Jane Eyre Is a Romantic Novel
Jane Eyre can easily be classified as a romantic novel.The term “romantic” usually brings to mind images of love , however, it is much more than that.It is filled with emotion and freedom and can also be seen as the main conflict of the narrative because that is what the characters central struggles evolve around which is why “Jane Eyre” which can easily be classified as a romantic novel.
Throughout the novel romance can be portrayed in many ways such as Berthas acts of arson. She is known as the “madwoman in the attic” and put Mr Rochester through “hideous and degrading agonies” as she went against Victorian morals and commited adultery.
This act of madness cause Jane to save Mr Rochester, and when Jane extinguishes the literal flames it can be seen as a metaphor for the new ones she is about to kindle with Rochester. Berthas arson symbolizes her using the power of sexuality to destroy Rochester’s home however she has unintentially opened a new chapter of love in his life. Sharing the secret of the fire brings them both closer and their increased closeness causes Mr Rochester’s romantic feelings towards Jane to grow, finally resulting in him proposing to Jane adding to the romantic element of the plot.
When Jane learns that Mr Rochester is already married she has to make the difficult decision of wether to leave him and her life at thornfield behind or not. Mrs Fairfax clearly warns Jane of the disagreements she is bound to have with Rochester when she explains to her “Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marrying their governesses”. Jane wishing to uphold the common life of a governess does not make her love Mr Rochester any less but it does create dangerous tension between them.
The tense atmosphere now created may possibly contribute to Jane’s choice to run away from Thornfield which we see later in the story is the path she needed to choose in order to live the life she longed for with Mr Rochester. On the other hand, her decision may not have been made on the terms that it was morally wrong in society to be with a married man, the motive behind it was more likely to be based on her own emotions and love for Rochester. “My hand moved towards the lock: I caught it back and glided on”, this conveys that Jane had powerful feelings for Rochester and could not commit to a man who could not fully commit to her.
She has let her heart over rule her mind and the stubborn tone here highlights that Jane knows she is making the right decision as her emotions always benefit her. This intensity of emotions conveys that “Jane Eyre” can be easily classified as a romantic novel. The decision to leave Mr Rochester adds to the romantic element of the novel as it leads Jane down a path that will have her make decisions that will majorly effect her outcome in life and love. As she moves on to Moor house and meets St. John, he proposes to marry her as she would make the perfect wife for the missionary life that he leads.
The entire reason this shocking marriage is proposed is because St. John firmly thinks that “God and nature intended for a missionary’s wife”. This occurs only because St. John notices that Jane fits the role of a missionary wife and a wife would aid him in pursuing his ultimate goal, to live the common life of a missionary. He does not take Janes feelings into consideration and she refuses this lifestyle. The lifestyles of a governess, missionary, and member of high society cause conflicts that have a meaningful effect on the romantic plot of Jane Eyre. Furthermore like St.
John, Jane’s heart belongs to someone else and she uses harsh imagery to project her emotions and refer to him as “a stranger – unsympathizing alien” and refuses this proposal. Women in the 18th century were expected to marry in order to make something of themselve’s as they had no other role to play in society, so some may have considered this refusal foolish as Jane would have to live a life of solitude and become an outcast. However, Jane’s refusal of a secure and exciting life causes her to follow her heart and once again persue her beloved Mr Rochester which is a crucial part of the romantic plot.
The consequence of the romantic idea of following your emotions evokes changes in Jane’s life that effects the entire plot of the story, highlight that “Jane Eyre” can be easily classified as a romantic novel. Overall it is the romantic elements that Bronte uses such as the power of emotions and moral conflicts that causes “Jane Eyre” to be classified as a romantic novel. They effect the path in which Jane takes and are crucial to the romantic plot of the story which makes the novel unique to others.