Character List

By Clarence Dixon,2014-02-21 13:42
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Character List

Jane Eyre character list and analysis 简爱 人物 分析

Character List

Jane Eyre - The protagonist and narrator of the novel, Jane is an intelligent, honest, plain-featured young girl forced to contend with

    oppression, inequality, and hardship. Although she meets with a series of individuals who threaten her autonomy, Jane repeatedly

    succeeds at asserting herself and maintains her principles of justice, human dignity, and morality. She also values intellectual and

    emotional fulfillment. Her strong belief in gender and social equality challenges the Victorian prejudices against women and the poor.

Jane Eyre (In-Depth Analysis)

    The development of Jane Eyre’s character is central to the novel. From the beginning, Jane possesses a sense of her self-worth and

    dignity, a commitment to justice and principle, a trust in God, and a passionate disposition. Her integrity is continually tested over the

    course of the novel, and Jane must learn to balance the frequently conflicting aspects of herself so as to find contentment.

    An orphan since early childhood, Jane feels exiled and ostracized at the beginning of the novel, and the cruel treatment she receives

    from her Aunt Reed and her cousins only exacerbates her feeling of alienation. Afraid that she will never find a true sense of home or

    community, Jane feels the need to belong somewhere, to find “kin,” or at least “kindred spirits.” This desire tempers her equally intense

    need for autonomy and freedom.

    In her search for freedom, Jane also struggles with the question of what type of freedom she wants. While Rochester initially offers

    Jane a chance to liberate her passions, Jane comes to realize that such freedom could also mean enslavementby living as

    Rochester’s mistress, she would be sacrificing her dignity and integrity for the sake of her feelings. St. John Rivers offers Jane another kind of freedom: the freedom to act unreservedly on her principles. He opens to Jane the possibility of exercising her talents fully by

    working and living with him in India. Jane eventually realizes, though, that this freedom would also constitute a form of imprisonment,

    because she would be forced to keep her true feelings and her true passions always in check. Charlotte Bront? may have created the character of Jane Eyre as a means of coming to terms with elements of her own life. Much

    evidence suggests that Bront?, too, struggled to find a balance between love and freedom and to find others who understood her. At

    many points in the book, Jane voices the author’s then-radical opinions on religion, social class, and gender.

Edward Rochester - Jane’s employer and the master of Thornfield, Rochester is a wealthy, passionate man with a dark secret that

    provides much of the novel’s suspense. Rochester is unconventional, ready to set aside polite manners, propriety, and consideration of social class in order to interact with Jane frankly and directly. He is rash and impetuous and has spent much of his adult life roaming

    about Europe in an attempt to avoid the consequences of his youthful indiscretions. His problems are partly the result of his own

    recklessness, but he is a sympathetic figure because he has suffered for so long as a result of his early marriage to Bertha.

    Edward Rochester (In-Depth Analysis)

    Edward Rochester

    Despite his stern manner and not particularly handsome appearance, Edward Rochester wins Jane’s heart, because she feels they are

    kindred spirits, and because he is the first person in the novel to offer Jane lasting love and a real home. Although Rochester is Jane’s

    social and economic superior, and although men were widely considered to be naturally superior to women in the Victorian period,

    Jane is Rochester’s intellectual equal. Moreover, after their marriage is interrupted by the disclosure that Rochester is already married

    to Bertha Mason, Jane is proven to be Rochester’s moral superior.

Rochester regrets his former libertinism and lustfulness; nevertheless, he has proven himself to be weaker in many ways than Jane.

    Jane feels that living with Rochester as his mistress would mean the loss of her dignity. Ultimately, she would become degraded and

    dependent upon Rochester for love, while unprotected by any true marriage bond. Jane will only enter into marriage with Rochester

    after she has gained a fortune and a family, and after she has been on the verge of abandoning passion altogether. She waits until she

    is not unduly influenced by her own poverty, loneliness, psychological vulnerability, or passion. Additionally, because Rochester has

    been blinded by the fire and has lost his manor house at the end of the novel, he has become weaker while Jane has grown in strengthJane claims that they are equals, but the marriage dynamic has actually tipped in her favor.

