The role nature played in Jane Eyre’s life parallels itself in many people’s lives. I cannot count the many instances that I was having a terrible day and the weather outside was absolutely dreary. Often, days began as sunny but turned cloudy and my mood coincided along with it. Nature constantly spoke to Jane; it reaffirmed thoughts and feelings for Jane and it also gave an insight to the reader about characters.
As a little girl, Jane was treated harshly. Mrs. Reed cared little for Jane and this feeling was often reflected in her actions. Instead of punishing her own troublesome children, Mrs. Reed cast all punishment on Jane. One day Jane was placed in the red-room, so she curled up with a book. While slowly browsing through Bewick’s History of British Birds Jane took a special notice of “the solitary rocks and promontories.” (Bronte 2) The reader comprehended Miss Eyre’s feelings of desolation and loneliness. After spending a sleepless night in the room, Jane looked out upon daylight to find “rain still beating continuously on the staircase window.” Her “habitual mood of humiliation, self-doubt, and forlorn depression” were deepened by such gloomy weather. (Bronte 9-10) Much like the beast’s castle in “Beauty and the Beast”, Gateshead, Jane’s home, appeared to have an evil spell that would not allow the days to be sprinkled with sunshine and happiness.
Jane’s horrible, doom filled days at Gateshead came to a halt when Jane was accepted into Lowood Institution. Although Lowood was a more joyous home for Jane, she never considered it home. Jane delighted in one wintery morning when the girls could not wash because the pitchers were frozen. “A change had taken place in the weather the preceding evening, and a keen northeast wind, whistling through the crevices of our bedroom windows all night long, had made us shiver in our beds, and turned the contents of the ewers to ice.” (Bronte 45) Even though it was cold, Jane was thankful to have a residence because she, unlike many of the other girls, had no home in which to turn.
Spring fever erupted at Lowood and Jane encountered many joyful experiences. “Days of blue sky, placid sunshine, and soft western or southern gales” allowed the inhabitants to take walks and enjoy all of the flowers. (Bronte 68) During this wonderful spring, typhus ran rampant among half of the girls, weakening them and even bringing death to an unfortunate few. Even though Jane lost friends, her spirits soared because she had found a new sense of self.
After eight years at Lowood Institution, six years as a student and two years as a teacher, Jane decided it was time to move on. She advertised for a governess position and after several months of endless waiting, she finally received a reply. Mrs. Fairfax of Thornfield Hall wanted Jane to teach Adele, a spirited, young girl from France. Jane happily accepted the position and quickly set out for Thornfield Hall.
“It was a fine autumn morning; the early sun shone serenely on embrowned groves and still green fields; advancing on to the lawn, I looked up and surveyed the front of the mansion.” (Bronte 91) Jane’s new beginning was sweetened by the beautiful scenery. She saw her life in front of her as nothing but blue skies; she could earn her keep and she was away from Lowood, away from the institutional atmosphere. Even though this was a new beginning for Jane, Thornfield Hall had its problems. She noticed the “array of mighty old thorn trees, strong, knotty and broad as oaks…quiet and lonely hills and seeming to embrace Thornfield with a seclusion” that was not expected. (Bronte 91) The effect of nature in this passage foreshadows dilemmas Jane would encounter while residing there.
After residing at Thornfield for several months, Jane finally took a day off and accomplished many errands in town. On her way back home, Jane happened by a stranger on a horse. They spoke and after some discussion, the gentleman discovered she resided at Thornfield. In pointing out the house to the gentleman, both noticed “the moon cast a hoary gleam [on Thornfield], bringing it out distinct and pale from the woods, that, by contrast with the Western sky, now seemed one mass of shadow.” (Bronte 105) This picturesque description forecasted trouble at the mansion. Both went on their separate ways and later reunited at Thornfield, only to discover that the stranger was Mr. Rochester, Jane’s employer.
Mr. Rochester and Jane spent time together and became friends. One evening, Jane heard noises so she left her room to investigate. She discovered Mr. Rochester’s room was on fire and he was asleep inside. Jane entered and extinguished the fire. Mr. Rochester was grateful, but made Jane promise to keep the incident a secret. Jane found this peculiar, but brushed the thought aside. At this point Jane started falling in love with Mr. Rochester. The next day, Mr. Rochester left on business and returned weeks later with several guests. They threw parties every night so Jane rarely had the chance to speak with him. Jane also discovered Mr. Rochester was courting one of the ladies and planned to marry her. Jane was saddened by this news. She was walking one day and noticed “the sky, though far from cloudless was such as promised well for the future: it’s blue where the blue was visible – was mild and settled, and its cloud strata high and thin…” (Bronte 230). Jane was disheartened by this news because she was at peace living at Thornfield; she had found a home.
When walking through the orchard one lovely day, Jane came upon Mr. Rochester. They conversed for a few minutes and their discussion led to a confession of love for each other. Mr. Rochester proposed marriage and Jane joyously accepted. At that moment Jane looked up and saw that “a livid, vivid spark leapt up out of a cloud at which I was looking, and there was a crack, a crash and a close rattling peal.” (Bronte 243) The horse chestnut tree split in half. This let the reader know that the marriage was not meant to be.
The day of marriage arrived and everything was awkward for Jane and Mr. Rochester. At the altar, two men objected to the marriage, saying Mr. Rochester was already married. As it turned out, he was married to a lunatic that he had locked up in a room upstairs. Mr. Rochester told everyone his story and then they departed. Jane ran away during the middle of the night. After hitchhiking to a small town she begged for food and work. “I looked at the sky; it was pure: a kindly star twinkled just above the chasm ridge.” (Bronte 308) This star was like the one the three wise men sought before they found Jesus. The star represented hope for Jane; it was telling her not to give up. The next residence she approached housed a gentleman that was kind enough to let her stay. As it turned out, these people were long lost cousins of Jane. Her uncle died and she inherited a small fortune and split it with her cousins.
Being rich, however, did not change Jane. She still loved Mr. Rochester and heard him call to her in the middle of the night. She left her new-found family to find him. She returned to Thornfield, but found only rubble of the house. She learned that one evening the wife got out and set the house on fire Everyone exited safely, but Mrs. Rochester went up on the roof. Mr. Rochester followed after her, but when he got there she leaped off the side of the building. Mr. Rochester got caught inside on his way down and suffered injuries. He lost his sight and had his left hand amputated, but he was still alive. Jane traveled to his new residence and reunited with him. Once again he proposed in a garden like the first time, and Jane accepted. Jane “described to him how brilliantly green [the fields] were; how the flowers and hedges looked refreshed; how sparkling blue was the sky.” (Bronte 241) Everything was settled and they were married. From this marriage came one son. Eventually Mr. Rochester acquired some sight and was able to enjoy life more.
Nature plays a part in the general mood of the book. People today should watch for clues as shown in the novel to guide their lives. God uses many mysterious ways to let you know if something is right or wrong; nature is just one of them.