All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character—perfect concord is the result.
’Ere I had finished this reply, my soul began to expand, to exult, with the strangest sense of freedom, of triumph, I ever felt. In the passage, Jane solidifies her own orphanhood, severing her ties to the little semblance of family that remained to her (“I will never call you aunt again as long as I live,” she tells Mrs. Jane asserts her fiery spirit in her tirade, and she displays a keen sense of justice and a recognition of her need for love. Yet she knows that staying with him would mean compromising herself, because she would be Rochester’s mistress rather than his wife.
I will tell anybody who asks me questions this exact tale. This quotation, part of Jane’s outburst to her aunt just prior to her departure from Gateshead for Lowood School, appears in Chapter 4. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation. His argument almost persuades Jane: Rochester is the first person who has ever truly loved her.
It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.
This passage appears in Chapter 12, in the midst of Jane’s description of her first few weeks at Thornfield.
Then my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third story, backwards and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot, and allow my mind’s eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it—and, certainly, they were many and glowing; to let my heart be heaved by the exultant movement . It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.
Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot.
I will never call you aunt again as long as I live. When she can no longer trust herself to exercise good judgment, she looks to these principles as an objective point of reference. I should suffer often, no doubt, attached to him only in this capacity: my body would be under a rather stringent yoke, but my heart and mind would be free.
I will never come to visit you when I am grown up; and if any one asks me how I liked you, and how you treated me, I will say the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treated me with miserable cruelty. Jane’s allusions to her “madness” and “insanity” bring out an interesting parallel between Jane and Bertha Mason. I should still have my unblighted self to turn to: my natural unenslaved feelings with which to communicate in moments of loneliness. John Rivers has just asked Jane to join him as his wife on his missionary trip to India.
Jane’s imprisonment in the red-room has its psychological counterpart in her emotional suppression, and it is not until she speaks these words to Mrs. Thus Jane asserts her worth and her ability to love herself regardless of how others treat her.
It seemed as if an invisible bond had burst, and that I had struggled out into unhoped-for liberty. Along with familial liberation, the passage marks Jane’s emotional liberation. Not only would she lose her self-respect, she would probably lose Rochester’s, too, in the end.
As she describes the “doom” to which “millions are in silent revolt against their lot” “are condemned,” Brontë criticizes what she believed to be stifling Victorian conceptions of proper gender roles.