thornfield, “Why, Jane? I will spare you the trouble of much talking; I will answer for you- because I have a wife already, you would reply. – I guess rightly?” (344). Feeling between the two are well known there is mutuality in that, but in Jane’s eyes all that has happened is there have been lies and deceit thrown at her, “There is neither room nor claim for me, sir” (345).
This is why I think that what motivates Jane’s return is that she was informed of the situation with Bertha, how she killed herself and how she managed to destroy Rochester in the process as well, “…A beam had fallen in such a way as to protect him partly; but one eye was knocked out, and one hand so crushed that Mr. Carter, the surgeon, had to amputate it directly. He is now helpless, indeed- blind, and a cripple” (494). He is truly now a broken man and he has no control over his life any longer at this point and this is an aspect that draws Jane back. “I had indeed made my proposal from the idea that he wished and would ask me to be his wife: an exception, not the less certain because unexpressed, had buoyed me up, that he would claim me at once as his own” (502). She knows that he has no one and that he is helpless without the aid of someone constantly and with her as his caretaker she can finally have power over him because she knows that he has nowhere he can go, there is only her. It is like a drastic turn of events and now Jane can have what she really wants, which is not only Rochester all to herself but also have the control in the relationship.