Loyalty in Relationships
When comparing the books Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, it is easy to see many similarities in how relationships are formed and why when forming these relationships you become loyal to the person in which you have that relationship. Comparing the two books from the beginning the characters Jane Eyre and Antoinette form very few loyal relationship`s, but the main and most important one they form is with the people that take care of them Bessie and Christophine. Later on in life the loyalty these women form is precious to them so they do not do it lightly, but one relationship they form is the one that gives the biggest similarity and what entwines the characters. They both have the same man in common (Rochester) along with the way in which he treats them both and the fact that their loyalties are given freely but not returned is one sided, (they are loyal but do not receive the same loyalty in return).
Concentrating on the young life of these characters first we can see that both these women form loyal relationships, this shows that loyalty is earnt and not just given but that when formed in childhood a loyal relationship it will last into adulthood. However it gives a great example of the similarities in these books, that childhood loyalty forms the basis on which all loyal relationships are built and formed.
Loyal relationships are formed on mutual respect and trust, when you have never experienced this the first time you realise what it means to have this it can be sad to leave it behind which is what happens to both Jane Eyre and Antoinette. they both realise they have a loyal friend when they are just about to say good bye to them, for Jane it is just after she gives Mrs Reed a few home truths that she realises she has found her first loyal friendship.
‘And won’t you be sorry to leave poor Bessie?’
‘What does Bessie care for me? She is always scolding me’
‘Because you’re such a queer, frightened, shy little thing. You should be boulder.’ (Bronte, p31/32)
For Antoinette the circumstances in which she is separated from Christophine are different but the outcome is the same, realisation that the relationship was two sided it had trust and loyalty. This realisation is what helps a person to grow and develop trust, respect, love and loyalty with other people. “I had insisted that Christophine must be with me, no one else,” (Rhys, p26)
When moving on to adulthood the most significant relationship both these women form is with Rochester, they both give him their loyalty without question because of infatuation or love even though he treats them both terribly..
Rochester manipulates both Antoinette and Jane Eyre into trusting him, Antoinette being the first out of the two to become infatuated with him and give her loyalty to him blindly,
‘I’m afraid of what may happen’
‘But don’t you remember last night I told you that when you are my wife there would not be any more reason to be afraid?’
‘Yes,’ she said. ‘Then Richard came in and you laughed. I didn’t like the way you laughed.’
‘But I was laughing at myself, Antoinette.’
She looked at me and I took her in my arms and kissed her. (Rhys, p48)
This quote not only emphasises how Rochester manipulates a young naive Antoinette but also how he gains her trust beginning the infatuation she has for him. Jane becomes intrigued by him before she becomes aware that he is her employer. Which he uses to his advantage when trying to find out who she is and why she is there,
‘You live just below – do you mean at the house with the battlements?’ pointing to Thornfield Hall, on which the moon cast a hoary gleam, bringing it out distinct and pale from the woods, that, by contrast with the western sky, now seemed one mass of shadow.
‘Whose house is it?’
‘Do you know Mr Rochester?’
‘No, I have never seen him.’(Bronte, p99)
This is just one way in which Rochester shows his manipulative cruel ways, by questioning Jane about himself when she clearly has no idea who he is yet she still shows him loyalty when she finds out, although it is loyalty as an employee at this point.
Why is it that two women with similar backgrounds, choose to be loyal to the same man, a man that treats them with contempt. It cannot be because of the way they first encountered loyalty, which means the only reason left would be love..
How they are both treated by Rochester during their relationships are very similar although have very different outcomes.
Antoinette is loyal through blind love and is made to feel worthless,.
’Why did you make me want to live? Why did you do that to me?’
‘Because I wished it. Isn’t that enough?’ (Rhys, p57)