Empathy In Jane Eyre

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Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” This quote by Alfred Adler is essential to obtain a full understanding of the qualities St. John lacks in the novel Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. St. John is considered to be of the shadow sage archetype because of his lack of empathy and feelings towards anything or anyone.
The Rivers family does not help Jane because they feel compassionate towards her, but rather because they feel it is their duty to do so. When St. John allows Jane to enter his house, he does not do it because he feels sorry for her and her state. He allows her to enter because he feels it is his duty to help her. On page 357, St. John says, “Hush Hannah!
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John is also incapable of love and emotions. There is a point in time when Jane asks him about his “love interest”, Ms. Rosamond. St. John replies, “While something in me, is acutely sensible to her charms, something else is as deeply impressed with her defects: they are such that they could sympathize in nothing I aspired to cooperate in nothing I undertook. Rosamond a sufferer, a laborer, a female apostle? Rosamond a missionary? No!” (Shelley 399) This quote suggests that St. John is merely marrying, or seeking to marry, because of his vocation. To him, marrying is a duty that everyone must perform. It is not to be enjoyed, and neither the wife nor the husband must love each other. In other words, St. John simply wants his spouse to be interested in his line of work; love is not necessary. In the novel, he asks Jane to marry him so she can come with him on a missionary trip to India. He says, “God and nature intended you for a missionary’s wife. It is not personal, but mental endowments they have given you. You are formed for labor, not for love” (Shelley 430). St. John thinks that Jane is “suitable for labor”, which is the only reason he wants to marry her—not because he loves her. He doesn’t see it fit to actually love the person he is going to marry, rather he wants the marriage to be convenient and serve a purpose—there need not be any love involved. In Jane’s case, St. John says that “God and nature intended you for a missionary’s wife.” This speaks strongly to the fact that St. John will only marry Jane because he thinks she is fit to be a missionary’s wife, and he is a missionary. He doesn’t actually love her; the marriage is just convenient for
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