The Heroine’s Journey: Refusal of the Call

Our heroine has received the Call to Adventure and now must respond. At this point there is often a Refusal of the Call. The heroine is reluctant to change and scared of the unknown.

In the heroine’s journey this may involve taking on the role of the spiritual orphan and the recognition of how alone she is. The heroine may be repressed by an evil witch or experience a mother figure as too protective. There is a conflict between the safety of home and the need for change and escape.

Jane Eyre’s Refusal

Jane enters Lowood School for Girls and is led into a room lined with other girls, where she is stripped of her fine clothes.

Now we flash forward again to the Rivers household where Jane is recovering but determined to never be found. She is hiding. Jane eats with the family and we discover she has given them a false name: they call her Miss Elliot. The Rivers sisters, Diana and Mary, are pleased to have Jane for company. Jane wants to work and St John says he’ll help her find something suitable. When he enquires into her education, she flashes back to Lowood school where she was beaten with a cane.

So Jane enters the unknown at Lowood and is stripped of her past life, symbolised by her fine clothes. She lost her true family and has been rejected by her surrogate family, and is now a spiritual orphan. Meanwhile, we discover Jane has lied to St John and his sisters about who she is. This is another attempt to sever her links to her past. She has finally found safety but she is not being true to herself. She is still alone and allowing her true nature to be repressed. How long can she hold out before the truth breaks free?

Next: Jane Eyre Meets the Mentor