Reason and Passion in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

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Reason and Passion in Jane Eyre

In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte uses various characters to represent aspects of reason and passion, thereby establishing a tension between the two. In fact, it could be argued that these various characters are really aspects of her central character, Jane. From this it could be argued that the tension between these two aspects really takes place only within her mind. Bronte is able to enact this tension through her characters and thus show dramatically the journey of a woman striving for balance within her character. As a prerequisite for marriage, Jane uses this determination in her relationships with Mr. Rochester and St. John.

Passion and reason, their opposition and eventual
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Jane's passionate nature is nearly entrapped by St John's reason and self control. In a conversation with Jane, St. John says that he is unhappy with parish duties, and that there is a discrepancy between his ambition and his preaching. Like Jane, he must find a way to reconcile the conflicting demands of reason and passion. Jane ends up hearing voice which directs her to return to Rochester, and saves her passionate nature from destruction. "I was growing very lenient to my master: I was forgetting all his faults, for which I had once kept a sharp look-out. It had formerly been my endeavor to study all sides of his character: to take the bad with the good; and from the just weighing of both, to form an equitable judgment. Now I saw no bad. The sarcasm that had repelled, the harshness that had startled me once, were only like keen condiments in a choice dish; their presence was pungent, but their absence would be felt as comparatively insipid" (Bronte, 193). This passage shows passion overcoming reason or judgment.

Bronte uses fire and ice imagery to symbolize reason and passion. Ice may be hewn into any form, where it will remain fixed and perfect as long as it stays frozen. Fire on the other hand can be hard to control. It cannot be molded into exact shapes, it is constantly changing, and if unchecked will consume the ground on which it burns, leaving black cinders and ash. This creates the choice between

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