Monday, 9 May 2011

Jane Eyre: Is Love Blind?

Love is blind. It' a common phrase. Is it true?

I did a little research on the phrase and found that it was first coined by Shakespeare. He used it in a few of his plays. The idea is that when a person falls in love, they become blind to the other person's faults. Emotions take over and they fail to see clearly. A research study has actually proven this to be true. The activity in areas of the brain that control critical thought are actually suppressed by love.

Some people think that before you get married, you should keep both eyes wide open and when you marry, keep one eye shut. That might not be such a bad idea.

This is one of the latest issues I've been thinking about in my study of Jane Eyre. When Jane first comes to Thornfield, she definitely takes notice of Rochester's faults, which in my opinion are many. He's honest with her that he has a past he regrets, although he normally doesn't explain them. And on top of that, Jane doesn't find him particularly attractive.

However, as the story progresses, her interest in the man, 20 years older than herself, grows. Interest turns to affection, and affection turns to love. By this time, she completely overlooks any of the faults she previously saw in him. Criticism has fled and love wins. Even when faced with the competition of another woman, Jane doesn't let it faze her. She's more in love with the man than ever. She's consumed by this and quickly begins to idolize the man.

The problem with Rochester is that he's a mysterious man and has a tendency to be deceptive. The reader can see the problem easily, but Jane is blinded to it. She disregards any questionable actions, motives or intentions. When Rochester proposes, she questions how long his love for her will last. He makes it clear that once they're married, she will be all his, attached to him like his watch and chain. He's going to control her. His flowery words and affection often quickly turn to rudeness. This still doesn't bother Jane. She seems to prefer insults to affection. It's almost as if she doesn't want to be or doesn't think she deserves to be properly loved.

Will her eyes be opened before she gets burned? You'll have to read the book for yourself to find out.

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