The character of Jane Eyre is, to me, a very interesting one and I propose to discuss this character, paying particular attention to the extent to which the novel was ground breaking for its time in its portrayal of Jane. .
The novel follows the life of the orphaned Jane as she moves from the unloving home of a relative to the strict girls school where she finds her vocation as a teacher, to Thornfield Hall after her decision to seek a new position as a tutor. Here she meets and falls in love with the lord of the manor Mr. Rochester but, as is later revealed, he is already married to an insane woman who is hidden in the attic. After the discovery of his wife she runs away and finds her lost cousins, then begins to teach disadvantaged children in the village under a false name. Jane's true identity is revealed and she inherits a large sum of money, with this she leaves to find her lost love Mr. Rochester. Her search reveals there has been a terrible fire at Thornfield Hall in which Mrs. Rochester perished and Mr. Rochester was maimed and blinded trying to save her. Jane finds him again living as a recluse in a hidden woodland house. Their love is rekindled. They are at last together.
In this novel, I believe Charlotte Bronte created a very modern heroine, one who expanded beyond the conventional mannerisms and thinking of the time and period. Jane"s life can be divided into five different stages of development, her childhood where her instinct and passions were allowed to develop naturally, as they were not straitjacketed by a conventional upbringing. In Lowood, she acquired her self-discipline and her first friendships. Her position at Thornfield hall brings her first experiences of love while her time in Morton emphasises the importance of work and duty. Finally, her reunion and marriage to Mr. Rochester sees the end of her internal conflict. .
In Jane, Charlotte Bronte has created a character who has many different and contradicting aspects of her self that invokes a great sense of realism.