Although other characters occasionally claim that Jane is beautiful, her beauty is always related to her mood or her character; it’s an "inner beauty" that the reader can only understand because Jane is a "plain, Quakerish governess" on the outside.

 


Comments

Emily R.
02/13/2013 8:40am

Disagree, Jane is descibed this way by those who don't know her well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder when Rochester falls in love with Jane he says,"You are a beauty in my eyes and a beauty just the dedessire of my heart" pg 298.

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Rubab T
02/13/2013 6:43pm

I disagree because when Mr.Rochester says"You are a beauty in my eyes and a beauty just the desire of my heart"(Bronte). Mr. Rochester is talking about Jane's inner beauty and how she is different from the people around him.

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Ryan S.
02/27/2013 1:31pm

I agree with Emily, in Chapter 17, she is mistreated by Blanche Ingram and Rochester's other guests. They don't really know her, they just know she is not wealthy, so they pick on her just based on that, without getting to know her inner beauty.

Amanda C.
03/01/2013 8:58pm

Yes, I agree that Rochester is talking about Jane's inner beauty in this quote. Also, before he loved Jane he said (after Jane bluntly told him he was not handsome), " you are not pretty any more than I am handsome" pg 149. I do not think he highly regarded her appearance.

Karis P
03/01/2013 1:31pm

By saying "you are a beauty in my eyes," Rochester could be saying that she is beautiful to him but maybe not to others. Jane is mentioned to be very plain, but she chooses to be this way. She has opportunities to be more extravagant but chooses to remain more simple.

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Mackenzie M.
02/13/2013 8:56am

The reader doe scome to understand Jane as having more of an inner beauty than an outer one. This is shown during Jane's encounter with Bessie before she leaves for Thornfield. Bessie says, "you were no beauty as a child," but then goes on to claim, "I dare say you are clever, though." Bessie saw the inner beauty in Jane that some people did not see.

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Dani W.
02/23/2013 1:47pm

Agreed, also Rochester says to Jane on pg.149, "you are not pretty any more than I am handsome," he is aware that he is not a good-looking man, thus implying that Jane isn't pretty. But he is fascinated by her conduct, stating that it was "an unusual -to me- a perfectly new character, was yours: I desired to search it deeper and know it better" (p.362). Rochester grew to love Jane for her inward beauty rather than her outward appearance.

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Jasmine T
02/14/2013 5:38pm

It is Jane's outer appearance that makes her beautiful on the inside. "Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart!" (pg. 291)

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Nick M.
02/27/2013 7:37am

I believe that this best exemplifies that Jane's true beauty is derived from within. In this quote Jane is stating that based on what the world around her sees as important, wealth, appearances, and being under the norms of victorian female qualities are what give women worth as a human being. Jane defies this conclusion completely. Jane is stating that true beauty and individual worth as a human being is derived from the existance of her heart and soul. Jane defends her internal beauty and importance by saying that being poor, obscure, plain, and little, do absolutely nothing to negate her humanity.

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Megan B
02/20/2013 5:11pm

I disagree, Jane's outer self is composed and calm. People can mistake that for being bland and boring. Like Jasmine quoted above, even though Jane does not radiate beauty on the outside, her inner self is strong, wise, and capable of loving. Jane is well aware of the beauty she possess'.

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Hunter H.
02/25/2013 3:43pm

I agree and disagree. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, like with Mr. Rochester but Jane also calls herself plain.

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Anna H.
02/25/2013 8:08pm

I disagree. Rochester says to Jane,"You are a beauty in my eyes and a beauty just the desire of my heart" pg 298. The reader is not the only one who sees Janes inner beauty. And I also think that Bessie sees it to when she says "I dare say you are clever, though."

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Nathan M.
02/25/2013 8:45pm

I disagree. When Mr. Rochester says, "You are a beauty in my eyes and a beauty just the desire of my heart" (Bronte 298), he is not seeing with his physical eyes but with his mind's eyes, probing Jane's soul to find her true beauty. Mr. R's heart desires beautiful innocence that comes not from the body's image, but from a mind and soul that is not poisoned and derranged like his wife Bertha's mind.

