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In the novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte is constantly aware of the changing seasons. This aspect of the novel is the most relevant in the period that Jane is at Morton. The reader is able to notice clearly the difference in plot and character in relation to a full year of seasons at Morton.
When Jane first arrives in Whitcross it is a summer evening, and Jane is able to sleep comfortably on the heath remarking it was dry, and yet warm with the heat of the summer-day. Because Jane was travelling directly from Thornfield, the whether was extremely comforting for her, she took solace in thinking that at least nature had not cast her off. Laying down on the heath Jane notices the night sky, and the contentment found in the stillness of the summer night, it seems that the season serves as a catalyst for Janes pleasant state of mind. Soon after though Jane is confronted with hunger and the realization that she has no contact point or evident community, and aptly she is confronted with the summers rain. The rain is a direct expression of Janes situation in reality and it contrasts Janes previous summer stillness adequately. Jane is soon rescued by the Rivers of Moor house, in the town of Morton. After recovering from exhaustion in the care of Mary, Diana, and St. John the summer seems to brighten. She forges new friendships with the Rivers girls and the servants. Together they explore the wild pastures and purple moors, which coinsedently are at the peak of their beauty, colorful with fresh bracken and summer flowers.
A month passes and Jane is living in her cottage and begins working as a school- teacher through the generosity of St. John Rivers. By the time Jane becomes familiar with her students and their families Jane remarks that It is the fifth of November and a holiday. St. John soon arrives bringing Scotts Marimon and incessantly discusses Rosamund Oliver, he leaves in the whirling storm of the beginning of winter. The arrival and departure of St. John maneuvering through the piles of snow could possibly allude to the coming progression of their relationship. After dismissing Rosumund as the Wife of a clergyman, St. John asks for Janes hand remarking that she was formed for labor, not for love, and admitting that their marriage would not be one based on love. This turn in their relationship is unexpected to the reader and the characters, and both St. John and Jane are met with cold reactions. Jane is insulted at the fact that he would assume her as a servant in his mission, and St. John is in insulted by her almost immediate and negative response. Eventually the winter progresses and the reader is told it is nearing Christmas. Jane is found busying herself with the preparation of food and the decoration of the house, she juxtaposes the warm and welcoming atmosphere inside to the wintry waste and desert dreariness without. In retrospect the winter has brought positive and negative influence to Janes circumstance; Jane has furthered her relationship with the Rivers women and become an integral part of the running of Moor house, but she has become desperate for Rochester whom she left behind at Thornfield.
Within the course of two letters to Mrs. Fairfax inquiring about Rochester, two months pass and Jane is confronted more dramatically with the her sadness at the absence of Rochester. Jane remarks A fine spring shone round me, which I could not enjoy. In the midst of her sorrow for Rochester, St. John proposes the previously noted motive of marriage with Jane. To St. John, the season of spring functions as a prospective growth between himself and Jane, through the hoped for approval of his inquiry. From Janes prospective the spring is a symbol of her desire to be reunited with Rochester and hopefully begin to expand on their relationship. The morning after the revelation of St. Johns motives, Jane leaves for Thornfield in the rain. Much like before, the rain has the same feeling of ambiguous prospects; Jane could possibly be met by an unwilling Rochester, or a Rochester who is elated at her arrival. After recuperating for a day, the reader automatically knows the outcome, because Jane wakes to a sunny summer morning. As before, the sun brought a certain comfort and happiness, and the reader assumes that the outcome will be as positive if not more. Soon after Jane is once again in good spirits she and Rochester walk through the damp and dreary woods into the open fields nearby. Jane describes to Rochester how the flowers and hedges look refreshed; how sparkling blue was the sky, in some respects Jane is at the dawning of a seemingly favorable transition. Jane and Rochester are married three days later, which is ironically almost exactly a year from the day Jane left Thorfield to avoid temptation.
In Jane Eyre, Bronte uses the changing seasons and circumstances of weather as a way to almost dictate to the reader what the outcome of Janes and other characters endeavors will be. The summer and spring bring growth and a more concise understanding, and with the winter comes an inward and individual expression of duty and worthiness and an outward expression of loneliness and longing. Bronte uses the seasons as a way to intervene with her characters without having her characters be effected by other people, and in doing so Bronte gives the reader a greater understanding of the characters individual motives and aspirations.
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