Time and time again we see in the novel that beauty is In the eyes of the beholder and someone’s nature can sometimes be more beautiful than someone’s exterior. Jane is also poor and is reminded Of it all though her childhood and into her early years. Only when she falls in love does she realize that money is not everything and the lines of different societal classes are blurred by love. Jane is reminded of her plain appearance from the very beginnings of the novel.
Miss Abbot talks about young Cane’s plainness when she says, “if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that. ” This comment really displays how women in that era were often judged by their beauty, or lack-there-of. Miss Abbot is essentially saying that if Jane were pretty, it could make up for her dreary disposition. Then, she blatantly says she is as ugly as a “toad”. Jane is told often that she is unattractive when she is young, and those words carry their way into her adulthood.
Without a loving person in her life to dote on her simple beauty, Jane forms a view on of herself based on others words. Jane explains how she sees her lack of beauty, ” “l ever wished to look as well as I could, and to please as much as my want of beauty would permit. I sometimes regretted that I was not handsomer: I sometimes wished to have soy cheeks, a straight nose, and small cherry mouth; I desired to be tall, stately, and finely developed in figure; I felt it a misfortune that I was so little, so pale, and had features so irregular and so marked. In this passage, Jane shows her sorrow for her lack of attractiveness. She clearly wishes she were more beautiful, but perhaps harsh comments to her appearance as a young girl made her more insecure. I believe the plot of the story would be very different if Jane were beautiful. Perhaps she would be treated better, as beauty was very important in that era. Perhaps if she were beautiful she would not have ended up with Rochester, in fact, she might have had many suitors who wanted to be with her.
Also, Cane’s humbleness might have been different if not for her unattractiveness. Jane shows her humbleness when she says, “Don’t address me as if I were a beauty; am your plain, Quakerism governess. ” With beauty sometimes come arrogance and a sense of entitlement, which is not in Cane’s nature as it is, but could have been if she was a beauty. This sense of entitlement would have changed the story and maybe altered Cane’s free spirited nature, which is a big part of her character and what makes her unique. Jane is constantly reminded as a young girl of her poor status.
Her aunt and cousins make sure that she knows that she is poor and alone and they see her as lower class because she isn’t going to inherit any money. This view of poor being dreadful and wrong is ingrained in Jane in her early years and it shows in the comment, “poverty for me was synonymous with degradation. ” The Reeds put this view into Cane’s head, but she would come to realize that the rich could be as dreadful as the poor, perhaps even more terrible and cruel. Jane views herself as beneath others because that is what she was aught from childhood.
She is told she is lesser and not as beautiful and more poor than Others. This is where her humbleness, and insecurity, stems from. If Jane were not poor, the plot and Cane’s character and interactions would all be very different. If she were rich then it perhaps her aunt would have treated her with more respect and kindness. Not to mention, if Jane were rich perhaps everyone would have treated her with more dignity and more respect, even Mr.. Brochures. Her unattractive, poor, orphan status makes Jane a undesirable child in an era obsessed with money and beauty.
If Jane were not poor, perhaps would not have had to work at Threefold as a tutor, rather, she could buy herself a nice house and settle down with a man and have a family. However, this change of events would cause her to never meet Rochester and thus, never fall in love with him. I think Fijian were not poor, the story would be much less interesting. Cane’s strong willed and determined, yet humble, personality is grown from her unfortunate experiences. Being poor and being an orphan makes her into the complex and unique character she is and without it, she would be dull.