Love is one of the most sought after things in the world. Love cannot be bought, it can only be found by the lucky few and those who are able to uncover it never want to let it go. In Jane Eyre, our heroine meets Mr. Rochester, who is a possible love interest, when she takes up position as a governess at his estate. There are many things that could hinder their quest for love, like the presence of doubt and suspicion. Other factors that could deter a healthy relationship are their different levels of experience, and their dissimilar personalities.
The reason why some relationships do not last long is because of jealousy and distrust. In this case Jane’s rival is Blanche Ingram. It is true that Jane is not envious of Blanche’s mind, but she resents Blanche’s ability to gain the complete attention of Mr. Rochester. It is already evident what Jane’s reaction will be when other, more desirable women, are in Rochester’s presence. Neither of them has publicized their feelings for each other yet they cannot bear the sight of the other with somebody else. Rochester emits his jealousy as well, when Jane receives news of Mrs. Reed’s illness. He does not agree with her decision to leave Thornfield, because he is afraid that she may not return. He is resentful of Jane’s relative’s for the reason that he knows that his bond with her could not compare to her family ties. He cannot compete with that kind of familial connection. He only has money to give, and money cannot buy the time Jane spent with her relatives, no matter how badly she was treated.
A factor that could complicate a new romance developing is Jane’s lack of experience with men and Rochester’s willingness to take advantage of it. The men she has come across thus far have treated her with cruelty and disdain. For example her cousin John Reed bullied and tortured her from morning until night when she was only a little girl. Jane was never presented with much affection or care by her benefactress, Mrs. Reed. So when she meets Mr. Rochester, she finds herself confused as to what her feelings are towards him. She has never experienced romantic love before, so she does not know if what she is feeling is love or just fondness.
And if she does sort out her feelings she would not know how to communicate her emotions to Mr. Rochester. As well, Mr. Rochester is a manipulative man; he enjoys having power over those around him. This is shown where he misleads Jane into believing that he will marry Blanche Ingram, when his true intent was to marry her. As if he didn’t have enough power over her already, being her employer, provider of her home, and her only source of income. His demanding nature and her poor judgement could be detrimental to the progress of forming a serious relationship.
Jane is a stubborn being, and this character trait could lead to discrepancies in her associations with Mr. Rochester. Jane is very much aware of her position at Thornfield manor as the governess. She is completely dependent on Mr. Rochester and she does not like it. This is demonstrated when Jane must leave Thornfield to visit her Aunt, and needs money to fund her journey. Mr. Rochester willingly overpays Jane, but her obstinate nature refuses to take more than she earned.
Perhaps the reason for Jane’s cautious-like behaviour can be accounted for by her dismal childhood, which hardened her. She became accustomed to working for everything she received. Mr. Rochester’s abundant wealth and generosity, does not help the situation either. For instance if Mr. Rochester offered Jane gifts, she would not accept them and could even feel insulted by the gesture. Also Mr. Rochester would be offended by her decline, therefore both parties would walk away feeling disheveled by each other’s actions. Their contrasting qualities could inhibit their ability to obtain a functional relationship.
These problems will continue to play a role in the downfall of their relationship. Mr. Rochester and Jane have many barriers in their way such as trust issues, differences in experience, and their distinctive personalities. These problems will continue damaging their relationships, unless Jane is able to gain independence from Rochester and they are both willing to compromise for the sake of the other.