After agreeing to married, Mr. Rochester attempts to take his beloved Jane shopping to shower her in gifts: “I will attire my Jane in satin and lace, and she shall have roses in her hair; and I will cover the head I love best with a priceless veil” (299). Mr. Rochester acts as though Jane is a “thing” to be possessed and caressed, rather than an independent, equal human being. Jane is a very passionate young woman, in multiple ways: she is passionate in her love and she is passionate in her defiance of unjustness or anything that contradicts her strong-willed feminist ways.
However, by marrying Mr. Rochester, these two passions of love and her feminism will clash. It raises the question whether Jane will let her desire for earthly love (which Helen Burns earlier in the novel warned her of), or her strong-willed insubordination and feminist ways conquer. But, if Jane continues on her path and does end up marrying Mr. Rochester, this novel would not be a feminist novel. That would show Jane is weak and relies upon a rich man to save her in the world—the complete opposite of feminism.
Jane must conquer her passionate desire for the earthly love of Mr. Rochester and look to being independent, inferior to no man, and her own savior. When Mr. Rochester wishes to buy Jane an abundance of jewels, dresses, and lace, the first signs of trouble are seen. By treating Jane as a thing and dressing her up as if she is merely some doll and not her own independent person equal to Mr. Rochester, the feminist qualities of Jane and of this novel were at stake. Jane argued, “And then you won’t know me, sir; and I shall not be your Jane Eyre any longer” (299). Mr.
Rochester acknowledges her defiance as merely something his “pale little elf”, his “mustard-seed”, or his “little sunny-faced girl with the dimpled cheeks and rosy lips” is saying just to be cute. He does not acknowledge Jane’s words as if Jane is his equal, but as if Jane is a child, his pet, or a doll. Ironically, Mr. Rochester tells Jane that she “will give up her governessing slavery at once” (311). This is ironic because by marrying Mr. Rochester, she would be enslaving herself to a man. Her life as a governess had far more freedoms, liberties, and equality than her life as a rich man’s wife would be.