Charlotte Bronte was born 2 April 1861, third of the six children of Patrick Bronte and Maria Branwell Bronte. In all her childhood was a sad one. Her mother died in 1821, with her absence, she and two of her older sisters were sent to a school. Conditions there were bad, even for the standard of the time. It was not long before both her sisters became ill and were sent home, where they both dies in the spring of 1825. Proceeding this her father brought her and another sister who had recently joined back home, but through her description of Jane’s school it is obvious that she never forgot.
Charlotte married for a very brief period at the end of her life. Her father had forbidden it but she married anyway. This proves that she knew love, unlike many people of her time she was not forced in to her marriage because of money or convenience. This is something that she was very much against, or so we can infer from her writing, refusing to marry St John because she was still in love with Rochester. But, throughout the book we find that there are very few times when she receives the love she gives.
In what might be argued the most important relationship in the book, Jane’s love to Rochester goes unrequited. When Mr Rochester is able bodied he was always “arrogant” and “proud”. He played with Jane a lot. In the first proposal, leading her to believe that he was to marry Blanche Ingram “’Mr Rochester is to be married? ’ ‘Yes; and to the beautiful Miss Ingrm. ’”. He was very cruel to her. Inconsiderate, especially because he doesn’t let Jane know that it is in fact her who he would be marring. He must know that she loves him but he continued anyway.
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His actions were cruel and, because he knew how it would hurt her, so were his intentions. Not only did he not let her know whom he was marring but he was also already married. A betrayal on both sides if he did marry Jane, all that time he was in full knowledge that what he was doing was wrong and would ultimately upset Jane. It shows that he was careless and inconsiderate with Jane’s heart. One reason he might have done this is the times. Men and women were not considered equals. He, as many other men of the time would have seen a wife as a possession to be obtained.
He did not love Jane but merely that he “wants a wife”. When they meet again after there long time of separation Jane tells him of St John he is “envious”, “because your heart is not with me: it is with this cousin-this St John”. Of course it could be possible that he is upset because he believes that Jane loved him, but it seems that that is not an intellectual answer as Jane rejected St John to come after Rochester. The more apparent answer would be that he was jealous of St Johns possession over her. Especially evident because he proposes immediately afterwards, insuring his ownership over her.
It is plain that it is Jane’s purity makes her attractive to Rochester, and St John, rather than her character. This purity is represented throughout the book in many ways: She has not gone against her morals; She is unspoilt by riches, humbled by poverty, yet she has not become brutish from that poverty, she holds elegance. After their separation he talks for a while about his time without Jane. He says, “I want a wife”. This is telling us that he wants a wife, not necessarily Jane, but just the feeling of possession over a woman.
As a strong willed man of the time he would want a wife, if only out of pride. He would feel undermined as a man if he weren’t married. Another point is she calls him “master”; this could be taken as a formality, because he is her employer but it looks more likely that Bronte would write only to give more proof that it is the ownership that was forefront in their relationship. A crippled man such as him would want a young and able woman to look over him through his troubles.
The second time he proposes to her he asks “A poor man you will have to lead about by the hand? . It is clear that it is Bronte, not Rochester speaking at this point. Bronte asks, for the audience and too the audience, both Jane’s and Rochester’s motives. Why does Jane want to marry him? We, as the audience, know that it is because she loves him. Of course it can be argued that Jane herself has other motives, such as money “he was respectable, with much wealth”. However, because the book is written in first person we believe that she can’t hide anything from us. We are lead to believe that she loves him, ”Jane, will you marry me? ’ ‘Yes”.
As well as mentioning, “money” and his “crippled body”, he mentions their “twenty year” age difference. All these seem to have no device but to show us how these things are important to him and forefront in his mind. They could be means to show he is unsure weather she deserves him, but if he was really so worried he would surely refuse to marry her, accepting only her help. But why would age and beauty be so important to him if it wasn’t because he wouldn’t love her otherwise? He both recognises and associates Jane with these, which, incidentally make Jane more pure.
Evidently they are important to him because he wouldn’t want Jane without them, therefore loving her only for her purity. Mr Rochester had the chance to marry another more beautiful girl Blanche Ingram who is much prettier than Jane “She was greatly admired”. In fact Jane is not that pretty at all, she was a plain servant when he met her. This could mean that he always loved Jane, but it dose not prove what for. This might show that he didn’t love her for her looks, instead, maybe, for her attention towards him.
He recognises that Jane, being poorer and less accustomed to riches would give him more attention and need less herself. Rochester himself seems to be greedy, “arrogant” and uncaring towards others. He plays with Jane, taunting her, and never gives much attention to other people. The one person he does dote over was Blanche, and we find later that this was just to spite both Ingram and Jane. So it is easy to come to the deduction that he was never completely in love with Jane, attracted mostly by her looks, age, willingness to help him and purity of soul, all of which he was without.
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