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Ana E
02/26/2013 6:23pm

Disagree. Like Nathan said, Rochester is seeing Jane for the beautiful person she truly is, inside and out. Even though Bessie does state that she was not beautiful as a child, I feel like she's outgrown that and has blossomed since the last time Bessie has seen her. I feel like Jane isn't aware of how beautiful she really is, maybe insecure?

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Stephanie D.
02/27/2013 7:29am

If Jane is seen as beautiful by Mr Rochester, inside and out, than she may only appear plain and quakerish to those who aren't close to her or those that don't truly desire to have a close relationship with Jane.

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Caitlyn E.
03/01/2013 11:02pm

I agree. In the first chapters, she's described as a rather plain girl but Rochester says "You are a beauty in my eyes" (Yes, I know that almost everyone used this quote but it relates most to the question) simply because, as Stephanie stated, he truly desires to know her heart.

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M. Woodard
02/27/2013 7:48am

I sort of disagree but agree a little bit. At first impression, Jane is definately not the standard of beauty, however, as time goes on and love for her character and intelligence grows, one begins to find beauty in her physical form. Mr. Rochester, for example, is also described as not particularly handsome but when Jane finds herself drawing a portrait of him at Gateshead, she finds him, in a different way than the standard objective, to be physically attractive.

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Ryan S.
02/27/2013 1:41pm

Kind of adding off of what Michael said, Jane becomes more beautiful as she goes along in her life. Though the novel begins when she is really young, her character changes overtime. At Gateshead, she was abused and neglected, and her cousins were praised as beautiful, but later on as she becomes more calm and starts to fall for Rochester she begins to be more characterized as beautiful, and her prim and proper cousins' lives begin to collapse and they lose their beauty.

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Maria K
02/27/2013 5:02pm

Janes beauty does come from her mood. As Janes mood improves she look better. Janes personality is what draws Mr. Rochester to her, not her appearance or her beauty. "I rose; I dressed myself with care: obliged to be plain – for I had no article of attire that was not made with extreme simplicity – I was still by nature solicitous to be neat. It was not my habit to be disregardful of appearance, or careless of the impression I made: on the contrary, I ever wished to look as well as I could, and to please as much as my want of beauty would permit."
Jane realizes that her appearance goes with her personality. Just like her appearance her personality is plain and neat.

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Voskuil
02/28/2013 2:46pm

"Although other characters occasionally claim that Jane is beautiful, her beauty is always related to her mood or her character; it’s an "inner beauty" that the reader can only understand because Jane is a "plain, Quakerish governess" on the outside."

I agree that this is the case throughout the piece, but why would Bronte focus the story on Jane's perspective, portray her as a rational yet fascinating woman with interesting insights on her circumstances, and yet leave her physical characteristics plain and her demeanor, while occasionally blunt, introverted and humble?

Perhaps on a basic level Bronte wished to make Jane into her portrait of an "Ideal Person". In contrast to the stereotypical "Ideal Woman" of Victorian-era Britain who is physically beautifully and, on a superficial level, intellectually engaging (i.e. can play a baroque piece, or discuss some Classical epic), Bronte's Jane Eyre is what she saw, being a social critic, as being a "beautiful" human who is in control of her emotions, but yet intellectually accomplished and sentient of her surroundings.

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Tori B
02/28/2013 5:46pm

We had a huge discussion on this in class, and I am still rather puzzled by this myself. I wonder if her self-deprecating remarks are to mentally keep her in her place, or that because of her past she does this as a defense mechanism; that is she may subconsciously believe that if she insults herself before anyone else can then it will spare her pain and embarrassment. She may or may not see beauty as her right given she is not royal and she certainly never expresses any desire to get married, beauty may- to her- be only for the rich and privileged. She constantly compares herself to people like Blanche- going so far as to draw comparing portraits- to remind herself that she is not so great. Her other qualities seem to make her more attractive; her kindness-especially toward children, her intelligence and conversational skills, her passion for knowledge and teaching others. All of these things make her attractive to SPOILER ALERT more than one man who she would otherwise consider out of her league; for instance Rochester is nobility and so is St. John (ish) and st. John is also regarded as handsome, his physical attractiveness is certainly greater than Jane's.

