The novel Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte consists of continuous journey through Jane’s life towards her final happiness and freedom. Jane’s physical journeys contribute significantly to plot development and to the idea that the novel is a journey through Jane’s life. Each journey causes her to experience new emotions and an eventual change of some kind. These actual journeys help Jane on her four figurative journeys, as each one allows her to reflect and grow.
Jane makes her journey from Gateshead to Lowood at the age of ten, finally freeing her from her restrictive life with her aunt, who hates her. Jane resented her harsh treatment by her aunt. Mrs. Reed’s attitude towards Jane highlights on of the main themes of the novel, the social class. Jane’s aunt sees Jane as inferior, who is less than a servant. Jane is glad to be leaving her cruel aunt and of having the chance of going to school.
At Lowood she wins the friendship of everyone there, but her life is difficult because conditions are poor at the school. She has come to be respected by the teachers and students, largely due to the influence of her teacher, Miss Temple, who has taken a part as a mother, governess, and a companion. Jane has found in Miss temple what Mrs. Reed always denied her. Also at Lowood Jane confront another main theme of the novel, the natural violence, which is depicted by Bronte then typhus kills many of the students including Jane’s best friend, Helen Burns. This scene is especially important, because it makes Jane stronger, which is appropriate, as mentally strong people cope with violence in a more rational way.
As Jane grows up and passes the age of eighteen, she advertises herself as a governess and is hired to a place called Thornfield. Although journeying into the completely unknown, Jane does not look back, only forward to her new life and her freedom at Thornfield. This particular journey marks a huge change in Jane’s life; it’s a fresh start for her.
Another important journey Jane makes is from Gateshead back to Thornfield having visited her aunt Reed on her deathbed. By then Jane realizes that she loves Rochester. A key theme is raised here, Jane fierce desire to love and to be loved. She feels alone and isolated when she has no friends around her. This is a sharp contrast compared to other characters’ search for money and social position. These contrasting themes strengthened with every journey she makes.
When returning to Thornfield Jane is unhappy, but keeps her promise to Mr. Rochester and his daughter. She believes at this point that Mr. Rochester is going to marry Blanche Ingram, and that she will have to leave Thornfield and never see Mr. Rochester again. However, Mr. Rochester offers his hand in marriage to Jane, but her happiness is short-lived after finding out that he is still married to Bertha. Although so many terrible things are happening to her, her spirit remains unbroken. Jane flees from Thronfield and Mr. Rochester.
Jane hearing Rochester’s voice calling her prompts her final journey from St. John to Thornfield. Jane and Rochester’s relationship blossoms once again, but differently than before. In the past, Jane felt like an inferior to Rochester because he was her employer and was wealthy. Jane now feels at perfect ease, Rochester has become a better man because of his disabilities.
Ultimately, these four journeys mirror Jane’s four emotional journeys. She transforms from an immature child to an intelligent adult. Jane also changes from innocent and naive to mature and strong-willed person. All of her experiences teach her how to love and feel loved and to discover her true family roots.