Quote or quotations are representative sentences and lines that give reveals the characters’ beliefs, themes, and concepts to their readers. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre has several quotes which share Bronte’s ideas and thoughts with her readers. Though the novel was written in the Victorian Era, they are related to modern times. Some of the quotes of Jane Eyre have been analyzed below.
Quotes in Jane Eyre
“You have no business to take our books; you are a dependent, mama says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentlemen’s children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mama’s expense.”
John Reed speaks these words when talking to Jane. He is saying to her that she is not equal to him. These lines also show the male dominant society in the Victorian Era and earlier time. He also tries to remind her that she is their dependent and that his mother has taught him about these things. It also indicates that Jane is out of this social fabric created by such prejudicial parents.
“I was a discord in Gateshead Hall: I was like nobody there; I had nothing in harmony with Mrs. Reed or her children, or her chosen vassalage. If they did not love me, in fact, as little did I love them.”
Jane is narrating her ordeal when living with the Reeds. She is stating that she was out of the place in the Gateshead Hall and that everybody felt as if she did not exist. She was not in harmony with the Reed children. Even as a servant, the children did not consider her worth loving. Therefore, Jane did not feel any love for them. In other words, she was not regarded as worthy of being their equal.
“I could not see how poor people had the means of being kind; and then to learn to speak like them, to adopt their manners, to be uneducated, to grow up like one of the poor women I saw sometimes nursing their children or washing their clothes at the cottage doors of the village of Gateshead: no, I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste.”
Jane continues to narrate her ordeal of how the Reeds were treating her. She states that she has been facing various limitations. The major hurdle has been her poverty or relation to the poor class. Although she thinks that she would have been better living on her own, it is a fact that she has realized while she was with the Reeds. However, she could not escape as she was too poor to purchase her much-desired freedom.
“I am glad you are no relation of mine: I will never call you aunt again as long as I live. I will never come to see you when I am grown up; and if anyone 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.”
Here Jane is telling Mrs. Reed how badly she is hurt and that she doesn’t want anyone to know that she is Jane’s aunt. She also warns that when she grows up, she will tell the truth about Mrs. Reed’s treatment towards her to everyone. Jane will not hesitate to tell the truth about the cruelty she suffered at her place. These lines show how she felt when living with the Reeds.
“It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil.”
Helen speaks these lines after she hears the ordeal of Jane. She advises her that she should have better control of her hatred and negative emotions. She tries to tell her that it will be useful for her in this world and benefit her spiritual growth. She is teaching her to learn self-control that will benefit her, in the long run, using various verses from the Bible. Helen also reminds her that evil people will be facing the consequences. Moreover, people who do good will be rewarded eventually.
“And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh;—it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal,—as we are!”
Here Jane meets Mr. Rochester and talks to him about the conventional rules during those times. She accepts that she loves him but also demands him to treat her equally. Jane, being different from the other woman in that era, tells him that she is aware of her beauty as well as wealth. Also, she is talking to him on the same footing through her soul as everyone is equal in the sight of God.
“In the deep shade, at the farther end of the room, a figure ran backwards and forwards. What it was, whether beast or human being, one could not, at first sight tell: it groveled, seemingly on all fours: it snatched and growled like some strange wild animal: but it was covered with clothing and a quantity of dark, grizzled hair wild as a mane, hid its head and face.”
Jane speaks sentences to tell about Bertha Mason. She states that the first time, she only sees it as a figure moving back and forth. It seems to her as if Bertha Mason was a wild animal because it has long hair. The hair had hidden its face and body. Therefore, Jane could not make out if it was a human being or an animal. As she was trying to understand, she also knew that the creature was wearing clothes and is revealed to be Mr. Rochester’s wife, who also has a severe mental disability.
“To live amidst general regard, though it be but the regard of working people, is like ‘sitting in sunshine, calm and sweet’; serene inward feelings bud and bloom under the ray.”
Jane says these lines when she reflects on her teaching career in Morton. It shows her caring attitude toward the working class. It also shows that her experience of living in a prejudicial environment has worked wonders on her soul. The quotations of “sitting in sunshine, calm and sweet” has been taken from Thomas Moore’s poem “Lalla Rookh.”
“I am no better than the old lightning-struck chestnut-tree in Thornfield orchard,’ he remarked ere long. “And what right would that ruin have to bid a budding woodbine cover its decay with freshness?”
Mr. Rochester speaks these words for Jane to tell her that he is now blind. He is talking in metaphorical language to say to her that he cannot see anymore and depends on others. The lines mean Mr. Rochester had always loved her and wanted to spend his life with her. However, he acknowledges that Jane is still young. He didn’t want to force her to marry him, and she was free to go.
“Mr. Rochester, if ever I did a good deed in my life—if ever I thought a good thought—if ever I prayed a sincere and blameless prayer—if ever I wished a righteous wish, I am rewarded now. To be your wife is, for me, to be as happy as I can be on earth.”
Almost at the end of the novel, Jane recollects her life and the troubles she had to go through. She tells Mr. Rochester that her good deeds, noble thoughts, and her prayers were rewarded, finally, as she is married and happy.