Social Class In Jane Eyre

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Based on Jane Eyre’s early life, one’s status, class, and position are all determined at birth. During her time under Miss. Reed’s care, Bessie continually reminds over again that “if [Miss. Reed was] to turn [Jane] off, [Jane] would have to go to the poor-house” (16). From the society’s view, status change and any attempts to climb the social ladder are disreputable. The reprimanding tone Bessie applies heightens Jane’s silent understanding of her position within the household. Driven into her mind since birth, the public’s opinion about social classes becomes clear: the poor longed while looking up at the rich who expected honor and recognition. The constant emphasis on social class around Jane has even influenced her own way of thinking…show more content…
While conversing with Mr. Rochester, Jane declares “[his] claim to superiority depends on the use [he has] made of [his] time and experience” (157). Affirming that status is irrelevant, Jane is able to convince Mr. Rochester of her wisdom, in spite of her poor background. Moreover, her subtle tone suggests a challenge to Mr. Rochester and his past - was he truly superior to Jane? Many characters in the book tend to judge first on the class as Jane does, yet after getting to know Jane, they change their perspective from plain and poor to more respected. Yet, while social class, age, and experience divide Jane and Mr. Rochester, their relationship makes Jane waver in her ideals. Amid their conversation, Mr. Rochester questions, "You are my little friend, are you not?" (250) and Jane responds in a roundabout way, "I like to serve you, sir, and to obey you in all that is right”. Mr. Rochester subtly questions if they could bypass status, therefore, when Jane avoids answering directly, she accents their difference in status and hesitates to cross the boundary between them. While not saying ‘no’, she also does not say ‘yes’, implying there is room to grow more fervent and confident in the…show more content…
Rochester face the heavy expectations of social class and begin to shape their marriage into a dream. Narrating a fairy tale to Adele, Rochester says “'Oh,' returned the fairy, 'that does not signify! Here is a talisman will remove all difficulties;' and she held out a pretty gold ring” (308). The metaphor stresses how Mr. Rochester views Jane as a woman worth overcoming the social barriers. Also, the supernatural nature of the story highlights Mr. Rochester’s elated mood towards the wedding while reflecting the absurdness of the idea. Rochester believes that their marriage will erase his past and that he can be redeemed, therefore, when Jane refuses to stay at Thornfield, her rejection is heightens Mr. Rochester’s despair. On the other hand, when Mr. Rochester confesses his past marriage, Jane admits, “Reader, I forgave him at the moment and on the spot… yet, not in words, not outwardly; only at my heart’s core” (344). Unlike Mr. Rochester’s enthusiasm about breaking class and status, Jane lets those ideals hold her back and cower. Rarely does she address the reader, so when Jane reveals her most inner feelings, they are portrayed as pure and genuine. Furthermore, her honest revelation intensifies the complex conflict within herself; to leave or to stay in Thornfield. By keeping her thoughts in her heart, she resolves to leave and spare Mr. Rochester of any social scorn she suspects due to their

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