Essay, Research Paper: Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte

Literature: Jane Eyre

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In Charlotte Bronte’s novel “Jane Eyre”, there is a slightly inconspicuous
character that many readers may choose to ignore. The character that I speak of
is Adele, the adorable French girl that Edward Rochester has taken as his own.
While many people may undermine the importance of this character in the novel,
it is easy to see that she plays a vital role in the coming together of Mr.
Rochester and Jane Eyre. Unlike many novels or stories, Bronte chooses to use
Adele as more of a symbol, than someone who directly helps in the marriage of
two people, meaning that Adele is unaware of her bringing her master and Jane
Eyre together. The role of Adele can be described as small, and at times
undefined, however, before all is said and done her role, or symbolism, as I see
it is clearly defined. The first role that Adele plays in the story is that of a
bridge between Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre. Had it not been for Adele needing a
governess they would have never met. Jane had sent out her application to a
nearby paper to be published for people needing a governess to see. The only
reply she received was from a Mrs. Fairfax, a servant at the Rochester mansion.
It was for Adele that Jane was needed. Adele was rough around the edges, and
needed some work on the finer things of being an American. She spoke mostly in
French, and therefore, needed a governess to teach her better English. Her
master, Mr. Rochester required her to know how to read, and write in English. He
also would like for Jane to teach Adele what she could about music and the art
of drawing. Adele became quite close to Jane and enjoyed her company. Jane also
became quite fond of Adele, a good example of this takes place when Edward wants
to bring only Jane into Millcote and Jane desperately begs for Adele to
accompany them. “Do let her go Mr. Rochester, if you please: it would be
better”(Bronte 654). The affections between Adele and Jane become stronger to
the point where Jane becomes worried of what will happen to Adele once Mr.
Rochester is married to her or anyone else. Adele was as charming and innocent
as they come, yet she still played other vital roles in the novel. For Mr.
Rochester Adele was a symbol of the last 15 years of pain and torment he had
been feeling. Once a fool in love with a beautiful woman, the less than
attractive Edward Rochester found his soon to be wife a mistress to other men.
Mr. Rochester was deeply in love with the woman and believed that she could do
no wrong. As if finding out she was seeing other men was not crushing enough, he
comes to find out that the mother one Celine Varens, leaves a daughter behind
that he believes does not even belong to him. Reluctantly, he took Adele in
hopes that he would not have to be in her presence often. It was most likely
unfair that Rochester treated Adele with such contempt, however it is not
without reason that she reminded him of what a grave error it was to love her
mother. The reason being that she reminded him of his lost love more than
anything in the world. She was a twenty four hour, seven days a week reminder of
the fool he had been to love someone who obviously did not love him. For this
very reason at times, he would shun Adele, try to make her feel inferior and
unwanted. However, the good nature that lay deep within him would not let him
practice such vile acts all the time. Sometimes, when he went away for long
periods of time he would return to Thornsfield with a present for Adele. This
showed that no matter how bad he wanted to dislike her he could not treat her
like a vagrant on the street. She not only brought out the bad qualities of his
character, but the good ones as well. Although Rochester was always very
critical of Adele in all that she did, you could not help but notice that he had
a bond, as weak as it was, with the girl. Adele referred to many times as a
nuisance, was called on many times to meet very important people of Mr.
Rochester’s. One such example of this takes place when Mr. Rochester’s
suspected soon-to –be wife Mrs. Ingram visiting for a fortnight. Adele is
called into the dining room twice, and she is called a “little doll” by the
guest party (Bronte 591). The fact that his guests approve of Adele provokes Mr.
Rochester to remark that he did not want her at all, and was in fact left upon
him. However hard he tries to make Adele disappear, or make her feel like a
nuisance, she always desires to see him in the worst way. This begins to weigh
on Rochester and he becomes more prone to let Adele keep up her childish acts
and even at times cherish her company. Another role that Adele played in the
novel was the motivation for Jane to work hard and help others. Throughout the
novel Jane is confronted with questions pertaining to the coming along of
Adele’s education. Although Adele does not always understand what Jane is
trying to teach her, Jane is not flustered, and works harder the next day to
help Adele learn. In my opinion Adele symbolizes more than anything else an
obstacle for Jane that must be overcome to succeed. Jane must succeed in
teaching Adele and molding her into a fine English woman. Jane must also come to
grips with what Adele is, and what she represents in the life of her beloved Mr.
Rochester. Mrs. Eyre should not always see Adele as someone like herself as she
usually does. She must understand the pain that runs through the heart of her
master every time that Adele is near. Although Rochester likes Adele it is plain
to see that he would rather not have to associated as much as he is with her.
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