St. John Rivers - Along with his sisters, Mary and Diana, St. John (pronounced “Sinjin”) serves as Jane’s benefactor after she runs

    away from Thornfield, giving her food and shelter. The minister at Morton, St. John is cold, reserved, and often controlling in his

    interactions with others. Because he is entirely alienated from his feelings and devoted solely to an austere ambition, St. John serves

    as a foil to Edward Rochester.

    St. John Rivers (In-Depth Analysis)

    St. John Rivers

    St. John Rivers is a foil to Edward Rochester. Whereas Rochester is passionate, St. John is austere and ambitious. Jane often describes Rochester’s eyes as flashing and flaming, whereas she constantly associates St. John with rock, ice, and snow. Marriage

    with Rochester represents the abandonment of principle for the consummation of passion, but marriage to St. John would mean sacrificing passion for principle. When he invites her to come to India with him as a missionary, St. John offers Jane the chance to

    make a more meaningful contribution to society than she would as a housewife. At the same time, life with St. John would mean life

    without true love, in which Jane’s need for spiritual solace would be filled only by retreat into the recesses of her own soul.

    Independence would be accompanied by loneliness, and joining St. John would require Jane to neglect her own legitimate needs for

    love and emotional support. Her consideration of St. John’s proposal leads Jane to understand that, paradoxically, a large part of one’s

    personal freedom is found in a relationship of mutual emotional dependence.

    Mrs. Reed - Mrs. Reed is Jane’s cruel aunt, who raises her at Gateshead Hall until Jane is sent away to school at age ten. Later in her life, Jane attempts reconciliation with her aunt, but the old woman continues to resent her because her husband had always loved Jane

    more than his own children.

    Bessie Lee - The maid at Gateshead, Bessie is the only figure in Jane’s childhood who regularly treats her kindly, telling her stories and

    singing her songs. Bessie later marries Robert Leaven, the Reeds’ coachman.

    Mr. Lloyd - Mr. Lloyd is the Reeds’ apothecary, who suggests that Jane be sent away to school. Always kind to Jane, Mr. Lloyd writes a letter to Miss Temple confirming Jane’s story about her childhood and clearing Jane of Mrs. Reed’s charge that she is a liar.

    Georgiana Reed - Georgiana Reed is Jane’s cousin and one of Mrs. Reed’s two daughters. The beautiful Georgiana treats Jane cruelly when they are children, but later in their lives she befriends her cousin and confides in her. Georgiana attempts to elope with a man

    named Lord Edwin Vere, but her sister, Eliza, alerts Mrs. Reed of the arrangement and sabotages the plan. After Mrs. Reed dies,

    Georgiana marries a wealthy man.

    Eliza Reed - Eliza Reed is Jane’s cousin and one of Mrs. Reed’s two daughters (along with her sister, Georgiana). Not as beautiful as

    her sister, Eliza devotes herself somewhat self-righteously to the church and eventually goes to a convent in France where she becomes the Mother Superior.

    John Reed - John Reed is Jane’s cousin, Mrs. Reed’s son, and brother to Eliza and Georgiana. John treats Jane with appalling cruelty

    during their childhood and later falls into a life of drinking and gambling. John commits suicide midway through the novel when his mother ceases to pay his debts for him.

    Helen Burns - Helen Burns is Jane’s close friend at the Lowood School. She endures her miserable life there with a passive dignity that

    Jane cannot understand. Helen dies of consumption in Jane’s arms.

    Helen Burns (In-Depth Analysis)

    Helen Burns

    Helen Burns, Jane’s friend at Lowood School, serves as a foil to Mr. Brocklehurst as well as to Jane. While Mr. Brocklehurst embodies

    an evangelical form of religion that seeks to strip others of their excessive pride or of their ability to take pleasure in worldly things, Helen represents a mode of Christianity that stresses tolerance and acceptance. Brocklehurst uses religion to gain power and to

    control others; Helen ascetically trusts her own faith and turns the other cheek to Lowood’s harsh policies.

    Although Helen manifests a certain strength and intellectual maturity, her efforts involve self-negation rather than self-assertion, and Helen’s submissive and ascetic nature highlights Jane’s more headstrong character. Like Jane, Helen is an orphan who longs for a home, but Helen believes that she will find this home in Heaven rather than Northern England. And while Helen is not oblivious to the injustices the girls suffer at Lowood, she believes that justice will be found in God’s ultimate judgment—God will reward the good and punish the evil. Jane, on the other hand, is unable to have such blind faith. Her quest is for love and happiness in this world.

