Passion versus reason can be seen throughout the whole novel but Charlotte Bronti?? has mainly highlighted it in section three. The main characters who undergo passion and reason are Jane, Rochester and St. John Rivers. Passion mainly reflects on Jane and Rochester because it’s their passion that brings them back together. Reason or duty mostly reflects on St. John Rivers, he is the man who proposes to Jane to join him to do missionary work in India because he believes that it is Gods will that sent Jane to him neither as a cousin, nor a friend but as a wife to a missionary.
The contrasts between these two are that Jane decides her fate due to passion while St. John decides his fate mostly on reason and duty. Passion versus reason is explored in this novel in many ways. The two main relationships between passion and reason is the relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester and St. John and Jane. Jane is very much the main character of the novel. She searches, not just for romantic love, but also for a sense of being appreciated. Jane’s battle between passion and reason can be seen when she thinks about what to do after finding out about Rochester’s wife, Bertha Mason.
Her passion tells her she loves Rochester, so she should stay with him and they could live eternally together till the end of time, however the reason side of her shows how disgraceful and unacceptable it would be to live as Rochester’s mistress because he already is married to Bertha, resulting her to leave him. Jane’s has an extremely strong sense of discipline and morality, so in this situation reason takes over her passion and she leaves him. “I forgave him at the moment and on the spot… I forgave him all: yet not in words, not outwardly; only at my hearts core. ” Jane’s passion and love for Mr Rochester is shown here.
Even though he has hurt her greatly, she still finds it in her heart to forgive him. She does tell not tell him this, because she knows she will have to leave him, and acknowledging the fact that she still loves him would make it harder. Even though the reason takes over her passion she still has emotions towards Rochester, but her stubborn quality takes over her conscience and gains a victory towards reason. “Oh, I know! You won’t kiss the husband of Bertha Mason? ” Mr Rochester says this because he knows Jane still loves him, but judgment is telling her not to stay with him.
Mr Rochester is more passion than reason. He believes that even though he is married, marrying Jane is not a sin to Gods eyes because he believes that he is doing a big sacrifice by taking care and attending to his wife, Bertha. In his eyes Jane is the happiness and joy. She is the one he was being waiting for. He doesn’t want reason to take over duty like it did with Jane. He is trying to give reason the blind eye. In his judgment, marrying Jane is not a sin, but it is a step towards helping another innocent, lonely human being such as Jane.
I longed to be his; I panted to return: it was not too late … I had injured – wounded – left my master. I was hateful in my own eyes. Still, I could not turn, nor retrace one step. ” This shows how much Jane honestly loves Rochester and would like to stay with him. It is almost unbearable for her to know that she hurt him. Even when she has left, she pauses and wonders if she has done the correct thing. If she has made the right decision by leaving him. Is reason more important than passion, and could she be mistaken by the decision and regret it. This leaves Jane to think about her decision.
Yet we could see that reason is takes over passion, however passion is trying it’s best to fight back and gain a victory. When Jane was accepted into the Rivers family, and after she opened the village school she learns that she has everything she needs. Her house is comfortable and she enjoys the company of Diana and Mary. She was occupied with the school and time did pass by, and she knows leaving Thornfield was the right decision. This shows that she is happy with the decision she made, however she is not.
Reason for this is her eternal emotions towards Rochester. While I looked, I thought myself happy, and was surprised to find myself ere long weeping … For the doom which had reft me from adhesion to my master” In the above quote, even though Jane seems to be happy, her passion is still with Rochester and a want to return to him, which makes her very unhappy. This shows that her decision to leave Thornfield, having being reason over passion is not an excellent one because duty is causing her pain and regret. So reason could have its disadvantages, causing her to regret her decisions, her emotions haunting her of Mr Rochester.
Another main relationship which shows us the contrast between passion and reason is the relationship between Jane and St. John Rivers. St. John and Jane share a peculiar relationship. At first they are strangers to each other, then they become friends and then find out that they are cousins and finally St. John even proposes to her to marry him and become a missionary’s wife and go with him to India to do missionary work for he says it is Gods will; “God and nature intended you for a missionary’s wife. It is not personal, but mental endowments they have given you: you are formed for labour, not for love.
A missionary’s wife you must – shall be. You shall be mine. I claim you, not for pleasure, but for my sovereign’s service” Jane at first refuses to marry him but approves to traveling to India but not as a wife but as his sister. Later Jane tells St. John that she will marry him; however as soon as she told him this statement, she begins to hear Rochester’s voice in the air and runs from St. John. Here, the battle between passion and reason concerns the decision to marry St. John and go with him to India.
Jane’s does not wish to marry St. John, as he would not love her, though merely approve of her actions. It would appear reasonable to marry St. John if she did go to India yet she wants a marriage where there is passion and commitment involved. Leaving with St. John to India would also mean that she would never see Rochester again; she believes he has left England already and so there would be no reason to remain in England searching for her true love, however she still loves him and is hoping for a chance were she could join up with him and live a passionate and happy life.
In the third section of the novel we see that Jane is the perfect balance between passion and reason because she left Rochester for reason, which was because of Bertha Mason. Yet as she lives with the Rivers she learns to control her reason over passion. Ultimately resulting her to gain a long expected victory which was to live happily with Rochester.