Charolette Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a masterpiece full of amazing life lessons. Here is the second collection of quotes from this novel that provide invaluable advice for anyone willing to read the lines and listen.
If you missed Part One, check it out.
1 – Life is too short to stress.
“Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness – to glory?” Helen Burns (Chapter 8)
This quote is coming from a child often scorned for little reason and soon to die from a terminal illness. She knows her life is especially short and sees each day as a special gift no matter what unfortunate things happen. For those of us with many years left, we really need to learn to appreciate each day as a chance to live. Gratefulness goes a long way in de-stressing the modern life.
2 – Beauty is much deeper than outward appearance.
“..a beauty neither of fine color, nor long eyelash, nor pencilled brow, but of meaning, of movement, of radiance. Then her soul sat on her lips, and language flowed, from what source I cannot tell.” Narrator (Chapter 8)
“…he seems to have more length of limb than vivacity of blood or vigor of brain.” Narrator (Chapter 17)
“But my curiosity will be past its appetite; it craves food now.” Mr. Rochester (Chapter 17)
“She was very showy, but she was not genuine. She had a fine person, many brilliant attainments; but her mind was poor, her heart barren by nature…” Narrator (Chapter 18)
“She was not good, she was not original…She advocated a high tone of sentiment; but she did not know the sensations of sympathy and pity.” Narrator (Chapter 18)
It might sound all too cliché to say that attractiveness should be based on a person’s personality rather than his or her level of beauty. In reading Jane Eyre, we see that this issue of personality over appearance is a timeless debate.
In the novel and in real life, most happy couples’ relationships go much deeper than having pretty faces. Just because a person is gorgeous with a perfect body does not mean that he or she is a good person deserving of your eternal love. We must learn to look deeper into people’s souls when choosing friends and significant others.
3 – Make the most out of life.
“…her spirit seemed hastening to live within a very brief span as much as many live during a protracted existence.” Narrator (Chapter 8)
This quote, again, is regarding a child living an extremely arduous life. Yet, Miss Helen Burns smiles through her pain and still manages to enjoy what little joys life has given her. If a child like this can learn to make the most of what she’s been given, than so can we.
4 – Do more of what makes you happy.
“I feasted, instead, on the spectacle of ideal drawings which I saw in the dark; all the work of my own hands. “ Narrator (Chapter 8)
We should all strive to do more of the things that make us forget to eat. Those are the activities that will bring us true happiness and lead us to enjoy our mundane lives more and more each day. Search to find a passion and never stop pursuing what you love.
5 – Who you are with is more important than what you have.
“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” Narrator quoting Solomon (Chapter 8)
The people we are with whether it’s at home, on vacation, at work, or suffering on the side of the street can make or break the entire experience we’re living. We have all probably been on miserable vacations where we reside in a beautiful place yet spend the entire time on edge because we are with negative people who make us grumpy or anxious.
On the other hand, we have all likely experienced a nice time at work occasionally with coworkers or clients who make us laugh though we are in the midst of mundane labor.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, the experience is typically only as good as the people along for the ride with you.
6 – There is much to see in this world and yearning to experience all things in life is normal.
“I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse to seek real knowledge of life amid its perils.” Narrator (Chapter 10)
“…the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes.” Narrator (Chapter 12)
“It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity; they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.” Narrator (Chapter 12)
“It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them; if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.” Narrator on Women (Chapter 12)
“To pass its threshold was to return to stagnation…” Narrator on Thornfield (Chapter 12)
Nowadays we can look at pictures of far away places on the internet, but there’s still nothing better than going to those places and experiencing them for ourselves. It’s perfectly normal to want some adventure and when the itch to travel comes, nothing will ease the ache other than buying a ticket and heading out for a new adventure.
7 – Like it or not, some people just are the way they are and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
“Partly because it is his nature – and we can none of us help our nature; and partly, he has painful thoughts, no doubt, to harass him, and make his spirits unequal.” Mrs. Fairfax (Chapter 13)
“But unimpressionable natures are not so soon softened, nor are natural antipathies so readily eradicated…” Narrator (Chapter 21)
Sometimes it’s hard to deal with people that are difficult or that seem to always disagree. The best thing to do is understand that he or she is the way he or she is. Accept this fact, don’t try to argue with him/her, and move on. You will be at peace.
8 – Never blame yourself for the actions of others.
“His changes of mood did not offend me, because I saw that I had nothing to do with their alteration; the ebb and flow depended on causes quite disconnected with me.” Narrator (Chapter 14)
If someone is rude to you without cause or reason, never blame yourself. We have the power to control our own actions, but never the power to affect the way others around us act. It’s hard to let go of trying to cheer someone up or to make a person like us when they are seemingly bothered by our presence, yet we can’t let these actions of others bring us down or lead to distress.
9 – Do not trouble yourself with things out of your control.
“…but where is the use of thinking of it, hampered, burdened, cursed as I am?” Mr. Rochester (Chapter 14)
The world is not always great, and terrible things often occur across all walks of life. A good way to keep the floods out of our own personal minds is to accept that many things are far beyond our control. If something can be done about a rough situation, that’s great. Go out and take of it. But if not, if there’s absolutely nothing you can do to improve the situation, move on. Try to make the most of what you can change and don’t worry about the rest.
10 – Expectations only bring disappointment.
“…expectation has been so long baffled that it is grown impatient.” Jane on wanting to see Mr. Rochester badly.(Chapter 16)
“I was actually permitting myself to experience a sickening sense of disappointment…” Narrator (Chapter 17)
“I began to cherish hopes I had no right to conceive…” Narrator (Chapter 22)
“I feared – or should I say hoped? – the allusion to me would make Mr. Rochester glance my way; and I involuntarily shrunk further into the shade; but he never turned his eyes.” Narrator (Chapter 17)
Live life everyday with a fresh mind. Never play scenes in your head of how you’d like things to go or fantasize of how life will be if you ever win the lottery when most of us are never even going to play the lottery. All this does is create high expectations of life that are unrealistic and damaging. This destroys our ability to be grateful for what life has given us.
If you haven’t read Jane Eyre yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. These quotes above and those in Part One are the lines that stuck out to me the most. The best way to learn is to pick up the novel yourself and fill your brain with its wisdom.
Thank you for reading this post. ^_^