    Nevertheless, she counts on God for support and guidance in her search.

    Mr. Brocklehurst - The cruel, hypocritical master of the Lowood School, Mr. Brocklehurst preaches a doctrine of privation, while stealing from the school to support his luxurious lifestyle. After a typhus epidemic sweeps Lowood, Brocklehurst’s shifty and dishonest practices are brought to light and he is publicly discredited.

    Maria Temple - Maria Temple is a kind teacher at Lowood, who treats Jane and Helen with respect and compassion. Along with Bessie Lee, she serves as one of Jane’s first positive female role models. Miss Temple helps clear Jane of Mrs. Reed’s accusations against her.

    Miss Scatcherd - Jane’s sour and vicious teacher at Lowood, Miss Scatcherd behaves with particular cruelty toward Helen.

    Alice Fairfax - Alice Fairfax is the housekeeper at Thornfield Hall. She is the first to tell Jane that the mysterious laughter often heard echoing through the halls is, in fact, the laughter of Grace Poolea lie that Rochester himself often repeats. Bertha Mason - Rochester’s clandestine wife, Bertha Mason is a formerly beautiful and wealthy Creole woman who has become insane, violent, and bestial. She lives locked in a secret room on the third story of Thornfield and is guarded by Grace Poole, whose occasional bouts of inebriation sometimes enable Bertha to escape. Bertha eventually burns down Thornfield, plunging to her death in the flames. Grace Poole - Grace Poole is Bertha Mason’s keeper at Thornfield, whose drunken carelessness frequently allows Bertha to escape.

    When Jane first arrives at Thornfield, Mrs. Fairfax attributes to Grace all evidence of Bertha’s misdeeds.

    Adèle Varens - Jane’s pupil at Thornfield, Adèle Varens is a lively though somewhat spoiled child from France. Rochester brought her

    to Thornfield after her mother, Celine, abandoned her. Although Celine was once Rochester’s mistress, he does not believe himself to be Adèle’s father.

    Celine Varens - Celine Varens is a French opera dancer with whom Rochester once had an affair. Although Rochester does not believe Celine’s claims that he fathered her daughter Adèle, he nonetheless brought the girl to England when Celine abandoned her. Rochester had broken off his relationship with Celine after learning that Celine was unfaithful to him and interested only in his money.

Sophie - Sophie is Adèle’s French nurse at Thornfield.

    Richard Mason - Richard Mason is Bertha’s brother. During a visit to Thornfield, he is injured by his mad sister. After learning of Rochester’s intent to marry Jane, Mason arrives with the solicitor Briggs in order to thwart the wedding and reveal the truth of

    Rochester’s prior marriage.

    Mr. Briggs - John Eyre’s attorney, Mr. Briggs helps Richard Mason prevent Jane’s wedding to Rochester when he learns of the existence of Bertha Mason, Rochester’s wife. After John Eyre’s death, Briggs searches for Jane in order to give her her inheritance.

    Blanche Ingram - Blanche Ingram is a beautiful socialite who des-pises Jane and hopes to marry Rochester for his money. Diana Rivers - Diana Rivers is Jane’s cousin, and the sister of St. John and Mary. Diana is a kind and intelligent person, and she urges

    Jane not to go to India with St. John. She serves as a model for Jane of an intellectually gifted and independent woman. Mary Rivers - Mary Rivers is Jane’s cousin, the sister of St. John and Diana. Mary is a kind and intelligent young woman who is forced

    to work as a governess after her father loses his fortune. Like her sister, she serves as a model for Jane of an independent woman who

    is also able to maintain close relationships with others and a sense of meaning in her life.

    Rosamond Oliver - Rosamond is the beautiful daughter of Mr. Oliver, Morton’s wealthiest inhabitant. Rosamond gives money to the school in Morton where Jane works. Although she is in love with St. John, she becomes engaged to the wealthy Mr. Granby. John Eyre - John Eyre is Jane’s uncle, who leaves her his vast fortune of 20,000 pounds.

    Uncle Reed - Uncle Reed is Mrs. Reed’s late husband. In her childhood, Jane believes that she feels the presence of his ghost. Because he was always fond of Jane and her mother (his sister), Uncle Reed made his wife promise that she would raise Jane as her

    own child. It is a promise that Mrs. Reed does not keep.

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