Our heroine has lived through the worst in her Ordeal and will now be transformed. The confrontation with death brings about the change necessary for her to move forward on her journey and Seize the Sword. In other words, she finally takes possession of what she was really after all along – her true self.
In the heroine’s journey this stage is about discovering she has the qualities she needs within herself. Now she knows who she is and what she really needs. The reward is wholeness and self-possession.
Jane Eyre’s Reward
Jane emerges from her room to find Rochester waiting for her. He apologises and tries to explain himself. His father wanted him to marry Bertha for money, but later she became violent as she descended into madness. Rather than send her to a madhouse, he kept her locked up at Thornfield, sparing her from bedlam. Jane admits she loves Rochester but tells him she can’t stay. She must respect herself and do what she feels is right. Rochester wants her to come to him of her own free will, he wants an equal. Jane prays for strength and finally manages to free herself from him.
So Jane’s reward is self-knowledge and self-respect. Now she knows she wants an equal partnership too, but Rochester isn’t her equal. He is still married. If she stayed they could never be true equals, their relationship would be built on a lie. So despite her love for him, she must leave. But the story isn’t over yet. Jane must take the Road Back.
Images: Focus Features