Life is filled with many relationships, including relationships with parents, siblings, close friends, and significant others. Over the years, these bonds may change or even come to an end, but by learning the characteristics of a healthy relationship, it is possible to preserve those connections

that mean the most. Qualities such as loyalty, forgiveness, and unselfishness can be the defining traits that make relationships with family and friends into healthy relationships that last a lifetime.

Literature offers many examples of successful relationships based on loyalty, giving readers the opportunity to learn from the examples of others which traits will help them to maintain positive connections. One excellent literary relationship is that of Jane Eyre with her childhood friend Helen Burns in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. At their boarding school, Jane is unfairly believed to be a lying

and misbehaving girl, and many of her schoolmates shun her. Despite Jane’s reputation, Helen shows true loyalty to Jane by bringing food to her when the teachers have not allowed her to eat and by being her friend even when no one else will be. Because of this loyalty, Helen and Jane form a bond that would have lasted throughout their lives if Helen had not died at a young age. Still, Jane’s loyalty to Helen continues as she remembers their friendship even years after Helen’s death: “I thought of Helen Burns, recalled her dying words” (Brontë). This lasting attachment is due entirely to the faithfulness shown to Jane by Helen when they were children. Their story is evidence of how valuable loyalty can be between two people.

A natural result of being loyal is being willing to forgive when friends or family make a mistake. No person can avoid mistakes, so if one friend is not willing to forgive another, the relationship is bound to come to an end sooner or later. I once had a friend who would not forgive me when I made an error that offended...

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