This is the fifth and final post providing a collection of quotes from Jane Eyre. My hope is to read between the lines and spread the wisdom in these pages crafted by Charolette Brontë in 1847.
Here are the other four parts in case you missed them:
1 – Never let pride stand in the way of doing what’s right.
“I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste.” Narrator (Chapter 3)
Doing the right thing is often difficult because it can come with backlash and judgement from those around us. However, it’s important to remember that facing moments of backlash is nothing compared to the regret that comes with neglecting to do the right thing.
2 – You are strong enough to handle what the world has dealt you.
“Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it. It is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear.” Helen Burns (Chapter 6)
“Why was I always suffering, always brow-beaten, always accused, forever condemned? Why could I never please? Why was it useless to try to win anyone’s favor?” Narrator (Chapter 2)
When going through hard times, it can often feel as if the universe is out to get us. Always remember that you are strong enough to face whatever is thrown your way.
3 – Do not let day to day, petty issues infect your mood.
“I can so clearly distinguish between the criminal and his crime; I can so sincerely forgive the first while I abhor the last; with this creed, revenge never worries my heart, degradation never too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low. I live in calm, looking to the end.” Helen Burns (Chapter 6)
Looking at the big picture in life helps to reduce the significance of the daily stressors that can seem life altering in the moment. Always remember the most important things in life and don’t let anything less get you down.
4 – Do not let fear get in the way of your goals and dreams.
“The fear of failure in these points harassed me worse than the physical hardships of my lot; those these were no trifles.” Narrator (Chapter 7)
“It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world; cut adrift from every connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has quitted. The charm of adventure sweetens that sensation, the glow of pride warms it; but then the throb of fear disturbs it;” Narrator (Chapter 11)
Fear is often the biggest obstacle in the path of reaching our dreams. “What if I fail?” “Will my friends laugh at me?” “Will I be taken seriously?” “Am I good enough?”
Fear is understandable and everyone faces it at some point in life. Yet that feeling of being afraid to fail does not mean you shouldn’t pursue your goals. On the other hand, it probably means you need to go for it. Don’t let fear hold you back, just as Jane continues on her journey is this novel even though she is scared to venture out.
5 – Don’t try to be like everyone else – humans are flawed.
“Such is the imperfect nature of man – such spots are there on the disk of the clearest planet; and eyes like Miss Scatcherd’s can only see those minute defects, and are blind to the full brightness of the orb.” Narrator (Chapter 7)
“Most things free-born will submit to anything for a salary;” Mr. Rochester (Chapter 14)
The goals others have, the items they crave, and the lifestyle they dream of are all irrelevant. What matters is what you want, what your goals are, and how you strive to reach those goals. Advice from others is great, but you should always remember that everyone else has a different dream in mind. One person’s path to success with look absolutely different than another.
6 – The heart’s feelings are not easily changed.
“I could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had ceased to notice me – because I might pass hours in his presence, and he would never once turn his eyes in my direction – because I saw all his attentions appropriated by a great lady, who scorned to touch me with the hem of her robes as she passed – who, if ever her dark and imperious eye fell on me by chance, would withdraw it instantly…” Narrator (Chapter 18)
“There was nothing to cool or banish love in these circumstances, though much to create despair.” Narrator (Chapter 18)
“Blasphemy against nature! Every good, true, vigorous feeling I have, gathers impulsively round him. I know I must conceal my sentiments; I must smother hope; I must remember that he cannot care much for me.” Narrator (Chapter 17)
When heartbroken or craving someone intensely, feeling angry at yourself is never a good response. The heart is going to want people and things that are not good for you, not right for you, or completely out of your reach. Don’t let yourself be mad at your heart for wanting things it shouldn’t. It’s natural to feel this way, so talk about it, write about it, discuss it with a friend, and grow from it.
Anger will never force your heart to change its desires.
7 – Words are much more painful than “sticks and stones.”
“Better tire my limbs than strain my heart…” Jane to herself (Chapter 25)
“And with that answer, he left me. I would much rather he had knocked me down.” Narrator (Chapter 34)
“My rest might have been blissful enough, only a sadheart broke it.” Narrator (Chapter 28)
“I so dreaded a reply that would crush me with despair. To prolong doubt was to prolong hope.” Narrator (Chapter 36)
Words can cut deep and wound the soul. We all have scars on our hearts from the harsh words others have spoken. Always be careful what you say to others because a physical wound will heal, but a wound to the mind can last a lifetime.
8 – The mind holds the most beauty.
“Your mind is treasure, and if it were broken it would be my treasure still…” Mr. Rochester to Jane (Chapter 27)
“My very soul demands you…” Mr. Rochester (Chapter 37)
“…all the sunshine I can feel is in her presence.” Mr. Rochester (Chapter 37)
“I have worn it since the day I lost my only treasure…” Mr. Rochester on his bronze scrag (Chapter 37)
“…this obvious absence of passion in his sentiments toward her, that my ever-torturing pain arose.” Narrator (Chapter 18)
Society is quick to value beauty as a result of the way people look. But the true beauty is found in the soul or the mind; the way a person treats others, the intelligence he/she holds, the quirks that are apparent, the music that she listens to when she’s sad – all of this is what leads to real beauty.
Instead of trying to look more appealing on the outside, we should strive to better our minds because that’s where the true value lies.
9 – Learn from those you admire.
“…she was qualified to give those who enjoyed the privilege of her converse a taste of far higher things.” Narrator (Chapter 9)
“…she was smart in all she did, and had a remarkable knack of narrative…” Narrator (Chapter 4)
“What a smile! I remember it now, and I know that it was the effluence of fine intellect, of true courage…” Narrator on Helen Burns (Chapter 7)
When that feeling of deep admiration hits, it must have some reasoning behind it. Why do you admire certain people and not others? Take the time to evaluate the feelings and learn from those you hold in high regards. Though these people are only human, they may possess qualities you wish to gain yourself. We typically learn best from others.
10 – Never lose hope.
“…I believed in the existence of other and more vivid kinds of goodness, and what I believed in I wished to behold.” Narrator (Chapter 12)
The world can be a terrible place sometimes, but we can’t let the darkness overtake our hopes of finding happiness. No matter what happens, don’t lose your faith in the world and its people. Goodness does exist if only we can learn to look past the dark.
Thank you for reading this post. I appreciate it and would love to hear comments about what others see in this amazing novel.