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Nicholette U.
02/28/2013 6:02pm

I would like to point out that although Diana and Mary thought that "when in good health and animated,... *her physiognomy* would be agreeable"(chapter 29), which would suggest that Jane truely is outwardly beautiful, her beauty is still hidden. She has the potential that lies within her, as does her moral beauty.

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Nicholette U
02/28/2013 6:04pm

Also, had Jane been outwardly beautiful, the reader would still have been able to see her inner beauty. It would just be lacking the "she is beautiful in spite of it all" factor that gives a little extra umpf.

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Callie T.
02/28/2013 9:10pm

Although Jane is portrayed as being more beautiful on the inside than out, beauty is ultimately in the eyes of the beholder. Therefore Rochester sees her as beautiful, while others may only see her as plain and quakerish. She may only be viewed as plain by the people who have no desire to develop a relationship with her.

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Victoria B.
03/01/2013 2:13pm

Although some may perceive Jane as beautiful, her plainness is often mentioned throughout the novel. One of the first indications of her appearance is in Chapter 1 when Bessie is talking to Abbott. Bessie says "Poor Miss Jane is to be pitied, too, Abbot." Abbot responds with "Yes, if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that." The servants often find it difficult to sympathize with Jane because of her appearance.

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Crissy T.
03/01/2013 7:43pm

I think that Jane's true beauty is within herself. No one describes her as truly beautiful except Mr. Rochester but that is because he loves her for who she is and not her appearence. If Jane had been beautiful then the story would have been much different because her beauty would have changed how people treated her.

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Kristen S.
03/01/2013 8:14pm

Agree even with Mr. Rochester seeing Jane’s beauty too. “To women who please me only by their faces, I am the very devil when I find out they have neither souls nor hearts... but to the clear eye and eloquent tongue, to the soul made of fire, and the character that bends but does not break- at once supple and stable, tractable and consistent- I am ever tender and true... I love it now.” (p. 299-300). He explains that Jane has an inner-beauty that he knows and is familiar with. He truly loves Jane for her, not for her appearance, but personality and this inner-beauty most never reveal. In this contex, Jane and Rochester intellectually fight, but he still believes in her inner-beauty, but Jane continues to feel constrained to her plainliness, which is very consistent with her character.

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Alex Price
03/01/2013 9:06pm

I agree with this statement because like we talked about with Victorian women, a main role is to be happy in the house. This could explain why her "beauty" is exemplified by her mood.

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Rebecca P.
03/01/2013 9:17pm

I agree, for the majority, with this statement. On page 298 Mr. Rochester refers to Jane as "a beauty just the desire of my heart" which infers that she is everything he needs, not only outwardly beautiful. My class had a huge discussion about this in class and although we will never truly know, I think it is safe to say that she was decent, but nothing to dwell about. I say this because if she would have been beautiful it wouldn't have shocked people that they were together, even though she was poor; however, the fact that she was poor AND not stunning helps understand why people were mostly shocked about their relationship.

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Caitlyn E.
03/01/2013 11:14pm

I agree. Bronte purposfully makes Jane a plain looking character to make her more relatable. An idealized character would be much harder for readers to latch onto but a "little toad" like Jane gives each reader a characteristic they can relate to (chapter 1).

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Tyler E.
03/02/2013 3:39pm

Beauty is on the inside and cant be expressed by appearance. Anyone can put on makeup and make them seem beautiful. But beauty really relies on the inside. You personality and mood are what makes up your beauty. This is why in the beginning Jane is described as ordinary in look but has such a profound personality.

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