‘Jane Eyre’: Reason, judgement and conscience

These extracts can be easily found in the novel by searching (control+f) the etext

“Unjust!—unjust!” said my reason, forced by the agonising stimulus into precocious though transitory power: and Resolve, equally wrought up, instigated some strange expedient to achieve escape from insupportable oppression—as running away, or, if that could not be effected, never eating or drinking more, and letting myself die.

“I sometimes wished to have rosy 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.  And why had I these aspirations and these regrets?  It would be difficult to say: I could not then distinctly say it to myself; yet I had a reason, and a logical, natural reason too.  However, when I had brushed my hair very smooth, and put on my black frock—which, Quakerlike as it was, at least had the merit of fitting to a nicety—and adjusted my clean white tucker, I thought I should do respectably enough to appear before Mrs. Fairfax, and that my new pupil would not at least recoil from me with antipathy.”

“Arraigned at my own bar, Memory having given her evidence of the hopes, wishes, sentiments I had been cherishing since last night—of the general state of mind in which I had indulged for nearly a fortnight past; Reason having come forward and told, in her own quiet way a plain, unvarnished tale, showing how I had rejected the real, and rabidly devoured the ideal;—I pronounced judgment to this effect:—

That a greater fool than Jane Eyre had never breathed the breath of life; that a more fantastic idiot had never surfeited herself on sweet lies, and swallowed poison as if it were nectar.

You,” I said, “a favourite with Mr. Rochester?  You gifted with the power of pleasing him?  You of importance to him in any way?

Ere long, I had reason to congratulate myself on the course of wholesome discipline to which I had thus forced my feelings to submit.  Thanks to it, I was able to meet subsequent occurrences with a decent calm, which, had they found me unprepared, I should probably have been unequal to maintain, even externally.” (end ch 16)

“The forehead declares, ‘Reason sits firm and holds the reins, and she will not let the feelings burst away and hurry her to wild chasms.  The passions may rage furiously, like true heathens, as they are; and the desires may imagine all sorts of vain things: but judgment shall still have the last word in every argument, and the casting vote in every decision.”

“I did not like to walk at this hour alone with Mr. Rochester in the shadowy orchard; but I could not find a reason to allege for leaving him.”

“’Jane! will you hear reason?’ (he stooped and approached his lips to my ear); ‘because, if you won’t, I’ll try violence.'”

CONSCIENCE

“I envy you your peace of mind, your clean conscience, your unpolluted memory.  Little girl, a memory without blot or contamination must be an exquisite treasure—an inexhaustible source of pure refreshment: is it not?”

“The passions may rage furiously, like true heathens, as they are; and the desires may imagine all sorts of vain things: but judgment shall still have the last word in every argument, and the casting vote in every decision.  Strong wind, earthquake-shock, and fire may pass by: but I shall follow the guiding of that still small voice which interprets the dictates of conscience.”

“Well said, forehead; your declaration shall be respected.  I have formed my plans—right plans I deem them—and in them I have attended to the claims of conscience, the counsels of reason.”

“To attain this end, are you justified in overleaping an obstacle of custom—a mere conventional impediment which neither your conscience sanctifies nor your judgment approves?”

“Conscience, turned tyrant, held Passion by the throat, told her tauntingly, she had yet but dipped her dainty foot in the slough, and swore that with that arm of iron he would thrust her down to unsounded depths of agony.”

“Still I could not turn, nor retrace one step.  God must have led me on.  As to my own will or conscience, impassioned grief had trampled one and stifled the other.  I was weeping wildly as I walked along my solitary way: fast, fast I went like one delirious.”

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