Conformity In Jane Eyre

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As much as Jane Eyre can be characterized as a bildungsroman that is meant to illustrate the protagonist’s profound transformation as she comes of age, it is not marked by a change, but rather a balance as the character finds her self through two extremities. In the novel, Jane struggles between her dual personalities; her super ego- which is the part of her personality that calls for conformity, adherence to ethical values and restraint- and her id- the provocative side of her personality that dares her to surrender to temptation and express her passion. Beginning in her childhood, Jane teeters in between the delicate balance as her passion and rigidity both threaten to overcome her character until she finds her true self through the difficulty.…show more content…
In response to every one of Jane’s passionate outbursts, Helen is equipped with the same amount of restraint and morals that she uses to teach Jane to control her emotions. When Jane continues to express her passion and disapproval with Mrs. Reed’s treatment towards her, Helen chastises Jane as she says: “ ‘[Mrs. Reed] has been unkind to you, no doubt; because, you see she dislikes your cast of character...but how minutely you remember all she had done and said to you! What a singularly deep impression her injustice seems to have made on your heart. No ill usage of brands its record on my feelings. Would you not be happier if you tried to forget her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited? Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs’ ” (58). While admitting to Mrs. Reed’s severity towards Jane, she accounts it to Mrs. Reed “dislike[ing] her cast of character”, showing Helen’s forgiving nature as she scolds Jane for her passion and encourages her to withdraw her impulsive fervor and “animosity” in order to pursue a more wholesome lifestyle. By showing how severe Jane’s own impression of her aunt has become through Jane “minutely remembering all that she has done and said to” her as she harps on the past, Helen acts as a balance for Jane, guided by reason and rationality rather than passion. By not only acting as Jane’s friend, but as a mentor and model for proper behavior, she acts as the sanctimonious, almost intangible superego that Jane adopts after controlling her passion. Through her candid and philosophical conversations with Jane, she is able to teach her to control her own emotions through self-restraint and passivity. However, the
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