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Though Jane Eyre is not physically attractive, she possesses a beauty of her own. There is evidently something agreeable about her appearance. Mr. Rochester calls her "quaint, quiet, grave and simple." What Jane lacks in physical beauty, she makes up for in intelligence, wit and strength of character.
Jane's resolution, firmness and tenacity are seen in the way she tries to overcome the oppression which she has to face throughout her life. She is oppressed first by Mrs. Sarah Reed and her son at Gateshead. Their influence follows her at school, where Mr. Brocklehurst makes a vicious and false report about her in front of everyone.
In her stay at Lowood, her capacity for endurance is tested to a great extent. Her good friend Helen Burns offers her advice on how she can evade pain. According to her, Jane is too emotional and should resist the impulse to react in the face of injustice. However, as the novel progresses, the reader finds that Jane's emotions and intuition often guide her to make the right decisions. Besides, Jane is definitely not a person who can settle for a life of staunch piety, such as the one St. John offers her. Therefore, although she admires Helen Burns, she cannot adopt her attitude.
The other important phase of Jane's life is played out at Thornfield. She matures in the way she handles her work. Educating a restless child like Adèle is no easy job, but she gradually becomes proficient. It is also one of the first times that she enjoys a general sense of independence.
Initially, although she is attracted to her master, Mr. Rochester, Jane does not admit her feelings even to herself. Gradually, then, the reader witnesses these two characters coming closer and confronting each other on various issues. Each gets the chance to examine the other's tastes, values and attitude to life. However, there are times when Jane is not entirely confident about Mr. Rochester's feelings for her. This insecurity is reflected in the isolation she faces when Blanche Ingram tries to win Rochester over.
Eventually Mr. Rochester proposes to her and she accepts quite willingly. However, only with difficulty can she see herself as the mistress of the mansion at Thornfield. Her simple tastes and modesty are reflected in the way she shuns extravagant expenditure on her wedding dress and trousseau. She has to face the greatest shock of her life when she learns that Mr. Rochester has a wife. She refuses to give in to the temptation of staying with Mr. Rochester as his mistress. At this point her moral strength and determination are demonstrated in her decision to flee Thornfield. She admits that in the most critical moments of her life, it is only God's guidance that has rescued her.
During the days with the Rivers family, Jane gets the chance to develop further her self-confidence. Not only does she have acceptance from a wholesome family, she is also influenced by the positive way the pupils at her new school respond to her. Jane's episode with St. John is another opportunity for self-discovery. Although she admires his piety, she does not accept his stern outlook. She especially dislikes his tendency to dominate her. Only after much struggle is she able to overcome his influence over her.
Jane approaches Ferndean with renewed love for Mr. Rochester. She is confident that she is an independent woman by now. In fact, it is her independence (as well as her love) that gives her the courage to accept the challenging task of caring for the invalid Rochester. She retains her vibrant sense of wit and humor and comes across as a character that is firm in the face of the worst of adversaries.
Jane is no austere and unemotional woman. She is undoubtedly capable of endurance, wit and courage in critical moments. She believes firmly that there is a star that guides the humble. She trusts in God and does what she perceives to be right. The true subject of Jane Eyre is the moral courage with which Jane confronts her own conflicting passions.