Jane Eyre boils down to two powerful essential needs: to give and receive love amply, and to have the liberty to determine how you live and think, and to do both in a generous, whole-hearted way.

After being alternately neglected and tormented by her adoptive family, the child Jane confronts her guardian with such an outspoken, heartfelt accusation of cruelty that the woman is rendered nearly speechless.

It made me think about the occasions I have experienced emotional cruelty or callousness. ¬†Would it have done some good (had I been able), to confront them as directly as this with their injustice and unkindness?¬† Perhaps, although in most cases, I was too shocked by the onslaught to be able to say anything, which makes me admire Jane’s capacity to articulate her pain so sharply.

 

‘You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so: and you have no pity.’

 

Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (London: Bounty Books, 2012 (1847)), p. 41

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